GSN Brews News: August 25th 2020 Edition

Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Founders Brewing has entered the hard seltzer market with Más Agave Premium hard seltzer. The 4.5% abv drinks are made with blue agave nectar, cane sugar, fruit juice, and sea salt. Starting out, the brand will come in three flavors—lime, strawberry, and grapefruit—and will be available in Arizona, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Las Vegas beginning in October. The lime and strawberry flavors will be available in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans for around $10. Founders will also offer a 15-can variety pack for around $18 and draft servings of the lime seltzer.

Escondido, California’s Stone Brewing has teamed up with Modern Times culinary collective to create Wizards & Gargoyles, a new IPA. The 7% abv ale is made with Centennial, Cashmere, Citra, and Azacca hops plus two experimental hop varieties. The beer is blended with Modern Times’ blend of Ethiopia Dame Dabaye and Guatemala Huehuetenango coffees. Wizards & Gargoyles’ can art is inspired by 8-bit videos games from the late 1980s and early 1990s. The beer is now available across the U.S. in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans, 22-ounce bottles and on draft.

Sparkling water brand Sparkling Ice is expanding into beverage alcohol with a line of hard seltzers. Sparkling Ice Spiked Hard Seltzer is launching with the four flavors Cherry Lime Chiller, Ruby Fizz, Lemonade Refresher, and Strawberry Citrus Smash, all at 4% abv. Beginning this month, the line will be sold in variety 12-packs of 12-ounce slim cans in select markets nationwide that include Tampa, Florida; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Seattle, Washington; and Portland, Oregon, among others.

 

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: August 18th 2020 Edition

Jose Cuervo, the lead brand in the Proximo portfolio, is looking to get in on the action with the launch of Playamar Tequila Hard Seltzer. Made with Cuervo Tequila, the new RTDs are launching in lime and grapefruit flavors reminiscent of the Margarita and Paloma cocktails. Playamar is debuting in an initial six states this month, retailing at $12 a 4-pack of 12-ounce cans. Each can of Playamar is at 4.5% abv, contains 90 calories, zero sugar, and zero carbs, and is free of gluten and artificial flavorings.

Michigan-based Blake’s Hard Cider is rolling out two new flavors, Caramel Apple and Apple Lantern. Blake’s Caramel Apple is billed as a dessert-like semi-sweet hard cider combining caramel sweetness with tart green apples, while Apple Lantern is marries apples with pumpkin and spice. Both are at 6.5% abv. Launching now, the two newcomers will be distributed across Blake’s 15-state footprint in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans and on draft.

Portland, Oregon-based Cascade Brewing is releasing two of its offerings in packaged formats for the first time. Both are from the brewery’s Northwest Sour Ales series and were previously only available on tap at its two locations in Portland. The first is Honey Ginger Lime, which is a sour rye ale aged in oak barrels and foudres for 10 months, at 6% abv. The second is Honeycot, a sour blond ale aged in oak wine barrels for up to 16 months with apricots, at 7.1% abv. Both are now available in 12-ounce cans throughout the brewery’s distribution network.

Rochester, New York-based Seagram’s is launching a new flavor for Seagram’s Escapes Spiked. New flavor Blue Razberry joins Strawberry Blast, Jamaican Me Happy, Citrus Punch, and Crazy Colada in the line-for the 8% abv, flavored malt beverage brand, a spin-off of Seagram’s Escapes. It will hit shelves nationwide in 23.5-ounce single cans in September.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Liit Hard Sparkling Tea

Long Island Iced Teas, or LIIT, are a trio of hard sparkling teas. Available in Mango, Lemon, and Raspberry Lime, the LIIT series blends natural flavors with 100% real tea to create a fresh take on hard tea.

LIIT’s name pays homage to brewer Blue Point’s home base of Long Island and that classic cocktail, but the similarities end there. They’re a low-calorie option for health-conscious drinkers. Each can contains five grams of sugar, 120 calories, and is naturally gluten-free. The hard sparkling teas contain no spirits; rather their alcohol content comes from the natural fermentation of cane sugar. LIIT is brewed with completely decaffeinated teas and clocks in at 5% ABV.

“In typical Blue Point fashion, while everyone is rushing to innovate within the seltzer space, we’ve been busy looking towards what’s next,” said Blue Point general manager Carrie Shafir. “Our hard sparkling teas are for the consumer who wants a little more than what a hard seltzer is giving them, without sacrificing on the ‘better-for-you’ qualities.”

LIIT is currently available in 12-pack can variety packs, containing all three flavors.

GSN’s Thoughts: We like these a lot. The fruit flavors are just forward enough on the palate, that the tea blends play the role as a canvas on which each drink is built. The blends are quite different from each other with unique personalities. The Raspberry Lime has a defined floral quality, whereas the Lemon is more traditional and the Mango is the fruitiest and most tropical. In fact, the mango is our personal favorite, but they are all refreshing and tasty. Grab a 12-pack for the weekend, and see what you think. These are great beverages to celebrate the last days of summer!
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Blue Point Brewing

GSN Brews News: August 11th 2020 Edition

Hershey, Pennsylvania-based Tröegs Independent Brewing is releasing Lucky Holler Hazy IPA as part of its Hop Cycle series of seasonally rotating IPAs. A trip to the Yakima Valley in Washington State, a major hop producing area, inspired the selection of Citra, Simcoe, and Galaxy hops to pair with the beer’s hazy profile. At 6.8% abv, it is available now through the fall on draft and in 12-ounce cans and bottles throughout Tröegs’ distribution area.

Portland, Maine’s Allagash Brewing Company has launched Two Lights into wider distribution. The 6.7% abv lager was initially brewed as part of the company’s pilot system, which takes employee ideas and recipes from development to production. The beer is brewed with Sauvignon Blanc must and is fermented with both lager and Champagne yeast. The brew will initially be available in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and California before rolling out in the rest of Allagash’s distribution footprint throughout August.

A new hard seltzer label, Tolago, is launching in California this month, distributed by Young’s Market. The gluten-free, 5% abv range includes Ginger Pear, Guava Mango, Cherry Rose, and Agave Lime flavors, retailing at $13 a six-pack of cans. CEO Nicholas Greeninger formerly directed branding and marketing at Saint Archer Brewing. The brand will also be available via Amazon, Drizly, Postmates, Uber Eats, and Cloud Kitchens. Marketing initiatives include in-store programming, point of sale materials, digital and out-of-home advertising, and an annual commitment to 1% for the Planet.

Chico, California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has announced the release of Dankful IPA. The 7.4% abv, West Coast-style IPA will begin rolling out nationwide in mid-September. Accompanying the launch of Dankful is Sierra Nevada’s pledge to donate at least $1 million to various charities over the next year, which will be supported in part by sales of the new beer. The brewery is kicking off this effort with a $250,000 donation to World Central Kitchen for Covid-19 relief.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: August 4th 2020 Edition

Ventura, California’s Flying Embers has announced a new hard seltzer brand made with probiotics, organic ingredients, and vitamin C. The new line will come in six flavors, each at 5% abv and 95 calories with zero sugars and carbs. The new seltzer is launching with two variety 6-packs that contain three flavors each. Botanicals: Fruit & Flora will have Black Cherry Rose, Clementine Hibiscus, and Passionfruit Elderflower. Tropicals: Sweet & Heat will have Watermelon Chili, Pineapple Cayenne, and Guava Jalapeño. The 6-packs will retail for around $12 across the brand’s 40-state distribution footprint.

Stone Brewing is adding Buenaveza Salt & Lime Lager to its year-round lineup. The brew, which began as part of Stone’s Pilot Series, is a 4.7% abv lager with salt and lime added. It recently crossed 100,000 case equivalents and is rivaling Stone’s core IPA in some packaging formats in the Southern California market, according to the company. Stone is also rolling out a new Michelada mix ($10 a 32-ounce bottle) that will be sold alongside Buenaveza.

Colorado’s Lone Tree Brewing Company has launched Golden Berry Belgian-style ale. The 8% abv brew is made from a base Belgian Strong Ale with added blackberry and raspberry juice and puree. The beer is the latest in Lone Tree’s small batch can series. Golden Berry Ale is now available at the brewery’s taproom and in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans in select locations throughout Colorado and Kansas.

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GSN Brews News: July 21st 2020 Edition

Washington, D.C.-based Brau Brewing and Rio Grande, New Jersey-based Cape May Brewing Co. are reuniting to collaborate again on Rosé du Gosé. Produced using more than 700 pounds of strawberry and peach puree, the release is a 4% abv play on a kettle sour that combines gose-style brews with rosé flavor. Available now at Cape May’s tasting room, DC Brau will distribute it to select accounts in the District and surrounding area, as well as in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans through its website, selling for $10.

San Diego, California-based Thorn Brewing Co. is releasing Thorn Michelada. The canned drink is made with the brewer’s Barrio Lager mixed with tomato juice, hot sauce, clam juice, ponzu, lime juice, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper, clocking in at 4% abv. It was made with a focus on all-natural ingredients, eschewing MSG, corn syrup, and other additives. It’s available in stores throughout southern California, at Thorn’s tasting rooms, and for home delivery.

Swedish cider brand Rekorderlig has launched its line of lower sugar, lower calorie ciders in the U.S. Created in response to global health and wellness trends, the cider clocks in at 110 calories and is at 4.5% abv. The cider line-up is made with 100% European apples and includes strawberry lime, pear, wild berries, passionfruit, and mango raspberry varieties.

Prepress Print

Anheuser-Busch is launching Busch Light Apple as a line extension of its Busch Light brand. The first flavored release for the brand, it is a light lager made with apple flavors, available now in select states nationwide for a limited time. Busch Light Apple’s release will be supported by two television ads, titled Whispers of Busch Light Apple and Oh Yeah. It will retail in 12-, 24-, and 30-packs of 12-ounce cans.

New York City-based craft makgeolli brand Makku is expanding its distribution footprint. Makgeolli is a traditional Korean rice wine that dates back to the 10th century. Launched in 2019, Makku was created by entrepreneur Carol Pak, who previously served as entrepreneur-in-residence at A-B InBev’s innovation group ZX Ventures. Previously only available in New York City and Los Angeles, it now can be found at specialty food and beverage shops and Asian markets in San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville, and Chicago, and comes in three flavors: original, blueberry, and mango. It is at 6% abv and is available in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Press Premium Alcohol Seltzer has debuted two new permanent flavors: Pineapple Basil and Lingonberry Elderflower. Both additions are made with all-natural ingredients, clock in at 110 calories, and are just 4% abv. Pineapple Basil and Lingonberry Elderflower will both be included in a new permanent variety pack set to launch later this year, which will also feature popular seasonal offerings, Pear Chamomile and Apple Cinnamon.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Flying Embers Sweet & Heat and Fruit & Flora Hard Seltzer Collections

Flying Embers is a hand-crafted, hard beverage brand based in Ventura, California that develops botanical brews with functional benefits. With a commitment to innovation, Flying Embers’ products are low in sugar, carbs and calories, while also featuring such attributes as live probiotics, adaptogens and USDA certified organic ingredients . A proud supporter of its community, Flying Embers donates a portion of revenue to firefighters and first responder charitable organizations. Flying Embers was founded in 2017 by beverage entrepreneur Bill Moses, former CEO of Kevita sparkling probiotics. Today, Flying Embers has two tap rooms in Los Angeles and Boston, and its products are sold in 40 states across the U.S.

“Since we began our Embers journey, we have never stopped exploring and being inspired by unique flavor combinations rooted in ancient brews from cultures around the world, searching for functional botanicals, and experimenting with different fermentation techniques. This is all fueled by our non-stop quest to craft the best tasting, most refreshing, better-for-you adult beverages in the world. With our new ability to connect with fans on our website, social club & breweries we can finally offer small-batch releases direct to our customers,” explains Co-Founder Beryl Jacobson.

This summer Flying Embers will release the world’s first probiotic hard seltzer in two themed lineups.

Sweet & Heat Collection 5% abv
Watermelon Chili
Pineapple Cayenne
Guava Jalapeno

Fruit & Flora Collection 5% abv
Clementine Hibiscus
Passionfruit Elderberry
Black Cherry Rose

GSN’s Thoughts: Flavored hard seltzers are the hottest drinking trend in 2020 and show no signs of slowing down. Given that though, most of them are simple flavors of citrus or berry. Flying Embers has ramped up the variety and flavors to 11 with some extremely tasty flavor combinations. Our favorites are the Watermelon Chili and Pineapple Cayenne, along with the Clementine Hibiscus and Passionfruit Elderberry. By combining these flavors, the seltzers are more interesting, memorable and refreshing. We also appreciate the low abv, which make these very sessionable. These are perfect for your next party, picnic, BBQ or even after a hard day at the home office.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Flying Embers

GSN Brews News: June 30th 2020 Edition

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Illinois-based Destihl Brewing is introducing a hard seltzer lineup this summer. The 5% abv seltzers will be packaged in 16-ounce cans in a variety 8-pack featuring four flavors: Agave Lime (made with agave nectar and lime peel), Lemon Ginger (ginger root and lemon peel), Piña Colada (pineapple and coconut purees), and Raspberry Lime (lime peel and raspberry puree). Destihl’s new hard seltzer range will hit some Illinois markets by late July, followed by shipments in August to the brewery’s entire distribution footprint of 37 states, plus Washington D.C.

Comstock Park, Michigan’s Perrin Brewing Company has launched a new variety pack featuring its Clear Coast line of hard seltzer. The 12-pack features Strawberry Kiwi, Orange Passion, and Pineapple Papaya flavored seltzers, all at 5% abv and containing 100 calories per 12-ounce can. The variety 12-pack is now available at the Perrin Pub and in retail shops across Michigan.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: June 23rd 2020 Edition

Ventura, California-based Flying Embers has announced three new flavors of hard kombucha, part of what the company is calling the Flight Series. The new flavors are Blueberry Cassis (7% abv), Rhodiola Rose (7% abv), and Watermelon Basil (4.5% abv), which also has added sea salt. The new releases are available from the company’s taproom as well as throughout its distribution footprint in 16-ounce cans.

San Francisco-based 21st Amendment Brewery has debuted Soma, a new hard seltzer brand. Rolling out now across 21st Amendment’s 30-state footprint, Soma is at 4.8% abv and comes in Watermelon, Guava & Passion Fruit, Mango, and Black Cherry flavors, containing 100 calories a 12-ounce can.

Vermont-based Citizen Cider is launching a new range of hard seltzers. Citizen Seltzer is debuting in three varieties—Apple All Day, Ginger Love, and Lemon Spritz—across Citizen’s 14-state footprint. Made using only local ingredients from Vermont, the new offerings are at 5% abv and come in at 100 calories, 2 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of sugar a 16-ounce can. A mixed pack will join the launch starting next month. Citizen’s core cider range includes the traditional semi-dry Unified Press, ginger-infused The Dirty Mayor, dry-hopped The Lake Hopper, and dry ale-style Wit’s Up varieties.

Longmont, Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery has launched Death by Affogato Porter. The 6.5% abv beer is brewed with chocolate malt, malted oats, vanilla, lactose, cacao nibs, and coffee sourced from Colorado’s Traction Coffee Roasters. Affogato is the second release in the Death by Porter series, following January’s Death by King Cake. The beer is now available across the U.S. in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: June 16th 2020 Edition

Armada, Michigan-based Blake’s Hard Cider has added three new releases to its Lite Cider line of products. The new releases—Mimosa, Strawberry-Kiwi, and Melon—come in at 5% abv and have 100 calories per serving, just like the brand’s original Lite Apple cider. Mimosa is available in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans and the other new flavors are available in a four-flavor variety 12-pack. All three new flavors are rolling out now to Blake’s 15-state distribution footprint.

Ninkasi Brewing is releasing new flavors for its Pacific Sparkling seltzer brand. The new flavors from the Eugene, Oregon-based craft player include Marionberry Lemon Twist and Sun-Kissed Grapefruit, which join Tangy Key Lime and Crisp Cucumber in variety 12-packs. The marionberry and grapefruit flavors are now also available in 19.2-ounce cans. Pacific Sparkling is distributed throughout Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: June 2nd 2020 Edition

Louisville, Kentucky’s Barrell Craft Spirits has launched a Private Release Whiskey SeriesEach batch in the series features a unique blend based around Barrell’s 18-year-old stocks of Kentucky whiskey, which were then finished in a secondary barrel or cask. Current selections include whiskies finished in Sauternes, Tokaji, Amaro, Port, Rum, Sherry, and Madeira barrels, among others. Each offering yields 150-180 750-ml. bottles, carrying a suggested retail of $109 apiece.

Wild Turkey has introduced Master’s Keep Bottled-in-Bond, a new limited edition offering. The 17-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey was aged in Wild Turkey’s Camp Nelson rickhouses and bottled at 50% abv. The new upscale entry is rolling out to select U.S. retailers in a supply of 14,400 750-ml. bottles (1,200 cases), retailing at $175 apiece.

Jack Daniel’s has debuted a line of whiskey-based canned cocktails. The new lineup includes Jack & Seltzer, Jack & Cola, and Jack, Honey & Lemonade offerings, all of which are made with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey. While the Jack & Cola and Jack, Honey & Lemonade cocktails are each canned at 7% abv, the 97-calorie Jack & Seltzer is at a slightly lower 5% abv. The new Jack Daniel’s Canned Cocktails are available across the U.S. at a retail price of $13 a 4-pack of 12-ounce cans.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: May 5th 2020 Edition

Seattle, Washington-based Pyramid Brewing has launched its latest seasonal, Subliminal State Hazy Pale AleThe 5.4% abv ale is brewed with a heavy dose of wheat in the grain bill, plus Denali, Citra, and Amarillo hops. The beer is available through the rest of the spring in 6- and 12-packs of 12-ounce bottles and 22-ounce bottles throughout the brewery’s distribution footprint. Pyramid Brewing is a part of the FIFCO USA portfolio, along with Magic Hat and Genesee, among other brands.

Longmont, Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery has announced its latest Can-O-Bliss IPA and a new lager, Slow ChillThe 7.2% hazy Can-O-Bliss ale is brewed with Strata, Eureka, Cashmere, Enigma, and Hallertau Blanc hops to create a citrusy, fruit-forward beer. Slow Chill is a Helles-style lager at 5% abv and is made with Pilsner and Vienna malt, plus Noble hops. The new Can-O-Bliss is available on draft, in 6- and 12-packs of 12-ounce cans, and in Oskar Blues’ CANundrum 15-pack. Slow Chill will be available from May 15 in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans.

High Noon hard seltzer, part of the E.&J. Gallo portfolio, is adding Lime and Peach flavors to its range this month. The High Noon flavors are available in 4-packs, 8-packs, and 12-packs, priced at $2.50 for single cans, $10 for 4-packs, $19 for 8-packs, and $28 for 12-packs. A variety 8-pack will be added in June.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: April 14th 2020 Edition

Louisiana brewer Abita has entered the hard seltzer category with its latest release, Spring Loaded. The 5% abv seltzer will launch in two flavors, Watermelon and Splash Berry; both contain 2 grams of carbs and 100 calories thanks to the efficient fermentation of the drinks’ sugar base. The two flavors are available now in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans in Louisiana and will roll out to Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Texas in the near future. Abita is the 24th largest craft brewery in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association.

Clackamas, Oregon’s Portland Cider Co. has released Ciderade, a new summer seasonal. The 4% abv cider is made with apples grown in the Pacific Northwest with added lemon and lime juice and sea salt. Ciderade will be distributed in 19.2-ounce cans and on draft throughout Washington, Oregon, Northern Idaho, and Northern California. It’s also available to-go from Portland Cider Co.’s taprooms.

Minneapolis-based Fulton Brewing has launched a new year-round entry, Chill City Chugger. The 4% abv golden lager is rolling out in 12-packs of 12-ounce cans (retailing at $12) and on draft, and joins Proper Porter, Standard Amber Lager, 300 Mosaic IPA, Lonely Blonde, and Hopstar Session IPA, among others, in Fulton’s year-round portfolio. Fulton’s distribution footprint includes Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Kansas.

Colorado craft player Lone Tree Brewing has launched three new beers in retailers across the state. First up is Lone Tree IPA, a 6.2% abv ale brewed with Centennial, Cascade, and Zythos hops. It’s the first flagship IPA from the brewery. The company has also released Castle Rock Pale Ale, a 5.6% abv beer brewed specifically to launch at the opening of a Whole Foods in Castle Rock, Colorado, and also available at Lone Tree’s tap room. Finally, the brewery has released Strawberry Kiwi Blonde Ale, a 5.2% abv summer seasonal that’s available in Colorado and Kansas.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Pompette Hard Sparkling Water

Pompette, a premium line of hard sparkling waters is a new drinking option without all the calories, sugars or mixers. Inspired by the Mediterranean lifestyle, Pompette is a more sophisticated and convenient option within the hard seltzer category, which has experienced tremendous growth as health and wellness are prioritized in all elements of life. Available in Cucumber Lime, Rosé Hibiscus, Lemon Mint and Clementine Berry, each of the four flavors is naturally gluten-free, contain 5% alcohol by volume and 50 calories with two grams of sugar or less per eight ounce serving.

“We believe with Pompette, we bring a premium product packaged in a resealable 750ml glass format that the market has yet to experience” said Jeremy Smith, Pompette’s Founder.

Pompette Hard Sparkling Waters (5% ABV)

Cucumber Lime – Cucumber on the nose, while the lime flavor creates an entrance on the palate. After a few seconds, the cucumber kicks in with a refreshing and entirely un-soda like flavor. Very refreshing and a perfect spring or summer beverage at the end of the day. GSN Rating: B+

Rosé Hibiscus – A quite floral almost rose-like nose with a light Rosé wine flavor. A lingering flavor of rose petals seems out of place and not quite what I was hoping for. If this is your thing, you’ll love it. GSN Rating: C

Lemon Mint – A nice soft lemon nose with no detectible mint. In fact, the mint comes in after several seconds as a cooling effect. An excellent and quite refreshing flavor especially great for when you’re out in the sun. GSN Rating: B+

Clementine Berry – A fresh berry nose greets you in the glass. The clementine is more subtle even in flavor, but it gives a nice midrange to offset the high notes of the berry flavor. My only complaint is that the berry seems somewhat artificial in taste. Think of a berry flavored chewing gum. GSN Rating: C+

For more information go to: Let’s Pompette