Monday, July 12, 2010

Give me one more for the ditch

I am old enough (just barely), to remember when hunters in the state from points south and east, would load up their trucks upon returning home, with cases of Coors beer because they couldn’t buy it back wherever it was the wandered in here from.
Coors was at one time a very regional beer. That makes it somewhat interesting to see how much dissing the brand gets in micro-brew circles.
In the early eighties, when Anheuser-Busch was trying to get approval in Fort Collins to build a brewery, some beer-addled friends of mine worried that another major brewery would somehow displace ‘Colorado Kool-Aid’
The friendly competition only fermented a major micro market there in Fort Fun, and the emergence of heavy hitters like New Belgian, O’dells and others. Colorado became the number one beer-producing state in the nation and the home to hundreds of breweries.
Today -- in an age when Coors has merged with Molson, and then again with Miller -- and boutique beer batches appear on every Colorado corner, it makes you think fondly about the old days of two-port, press-top cans and ‘stubbies’ from days of yore.
Naturally, the marketers have some ideas on how to capitalize on that nostalgia bent.
So let’s make beer like they did before Prohibition.
“Batch 19, being test-marketed in five cities, is a throwback to a pre-Prohibition lager. Coming from the large beer factory in Golden, the beer is surprising for its hoppy character and its carbonation. If it every reaches the general market, it should be a great success,” writes Dick Kreck in the Denver Post.
According to Kreck’s report, “Brewmaster Keith Villa found the recipe for the Coors pre-prohibition brew stashed in the company’s basement archives and was immediately intrigued by what he found.”
Only one drawback, the five cities it is being marketed in are; Chicago, San Francisco/San Jose, Washington, D.C. and Milwaukee. Oh yea, Colorado can get a little taste by taking the ‘short tour’ (or the long one) at the tasting room in Golden and it will be featured at Great American Beer Festival in Denver in September.
The name is supposed to evoke the idea that with Prohibition becoming the law in 1919, and beer being outlawed (except for medicinal purposes) until repeal in 1933, this brew will take you back.
The only problem, as I see it, is that Colorado, along with five other states, went dry three years earlier than the rest of the country, in January of 1916.
Details, details, details. But isn’t that what the brewing art is all about. Somehow, for marketing purposes, “Batch 16” just didn’t have the right ring to it.

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