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Craft Brewing and Distilling News for January 4, 2016

January 4, 2016

•North Carolina’s TOPO Organic Spirits has extended distribution to Kentucky (via Heidelberg Distributors) and Tennessee (via Lipman Bros.), bringing its footprint to 10 states. The catalyst for expansion has been TOPO’s recently launched 8 Oak Carolina Whiskey ($29.95), made from red winter wheat and matured with eight different oak and char combinations. TOPO proprietor Scott Maitland tells SND that 8 Oak’s wheat profile is an accessible style and is drawing in millennial consumers newer to the whiskey category. TOPO’s line also includes a vodka and gin (both $28.95). Maitland projects the company will produce about 3,500 nine-liter cases in 2016, up from 2,200 last year, and says there is enough capacity to eventually rise to 20,000 cases.

•New Orleans-based Abita Brewing Company has launched the first offering in its new Bayou Bootlegger hard soda series, Hard Root Beer. The 5.9%-abv release is based on the same root beer recipe Abita uses for its non-alcoholic soda that features Louisiana cane sugar, Abita Springs water, herbs, vanilla and yucca. Six-packs of Bayou Bootlegger Hard Root Beer will be available throughout the company’s 41-state distribution footprint and the District of Columbia by early 2016. Abita, which the Brewers Association ranks as the 21st-largest craft brewer, currently produces eight year-round beers as well as seasonals and select series.

•Colorado’s Boulder Beer Company has begun packaging two of its most popular craft offerings in 12-packs of bottles. Shake Chocolate Porter, currently the company’s top-selling beer, and Mojo IPA will be available year-round in the new format beginning with Colorado this month followed by a wider regional rollout. Boulder Beer was founded in 1979 and produces a line of craft beers that includes six year-round offerings, seven rotating seasonals and a number of limited releases.

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