Strength of seasonals help craft beer soar

March 8, 2010
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Mighty Arrow

Craft brewers continue to attract consumers by releasing new options, often for a limited time. Seasonals are starting to pull further ahead in craft beer styles, according to Beverage Industry’s upcoming 2010 Beer Report, which will be published in the March issue. In 2009, total craft seasonal sales accounted for 17.1 percent dollar share of the total craft segment, for total U.S. grocery, drug and convenience channels (excluding Wal-Mart), reports Information Resources Inc., Chicago. Read more on craft beer's 2009 performance as announced by the Brewers Association in "Craft beer sales grow 7 percent, overall beer sales down."

Many companies already have rolled out their next batch of seasonal and limited time offerings. D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc., Pottsville, Pa., is wrapping up the run of its late-winter seasonal, Yuengling Bock Beer. Thomas Hooker Brewing Co., Bloomfield, Conn., released its Irish Red Ale available through next month. Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colo., also is concluding the release of its hop-heavy Red Ale, which launched in January and will be available until next month.

New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, Colo., announced the return of Mighty Arrow Pale Ale as its spring seasonal offering. Created as a tribute to the company’s chief executive officer Kim Jordan’s dog Arrow, Mighty Arrow is an American-style pale ale. Fellow Colorado brewer, Oskar Blues released its newest seasonal Gubna Imperial IPA. It is made with three malts and one hop for an ale with citrus blast and spicy yet round middle finish with a brisk, clean bitterness, the Longmont, Colo.-based company says. For more information on Oskar Blues, read the Up Close With article on the brewer.

The winner of the Boston Beer Co.’s fifth annual Samuel Adams Beer Lover’s Choice contest, Noble Pils, will join the brand’s lineup as the spring seasonal beer. The beer uses five varieties of Noble Hops, which are the top varieties of hops available, the company says. Noble Pils was the chosen winner of the company’s Beer Lover’s Choice program with 55 percent of the 68,000 total votes, and replaces White Ale as the spring seasonal offering.

In honor of its 30th anniversary, California’s Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will release the first of four beers in its collaboration with craft brewing pioneers, including Fritz Maytag, owner of Anchor Brewing, San Francisco. Fritz & Ken’s Ale will be marketed under the Sierra 30 label and is a robust and hoppy ale that pays tribute to first five-barrel batch of stout Sierra Nevada produced in its brewery and the dark stouts from Europe that Maytag enjoyed drinking while he was purchasing and rebuilding Anchor Brewery in 1965, Sierra Nevada’s founder Ken Grossman told Beverage Industry in the March cover story on the brewery.

For the spring season, Maine brewer Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Co. will bring back its Vacationland Summer Ale. The ale is a full-bodied ale made with generous portions of pale malt and a touch of wheat malt along with Cascade leaf hops for a delicate and forward hop character, the Portland, Maine-based brewer says.

Available on the West Coast, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore., dedicated last month’s Jubel 2010 release to the new decade. In addition, the brewer announced it will add Hop in the Dark Cascadian Dark Ale to its Bond Street Series. Cascadian Dark Ale is a new style of beer that emerged in the Pacific Northwest and also is known as Black IPA, according to the brewer. Hop in the Dark combines Northwest hops with roasted malts to create a black-tinted IPA that will be available late May through September, Deschutes Brewery says.

Seattle’s Pyramid Breweries is already preparing for summer with the return of its Curve Ball Blonde Ale. The golden summer seasonal is a crisp, cold lagered ale, the company says, and will be available April through July.

Summertime also influenced New York’s Schmaltz Brewing Co.’s line of Coney Island Craft Lagers, which includes Coney Island Human Blockhead variety. The line will add Coney Island Luna Lager during the summer, which is dedicated to the opening of the new Luna Park in Coney Island. Luna Park was originally open at Coney Island from 1903 to 1946 with a new park opening this year under the Luna Park banner.


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