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Craft Brewing and Distilling News for February 17, 2015

February 17, 2015

•In a new trend, brewers in the Midwest are ramping up production of beers made with root beer flavorings. In Chicago, Small Town Brewery has unveiled Not Your Father’s Root Beer, an ale at 5.9%-abv and available in 12-ounce bottles and 22-ounce growlers, to complement a line-up of products that includes a chocolate porter and Grandma’s Apple Pie beer. Also in Chicago, the Forbidden Root Brewing Co. is offering a beer called Forbidden Root (5.5% abv), made from such botanics as wintergreen, vanilla, cassia cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, as well as ginger and star anise, that mimic the flavors of root beer. It’s aged in Hungarian oak casks and sold at retail in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles to sell at $11 retail. “Demand for this product has been so great that we’ve had to put it on allocation,” says Forbidden Root CEO Robert Finkel, adding that the company is building a new brewery on Chicago’s northwest side that will open by June. “We spent two years tasting 95 root beer sodas around the country to get the profile of flavors we wanted in our beer, which we started making last year,” Finkel explains. Sprecher Brewing Co. in Milwaukee is also making something called Hard Root Beer, aged in Bourbon oak barrels, on top of a line of root beer sodas it’s made for many years.

•A Canadian hard cider called Soultree will be imported into the U.S. for the first time starting in April by San Diego-based 2X4 Brewing & Imports LLC. The brand initially will be available in two flavors—Authentic Dry Apple and Apple Ginger—throughout 20 states in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles retailing at around $10. By summer a third flavor, cranberry apple, is expected to be available along with 30-liter one-way disposable kegs for on-premise accounts. Soultree is a product of Lonetree Cider Co. in British Columbia, where it’s marketed under the Lonetree name, but the brand was not available stateside because Napa Valley’s Acacia Vineyard already markets a Lone Tree Pinot Noir. Scott Fore, president of 2X4, said he is on the hunt for more Canadian ciders to introduce to America.

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