Cigar City and Carnival usher in new era for craft beer

CigarCity Legend3 300x200 Cigar City and Carnival usher in new era for craft beerWhen I first read of the agreement by Carnival Cruise Lines to carry a couple of Cigar City Brewing’s beers, I was ecstatic.

Not because I’m a big cruiser (I’m not, though I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the few I’ve experienced, except for the lack of quality beer) or because I’m a huge supporter of Tampa’s Cigar City and Florida breweries Cigar City and Carnival usher in new era for craft beer (I am), but because it indicates that the American craft beer revolution is continuing its foray into venues dominated by AB InBev, SABMillerCoors, Diageo and other multinational conglomerates.

Look at airlines. JetBlue now carries Sam Adams on its flights, Southwest offers New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire, and some Delta flights serve Sweetwater 420. It’s not unusual to find local craft beer taps amongst the macrobrews in hotel lounges. Casual family-dining chains are dipping their toes into locally brewed craft beer – it’s getting more difficult to find any tap lineup in the Tampa Bay area that doesn’t have at least Jai-Alai IPA from Cigar City. Up in my neck of the woods, the Crystal River Applebee’s started serving some of the beers from the local Copp Brewery, and apparently they can’t keep enough in stock because it’s selling so well.

Other cruise lines offer “craft beer” on some of their sailings. For example, the recently opened Gastrobar on the Celebrity Equinox boasts “more than 40 handcrafted brews,” but a look at the beer list shows only about a quarter of them are true American crafts under the Brewers Association definition. Carnival has offered its house beer, Thirsty Frog Red Ale, in its ships’ Red Frog Pubs but sources show that it is brewed by AB-InBev.

Now that Carnival is serving Cigar City’s Invasion Pale Ale and Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale in the pubs on its Florida-based ships, I anticipated that the trend will snowball and we’ll see a lot more of these types of partnerships.

CigarCity Legend1 Cigar City and Carnival usher in new era for craft beer

Getting the Cigar City beers in front of and in the mouths of millions of passengers from across the country and around the world should help spread the word that there is some damn fine beer being made in the Sunshine State. And at $4.95 per can – a reasonable price on a cruise ship – sales should be good.

Here’s the official press release from Carnival Cruise Lines.

MIAMI (July 14, 2014) — Capitalizing on the growing popularity of craft beer in the U.S., Carnival Cruise Lines has entered into an exclusive agreement to offer Tampa-based Cigar City Brewing’s craft beers on all of its Florida-based ships.

Cigar City’s Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale and Invasion Pale Ale will be available on 13 Carnival ships sailing from five Florida ports beginning this week.  Combined, those ships carry more than two million guests each year.

The agreement — the first partnership of this magnitude between a craft brewery and a major cruise line — was announced Sunday, July 13, at an event aboard Carnival Legend at the Port of Tampa.

“Carnival continues to seek high-quality brands to enhance our guests’ experience, and Cigar City Brewing has been rated among the top craft breweries in the world,” said Eddie Allen, Carnival’s vice president of beverage operations. “Cigar City Brewing craft beers are a fantastic addition to our already extensive beverage menus and will provide our guests a chance to enjoy two delicious and refreshing beers that aren’t available on any other cruise line.”

Allen noted that Carnival also offers its own private label draught beer, ThirstyFrog Red, which is available throughout the fleet.

“Cigar City Brewing could not be happier than to partner with another great Florida institution, that being Carnival Cruise Lines. Everyone at Cigar City Brewing is thrilled to start this wonderful partnership,” said Joe Burns, national sales manager for Cigar City Brewing

Carnival has 13 Florida-based ships sailing three- to eight-day itineraries to the Caribbean, Mexico and The Bahamas, including Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Glory, Carnival Victory and Carnival Splendor from Miami; Carnival Sensation, Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Liberty from Port Canaveral; Carnival Freedom from Fort Lauderdale; Carnival Paradise and Carnival Legend from Tampa, and Carnival Fascination from Jacksonville.

Cigar City’s Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale is named for the colonial-era “Cracker” cowboys of Florida. Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale is brewed with unmalted wheat, orange peel and coriander, and ends with a spicy, dry finish. The beer pours cloudy straw in color and has moderate notes of orange peel, coriander and hints of vanilla.

Gold in color, Invasion Pale Ale is Cigar City’s version of a “session” beer (a beer with a relatively low alcohol content) in a hoppy ale that celebrates Tampa’s alleged history of being a pirate hideout. The tropical aroma offers suggestions of peach, mango, lime and papaya. Invasion has a light caramel malt character laced with a slight “breadiness” and the finish offers a bounty of tropical and citrus hop flavor and bitterness.

Unlike most U.S. craft breweries, Cigar City Brewing packages most of its beverages in aluminum cans. Aluminum cans are the most widely recycled containers in the United States, and aluminum may be reused repeatedly without loss of strength or quality. From a beer drinker’s perspective, cans have zero light penetration to better preserve the integrity of the brew, and they chill faster, are easier to store and have a longer shelf life than bottles. Cans also are shatterproof and therefore are allowed where bottles are not — such as poolside. Producing new cans from recycled aluminum reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent.

Florida Craft Brewing Trends

Over the past decade, the number of craft and microbreweries has grown dramatically across the United States and consumer demand for craft brews continues to increase. In 2013 in Florida, the state’s 66 small breweries produced 130,000 barrels (4.03 million gallons) of craft-brewed beer for an economic impact of $875.8 million, ranking the state 12th in the nation.

Nationwide, in 2013 the overall beer market represented total sales of $100 billion, of which $14.3 billion was craft beers. That represented a 20 percent increase in craft beer sales and an 18 percent increase in production volume over 2012, according to the Brewers Association.

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Mile Marker Brewing tap room shuts its doors

mile marker brewery 150x150 Mile Marker Brewing tap room shuts its doorsAn announcement on the Facebook page for St. Augustine’s Mile Marker Brewing indicates that its tasting room has permanently closed.

The post reads:

To all of our friends, supporters, customers and fellow beer lovers, our tap room is now closed. (Not opening today, Sunday). Please visit some of the other awesome bars and restaurants that carry Mile Marker beer and tell them we sent ya there! We’d love to know where you are drinking Mile Marker beer! Thank you to everyone, and especially to our regular customers, thank you! Try not to cry in your beer, ok?

It is not known why or if it is in fact permanent, or if it will have any effect on the brewery’s production. No further explanation was given in the comments.

I have sent co-founder Mike Fiero an email asking for comment. This post will be updated as needed.

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In partnership with Brew Hub, Asheville’s Green Man Brewing will enter Florida market

Green man logo 300x300 In partnership with Brew Hub, Asheville’s Green Man Brewing will enter Florida marketIf you’ve ever visited the Southeastern brew mecca of Asheville, North Carolina, you’ve likely visited or at least tasted the beers from Green Man Brewing Company, one of mountain town’s original craft breweries, having been founded in 1997. You may have even brought back some of its beer to Florida, wishing that you didn’t have to take a road trip to buy more.

I know I did a few years ago. I still have the growler on a shelf. Unfortunately, since it’s 64 oz., it serves as only decoration in the Sunshine State where that size container remains illegal to fill.

It was revealed today that Green Man products will soon be available in Florida, possibly as early as late this year, as a result of an announced partnership between the Brew Hub facility in Lakeland and Green Man. Beers to be produced under the supervision of the Green Man brewing team will include IPA, ESB, Porter and Green Man seasonal beers, and it is expected that distribution will expand to other Southeastern states in 2015.

Here is the news release

June 09, 2014 – Brew Hub, a company led by a team of beer industry executives and craft brewing experts, has announced a partnership with Green Man Brewing Company, an award-winning craft brewery based in Asheville, North Carolina.

Brew Hub will partner brew several beers with Green Man, including Green Man IPA, ESB, Porter and Green Man seasonal beers. The beers will be brewed at Brew Hub’s new, state-of-the-art craft brewery in Lakeland beginning in late 2014. With this partnership in place, Green Man will immediately expand distribution throughout Florida and plans to expand to other Southeastern states in 2015.

“Green Man Brewing is exactly the kind of high-quality craft brewery Brew Hub is designed to serve,” said Tim Schoen, founder and chief executive officer of Brew Hub. “They’ve established themselves in Asheville as one of the emerging premier craft brewers in the country. They brew amazing craft beer and the Green Man team understands every aspect of the beer industry. Our partnership will allow Green Man to grow quickly, and it will allow craft beer drinkers in several states to discover their award-winning beers.”

Green Man was founded in downtown Asheville in 1997. The company was then purchased by Dennis Thies who expanded the brewery in 2010. The expansion allowed Green Man to distribute its beer to bars, restaurants, grocery and independent liquor stores throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“Our partnership with Brew Hub is a major milestone for us,” said Jon Spath, hoperations manager, Green Man Brewing Company. “Brew Hub has built a state-of-the-art craft brewery and has a brewing staff led by Dr. Paul Farnsworth that’s second to none in the craft beer industry. Later this year, craft beer drinkers in Florida will begin enjoying our beers for the first time, and we believe this is only the beginning of this partnership.”

Green Man’s brewing operations are led by head brewer, John Stuart. After starting as a home brewer, Stuart began brewing for several craft breweries in the early 1990s. He joined Green Man in 2007. Stuart holds a masters of brewing from the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago.

In December 2013, Brew Hub announced partnerships with Cigar City Brewing, Orange Blossom Pilsner, and BJ’s Restaurants. With the new Green Man partnership, Brew Hub will expand brewing capacity at its Lakeland brewery to 75,000 barrels, or one million cases. Brew Hub will partner brew approximately 10,000 barrels of beer annually for Green Man.

Partner brewing is a process that allows craft brewers not only to brew their beer to exact specifications under the supervision of their own brewmaster, but also to package and distribute from the Brew Hub brewery and make their beer available for export to international markets. Partner brewing allows craft breweries to expand their distribution without the overhead cost of building a new brewery or transporting beer across the country. Brew Hub also offers services, including sales, marketing, public relations, logistics, compliance and government affairs.

The Lakeland brewery is located in Interstate Commerce Park off the I-4 Corridor. The brewery will feature a 3,000-square-foot tasting room where consumers can enjoy beers brewed by any of Brew Hub’s partners. The tasting room and brewery will be fully operational and open to the public by August. The Florida brewery is the first of five large, state-of-the-art craft breweries Brew Hub plans to open across the country.

Brew Hub brewing operations is led by Chief Brewmaster, Dr. Paul Farnsworth. Farnsworth has spent more than 30 years in the craft beer industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of London and has been instrumental in the startup or operation of more than 100 breweries in 10 countries.

Brew Hub was founded by a team of beer industry executives led by Tim Schoen, chief executive officer, and President Jerry Mullane. Brew Hub’s financial sponsor is The Yucaipa Companies, a private investment firm.

By the way, if you wonder what a “Green Man” is, here’s the explanation from the brewery’s website:

A Green Man is a sculpture, drawing, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves. Branches or vines may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). “The Green Man” is also a popular name for English public houses and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, or “renaissance,” representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.

 

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Cigar City collaborating with Great Lakes Brewing

P1010801 Cigar City collaborating with Great Lakes Brewing

I’ve known about this for a while, but had to keep it under my hat until it was officially announced: Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing and Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing are collaborating!

The beers will be a Black Lager and a Black Ale, both called Wandering Pelican. CCB head brewer Wayne Wambles is glbc logo Cigar City collaborating with Great Lakes Brewingcurrently in Cleveland working on the Black Lager, and the crew from Great Lakes will be in Tampa next week to brew the Black Ale. According to a news release: “The name Wandering Pelican pays homage to a Brown Pelican who made the journey from Florida to Ohio’s Lake Erie Coast during the summer of 2013. Swapping saltwater for fresh, feeding on shad instead of mullet, this welcome stranger made Lake Erie his home for several months and became an unlikely local celebrity. Both of these beers will honor our courageous friend who wandered off the beaten path to find his home.”

Portions of the proceeds from the CCB version, which will be released in cans, will go to the Suncoast Seabird  Sanctuary.

These are two of my favorite breweries, and I like to think that I helped a little in bringing this about. You see, when I was visiting Ohio for Cleveland Beer Week in October, I was chatting with Great Lakes head brewer Luke Purcell, and he told me that they’ve been wanting to collaborate with Cigar City for a while. He asked me if I had a contact there, and I gave him owner Joey Redner’s phone number.

Of course, it likely would have happened anyway without my help, but it’s still cool to know that maybe I had a small part in it. And Luke, you still owe me that recipe! icon wink Cigar City collaborating with Great Lakes Brewing

photo Cigar City collaborating with Great Lakes Brewing

Luke Purcell of Great Lakes Brewing, left, and Wayne Wambles of Cigar City Brewing in the tasting room at the Cleveland brewery. (Photo courtesy of Cigar City Brewing).

Here’s the release with all the details.

Cigar City Brewing and Great Lakes Brewing Company Announce Collaboration

Tampa, FL- April 18, 2014—Cigar City Brewing and Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC) are proud to announce two collaboration beers, both called Wandering Pelican. This unique effort will consist of a Black Lager and a Black Ale made by both breweries. Cigar City Brewing Brewmaster Wayne Wambles will travel to Cleveland during the week of April 14th to start work on the Black Lager which will be released in 22oz. bottles. The following week Great Lakes Brewing will be in Tampa working on a Black Ale which will be packaged in 12oz. cans.

The name Wandering Pelican pays homage to a Brown Pelican who made the journey from Florida to Ohio’s Lake Erie Coast during the summer of 2013. Swapping saltwater for fresh, feeding on shad instead of mullet, this welcome stranger made Lake Erie his home for several months and became an unlikely local celebrity. Both of these beers will honor our courageous friend who wandered off the beaten path to find his home.

Cigar City Brewing will release Wandering Pelican Black Ale on May 19th. The beer will go into limited distribution in Florida and a portion of the proceeds from the release party will benefit the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary of Indian Shores, FL. The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, Inc. is the largest wild bird hospital and bird sanctuary in the United States, based on the admission of up to 8,000 birds per year.

Great Lakes Brewing Company will release Wandering Pelican Black Lager on May 19th (tentative). The screenprinted 22oz. bottles will be sold exclusively in the GLBC Gift Shop. Customers will find a limited amount of Wandering Pelican Black Lager on draft throughout GLBC’s distribution footprint.

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