UPDATE: “80 Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer” is the name of the new year-round beer debuting in late summer.
(Kansas City, MO) – One of the many people your editor met at the Craft Brewers Conference in sunny San Diego last week was Boulevard Brewing Company Director of Marketing, Jeremy Ragonese. Without further ado, here is the latest news from Boulevard, courtesy of Ragonese.
Boulevard grew to 157,000 barrels in 2011 according to Brewbound and projects to grow by 12% in 2012 to 175,000 barrels according to The Kansas City Business Journal. The company can let loose a bit in terms of growth now that it has a $3 million expansion project behind it. Boulevard literally razed the roof last summer as part of construction, just completed last month. As a result, fermentation capacity increased by more than 20%, surpassing 200,000 barrels annually.
With that increase, Boulevard is ready to enter new markets in 2012. Ragonese confirmed a Craft Business Daily report that the company will open DC, Maryland and Virginia in early June to coincide with SAVOR. The brewery has a collaboration beer with Sierra Nevada, Terra Incognita, that will be showcased exclusively to SAVOR attendees.
As for what beers will be hitting that Mid-Atlantic market, Boulevard is taking the same approach it did with Massachusetts, offering only the Smokestack Series. Ragonese says to look for 4-packs including: Tank 7 Saison (the top-seller in the series), Double Wide Double IPA, Dark Truth Imperial Stout, Sixth Glass Belgian Dark Strong Ale and Long Strange Tripel.
Ragonese would not confirm a blurb on Beer Street Journal that the company had signed with United Distributors to open Georgia in late summer/early fall. Management is still going about its “due diligence” and there is “no confirmed timeline.” Outside of the aforementioned Mid-Atlantic market and possibly Georgia, that is it for new markets in 2012. The company has made “no final determinations” in planning for new markets in 2013.
Back to the Smokestack Series, the brewery has a lot going on this summer.
As hinted above, Long Strange Tripel will be available in 4-packs for the first time in addition to 750mL bottles.
Saison Brett returns, this time on draft (all Smokestack draft is in 1/6 barrel kegs) as well as in 750mL bottles. With respect to concerns about infecting draft lines, Ragonese says that the company is educating accounts on quality control measures and has its own multi-pronged test for assessing draft line upkeep. Field Quality Manager, Neil Witte, is heading up that effort.
Love Child No. 2 will be the first bottle release in the Smokestack’s spinoff series of wild ales. Where this will be very limited, look for it in 750mL bottles only in some of those markets that get Smokestack distribution. No draft. The TTB approved a label for Love Child No. 1 a while back though it ended up an event-only small batch release.
Double Wide IPA is coming to draft for the first time and it will be the second Smokestack series beer to be made available in all three of the following formats year-round: 750mL, 4-packs and draft. Tank 7 is currently the only one with that package mix available year-round.
Collaboration No. 3 Stingo, the beer just brewed in Kansas City with Pretty Things, will be available as early as July in 750mL bottles and on draft. Release timing is tentative.
As mentioned earlier today, Reverb Imperial Pilsner will be a new Smokestack Series offering similar to the brewery’s first collaboration with Jean-Marie Rock of Orval.
One other thing that the increase in fermentation capacity has afforded is a new year-rounder, 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer, that Boulevard has been testing on brewery tours and at events. The beer will debut in 6-packs (not part of the Smokestack Series) late this summer. Boulevard isn’t going public with the name quite yet.
As for what to expect after the summer, Boulevard continues to grow its barrel program. Brewer, Jeremy Danner, says that the brewery now has 383 barrels in use and just took in another 160 barrels from Templeton Rye Spirits last week.
More Rye-on-Rye, anyone?