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Weekly Growler Fill | National Beer News Roundup 9/14

Bell's Brewery Turns 30

A brewery and a cider company sell out to Big Beer, Bell’s turns 30, and Baltimore gets its very first craft beer festival. These are ground breaking stories and you need to get in the know. Keep reading for details of the craft beer news in this edition of the Weekly Growler Fill.

Saint Archer Acquired by MillerCoors

Saint Archer Brewing and Tenth and Blake Beer Company logos side by side
Courtesy Saint Archer and Tenth & Blake websites

We broke this story earlier in the week but just in case you missed it, Saint Archer has been acquired by MillerCoors. The official buyer goes by the name of Tenth & Blake, the craft and import division of MillerCoors. This acquisition came as a surprise to pretty much nobody, considering rumors of the buy out have been circulating around the internet for months now. Saint Archer is only 2 years old but is well known for its medal-winning beers and is expected to produce 35,000 barrels of beer in 2015. The press release states Saint Archer will continue without interruption or interference by their new partners. [Read full article]

Virtue Cider Sells Majority Stake to Goose Island a.k.a. Anheuser Busch

Virtue Cider
Photo Credit: www.imperialbeverage.com

Like father, like son. Before Greg Hall started Virtue Cider, he worked at Goose Island Beer Company for a boss that went by another name…Dad. During his time at Goose Island, he created the illustrious bourbon barrel aged beer that we all know and love: Bourbon Country Brand Stout. John Hall, his father and employed, decided that after owning Goose Island for 23 years, it was time to sell it to Anheuser Busch InBev in 2011. Greg was asked to stay on but he decided to go his separate way and start a little venture called Virtue Cider in Fennville, Michigan. It was never his plan that he might also one day sell his business to ABI, but he didn’t rule it out either. Four years after starting Virtue, Greg is now selling the majority stake of the company to Goose Island, who is owned and operated by ABI. Part of the reason this happened may be that his venture was undercapitalized and no one expected the cider industry to explode the way it has over the past few years. Nevertheless, Virtue will definitely have enough capital now. While exact details of the plan have not been released, we know that Virtue will use the Goose Island facilities for bottling, kegging and increased distribution, but will keep manufacturing in Fennville. [Read full article]

Bell’s Brewery Turns 30

Bell's Brewery Turns 30
Photo Credit: Bell’s Brewery

Bell’s Brewery, the creator of Two Hearted Ale and Hopslam, just turned the big 3-0. To celebrate, the brewery threw a birthday bash, inviting 100 of their closest brewery friends to come tap kegs with them. Many of the breweries invited to the bash noted that they probably would not exist if it weren’t for Bell’s, which is now Michigan’s largest craft brewer. Larry Bell started off as a homebrewing supply shop in 1983, started selling beer as Kalamazoo Brewing Co. in 1985, and officially became Bell’s Brewery a year later. In the beginning, he was making beer in a 15 gallon soup pot and now, he brews on a 50-barrel and 200-barrel system with a capacity of over 500,000 barrels a year. Bell’s, you’ve come a long way. Congratulations on making it this far. [Read full article]

First-Ever Baltimore Craft Beer Festival in October

Baltimore Craft Beer Week

I know this sounds crazy but apparently Baltimore has never actually had a craft beer festival. The official, soon to be historic date is October 24 and the festival is being hosted by the Brewers Association of Maryland, Like most festivals, the goal is to spread the word about the great local beers of Baltimore and the surrounding areas. The fest is set to become the largest gathering of craft brewers in Maryland, with 33 expected to attend so far. Tickets are $45 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Strong City Baltimore. [Read full article]

Here Comes the 2015 Velvet Merkin

Velvet Merkin
Photo Credit: Firestone Walker

The barrel-aged oatmeal stout from Firestone Walker returns this year with a twist. Velvet Merkin has always been the barrel-aged version of Firestone Walker’s seasonal Velvet Merlin oatmeal stout. What’s different this time is that the 2015 Velvet Merkin includes a barrel-aged lot of an experimental milk stout version of Velvet Merlin. “We didn’t really change Velvet Merkin, we just gave it a tweak by incorporating this small amount of milk stout to fill out the mouthfeel,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “You might barely notice it, but it makes a difference. We could have kept this detail to ourselves, but we didn’t want to be accused of a cover up.” The beer was officially released at the brewery this past Saturday, September 12 with an extra 3,500 cases shipped out to the rest of the U.S. [Read full article]


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