7 Totally Underrated Domestics

Underrated Domestic Beers - Columbia Distributing

 

According to the Brewers Association, domestic breweries produced over 139 million barrels of beer in 2016 alone – completely dominating the U.S. beer marketplace. As craft beer sales continue to grow, it’s common to find Americans underestimating the value, taste and importance of domestic brews. Here’s our list of seven totally underrated domestic beers you need to try this season.

#1: Miller High Life 

Often referred to as the “champagne of beers,” Miller High Life offers a crisp, smooth taste at an affordable value. As an American adjunct lager, this light golden brew complements roast chicken, grilled salmon burgers and other richly flavored main courses.

#2: Coors Banquet

Another underrated American adjunct lager, Coors Banquet is a traditional, straw-colored beer that has been brewed in Golden, Colorado since 1873. Uniquely crisp and refreshing, Coors Banquet pairs well with virtually any meal, making it a staple at summer barbecues and picnics.

#3: Old Milwaukee Light

A refreshing beer, Old Milwaukee Light delivers a creamy feel, slight malt flavor and a clean finish with fewer calories than that of the classic Old Milwaukee Lager. Food pairings are virtually endless with this light lager.

#4: Icehouse

As America’s first domestic ice beer, Icehouse is brewed traditionally and fermented before its temperature gets lowered to below freezing. Bold, yet smooth, this American adjunct lager boasts an enjoyable malt character that complements various dishes, from barbecue to Indian to Thai.

#5: George Killian’s Irish Red

Available year-round, George Killian’s Irish Red features a toasted/roasted caramel malt aroma and taste. This well-balanced American amber/red lager contains a subtle sweetness that pairs well with beef and poultry.

#6: Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve

Brewed with 100% Cascade hops, Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve is an American Pale Lager with a crisp, clean flavor. For food pairings, this lager goes well with grilled chicken, seafood, steak and everything in between.

#7: Olde English 800

Smooth, yet rich, Olde English 800 offers a slightly fruity aroma indicative of its malt liquor style. As one of the leading malt liquor brands, Olde English 800, otherwise referred to as OE800, complements Indian, Latin American, Pan Asian and other cuisines.

At Columbia Distributing, we distribute a wide range of domestics as well as import and craft beers. Get in touch with a member of our team to learn more about the brands we supply.

 


The 10 Craziest Soda Flavors Across The Globe

Crazy Soda Flavors - Columbia Distributing

Do you consider yourself a soda aficionado? Are you feeling adventurous? Outside the parameters of your local grocery store or corner gas station, there’s a world brimming with unusual soft drinks just waiting to be explored. From international favorites to fizzy drinks that taste just like your favorite meal, here are the 10 craziest soda flavors from around the globe.

#1: Bacon

As bacon mania continues to sweep the United States and Canada, it’s no wonder bacon-flavored soda has made its way onto store shelves. Perfect for lovers of this crispy comfort food, bacon soft drinks are unsurprisingly available from several different brands.

#2: Candy Corn

Have you always wondered how to bottle the spirit of Halloween? Just one sip of this limited-edition candy corn soda will have you reminiscing about ghastly ghouls, spooky skeletons and plenty of tricks and treats.

#3: Turkey and Gravy

Another crazy soda invented as a limited-edition holiday flavor, the turkey and gravy soft drink tastes just like Thanksgiving dinner.

#4: Curry

Spicy, sweet and certainly unique, curry soda is a bold, fizzy beverage made in Japan that offers an authentic curry flavor.

#5: Cucumber

Cool and refreshing, cucumber-flavored soda combines the taste of crisp cucumber with invigorating sparkling water, making it great for a summer spritzer.

#6: Black Garlic

Hailing from Switzerland, this distinctive soft drink contains a slight hint of black garlic – a type of garlic that tastes sweet and syrupy.

#7: Onion

Manufactured in South Korea, onion soda tastes just like its name implies. However, this unique beverage is said to offer various health benefits, which makes up for the tear-provoking flavor.

#8: Grass

Soapy and bright green in color, grass-flavored soft drinks are definitely not for the faint of heart – or for those with weak stomachs.

#9: White Fungus 

Only for the adventurous, white fungus soda hails from Vietnam. Presenting a chunky texture, this soft drink is made from white fungus and the nests of cave-dwelling birds.

#10: Brussels Sprouts

If you just can’t get enough of these leafy greens, then Brussels sprout soda may be the right soft drink flavor for you.

Whether you’re looking for a well-known soda brand or a soft drink that’s truly one of a kind, Columbia Distributing supplies a variety of non-alcoholic beverages to suit every palette. Contact us to learn more about the premium soda brands we distribute.

 


Four Creative Ways To Use Kombucha

Creative Kombucha Uses - Columbia Distributing

Columbia Distributing is proud to provide Townshend’s Brew Dr. Kombucha. Earthy and tart with a slightly sour aroma, kombucha, or mushroom tea, is a health beverage that packs a serious punch. Made with black or green tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast, this fermented beverage brews over the course of approximately 7 to 14 days and contains nourishing probiotics. Whether you have extra kombucha on hand that you need to use up or you’ve let a batch ferment for too long, you’ll be able to put the surplus tea to good use with these four creative elixirs.

#1: Dressings, Condiments And Marinades

With a sour tang that closely resembles the taste of apple cider vinegar – especially if it’s brewed for an extended period of time – kombucha makes a great replacement for vinegar in salad dressings, condiments and marinades. Swap out the white vinegar in an Italian dressing recipe or in condiments, such as ketchup or barbecue sauce. Due to its acidity, you can also use kombucha to create marinades for seafood, poultry and other types of meat.

#2: Smoothies And Frozen Treats

From granitas to popsicles to smoothies, give your kombucha a second life with delicious and nutritious frozen treats. Simply blend kombucha with fresh fruits or juices and then freeze the mixture in molds or ice cube trays to produce refreshing popsicles. Alternatively, you can toss a teaspoon of kombucha into your favorite smoothie recipe for a simple immunity booster.

#3: DIY Household Cleaner

Is it time for spring cleaning? Step your routine up a notch with a simple do-it-yourself household cleaner made with kombucha. Take one part water, one part kombucha and a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender, lemon or tea tree, and shake all the ingredients together in a spray bottle. And voilà – now you have an all-natural cleaner that can be used around the house.

#4: Mixed Drinks

Did you know kombucha can be used in both cocktails and mocktails? Exchange sweet and sour mix or club soda with kombucha in virtually any cocktail recipe for a healthy twist on your favorite mixed drinks. You can even ferment the kombucha for a second time with juice for a sweeter, more carbonated concoction.

From Townshend’s Brew Dr. Kombucha to soda to beer and more, Columbia Distributing supplies a diverse range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to suit your personal taste. Contact us today to learn more about the brands we distribute.

 


What’s The Deal With Sour Ales? (And Which Ones Should I Try?)

Fruity, tart and complex, the flavor profile of sour beer is sure to leave a lasting impression on your palette. And as the craft beer market continues its upward trend with sour ales by its side, you may be wondering how this distinct beverage gets its tartness or which style you should try next. Continue reading to learn more about this one-of-a-kind brew. The Deal with Sour Ales - Columbia Distributing

How Sour Beers Are Made

Where does sour beer get its trademark tartness from? The answer – bacteria and wild yeasts. Introduced into the brewing process, these two ingredients are responsible for the majority of sour beers. The most common agents used to deliberately sour beer are:

  • Brettanomyces – Brett is a strain of yeast used to slowly ferment beer and produces funky brews, a subset of sour beer.
  • Lactobacillus – Used to convert sugars into lactic acid, lacto is a bacterium that creates sour styles with crisp, clean sourness in a short amount of time. Lacto is often found in Gose and Berliner Weisse brews.
  • Pediococcus – Like lacto, pedio is a bacterium that lowers the pH level of the beer by creating lactic acid. However, pedio is known for its funkier flavors and aromas.

Some brews, like Lambic, are made by leaving coolships, or big open vats, of wort exposed to the outside air, letting wild yeast and bacteria ferment the beer naturally. Then, they are aged in barrels and later blended for consistency.

What Sour Beers Should I Try?

As you peruse the beer selection of your local grocery or liquor store, you may notice the sheer variety of sour ales, from Lambic to Berliner Weisse to Gueuze to Gose. Consult the following flavor profiles, and choose the sour beer that best suits your personal taste.

Flanders red ales – These are a great choice for those new to the world of sour beer. Generally light-bodied and reddish-brown in color, they are characterized by sharp, fruity, sour and tart notes.

Berliner Weisse – On warmer days, go for a Berliner Weissbier. Pale-gold in complexion, Berliner Weisse beers are refreshing, tart, sour and acidic, and typically feature a lemony, citrus sharpness.

Lambic – Crisp, yet tart, Lambics are light-bodied beers with little to no hop flavor or distinctive bitterness. Lambic varieties are often blended with fruit to balance out the brew’s sour nature.

Gueuze – If you’re looking for a dryer, yet fruitier, flavor profile, seek out the traditional Belgian Gueuze, which is made by bottling both young and old Lambics together and aging them for about two to three years.

Gose – A German sour ale, Gose is slightly tart, yet highly refreshing. This brew features a signature spice and dryness attributed to the addition of salt and coriander.

Contact Columbia Distributing today to learn more about the sour ales and other alcoholic beverages we distribute.

 


H2O Decoded: Sparkling Vs. Still Water

You spent the past hour at the gym working out and are now on the road to recovery. As you go to grab a refreshing bottle of water from the cooler, two different options catch your eye – still and sparkling. Regular water has always been your lifeline, but sipping sparkling varieties is such an enjoyable experience. Then, the question hits you. Are there really any differences between the two? After all, they’re both just water, right? Before you replace your old standby with a bottle of sparkling water, consider the different processes and flavors and how they relate to your hydration needs.

Why Sparkling Water BubblesWater

A satisfying fizzle emerges from a just-opened bottle of sparkling water. Slightly above the water’s surface, tiny bubbles dance in harmony. As you enjoy your fizzy beverage, you wonder, “What makes sparkling water bubble?”

Made by adding carbon dioxide to water under pressure, sparkling water is produced by a process called carbonation. Known by many names, including club soda, seltzer water and mineral water, carbonated water is much the same as regular, still water, except that it contains bubbles and may also consist of other beneficial minerals and additives.

Pamper Your Taste Buds

Sparkling water is an enjoyable alternative to still water. Offering an immersive drinking experience, sparkling water can be found in a variety of thirst-quenching flavors, from lemon-lime to wild berry to coconut pineapple. Like regular water, you can also flavor sparkling varieties with natural ingredients found around your kitchen, such as mint leaves, cucumber, lemon and lime slices and other fresh fruit. With so many delicious and invigorating options to choose from, reaching your daily water intake requirement is both simple and enjoyable.

Meet Your Hydration Needs However You See Fit

Whether you’re cooling off after a long run or quenching your thirst throughout the day, both still and sparkling water serve the same basic purpose – hydration. So go ahead, indulge in your favorite bubbly beverage or stick to plain water. The choice is up to you.

Contact Columbia Distributing to learn more about our selection of still and sparkling water.

 


3 Tips For Engaging Marketing For Your Craft Brewery

Craft Brewery Marketing Image

Upon entering an already crowded field, craft brewers often find themselves surrounded by brick walls when it comes time to market their brand. In order to climb out of the box and into the spotlight, your own cidery or distillery must be able to sell a compelling narrative, advertise efficiently and create effective marketing campaigns while scraping out a niche in the teeming marketplace. As overwhelming as it may seem, improving your marketing presence can be done in just a few simple steps. Consider the following tips to enhance your promotional efforts.

#1: Craft a Convincing Narrative Through Authenticity

According to the brewersassociation.org, there are over 5,300 breweries operating in the United States as of 2016. With a 16.6% increase in U.S. breweries from 2015 to 2016, your own craft brewery may be faced with the question: how do we stand out as the field expands and becomes increasingly competitive?

Authenticity is the key to promoting your business. Because the American craft brewery prides itself on three principles – limited production, independence and tradition – creating a narrative based on what makes your cidery or distillery unique will help give your brewery personality. And if what makes your craft brewery distinct is its ties to the local community, be sure to capitalize on sponsorships, donations and volunteerism to build equity and further enhance your brand’s story.

#2: Use Thoughtful Marketing To Get Your Brand Out There

At the end of the day, you want people to feel at home with your marketing presence – like they can sit down and drink a pint with you. Sounding like a corporate drone and using unfit advertising strategies, like television commercials and direct mail, will only make your craft brewery seem out of touch with consumers.

Traditional marketing techniques, such as placing ads in local newspapers and magazines, are a great way to weave your brewery into the fabric of the surrounding community. However, in the digital age, outreach opportunities will mostly present themselves in the form of social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all great platforms to communicate directly with your fans. Capture fun, candid moments on Snapchat or make food pairing videos on YouTube featuring your brews to leave a genuine impression on your audience.

#3: Create An Effective Marketing Campaign

In addition to staying up-to-date on your social media platforms, it’s crucial to develop a marketing campaign. Whether through a link on Twitter or a weekly newsletter, driving people to your website is essential. Once they arrive, your site has to be easy to navigate, simple and polished to increase conversion. When looking to send out e-mails, pick a time and stick with it. Maybe consider publishing a newsletter right before the weekend or during the midweek slump. Just remember: be authentic, consistent and social, and people will follow.


Wheat’s The Deal? – A Rundown Of Wheat Beers

Light wheat beer and a bunch of wheat

You’ve just left your nine-to-five. Before heading home for the day, you decide to hit up your favorite watering hole. As you peruse the menu during happy hour, you notice the classification under your preferred brew reads, “Wheat Beer,” but what exactly does that label mean?

Cracking The Code: Wheat Beer Defined

Wheat beer, otherwise known as a weizenbier, is a brew that’s derived of at least 50% malted wheat. From American pale wheat to Hefeweizen to Berliner Weisse, wheat beer is highly effervescent with a light, refreshing flavor that’s perfect for spring get-togethers and summer barbecues. Many wheat beers also feature fruity notes, such as vanilla, clove and classic banana flavors. Because of the traditional yeast strains, this type of beer retains a remarkable head, creating an enjoyable, distinctive drinking experience.

Explore Your Palate

If you’re new to the world of craft beer, odds are you don’t know all that much about the different types of wheat beer. Whether you enjoy a fruity, refreshing brew paired with a rich dessert or prefer a dark, heavy beer made for sipping, the spectrum of wheat beer offers various flavors, carbonation levels and acidities to suit your palate. Here are some common types of wheat beer:

Lambic – The beer born wild. Top-fermented by multiple wild yeast strains in a process known as spontaneous fermentation, Lambic features unusual, unique flavors and is often brewed with fruits, such as raspberries, apricots and grapes, toning down the tartness.

Berliner Weisse – The refreshingly tart beer. With a sour, acidic taste and almost no hop bitterness, Berliner Weisse is pale in color and low in alcohol content, making for a smooth, light drinking experience.

Hefeweizen – The original wheat beer. Hefeweizen is unfiltered and contains a small amount of hops, high carbonation and a signature banana flavor.

Dunkelweizen – The darker version of Hefeweizen. Delectably creamy with notes of vanilla, banana, clove, bubblegum and/or nutmeg, Dunkelweizen is brewed with caramelized or roasted malts, contributing to its dark, sometimes chocolaty nature.

Bockbier – The beer made for sipping. Because of its high alcohol content of 6% or more, Bockbier has a distinct, rich malt flavor that balances sweetness with nut-like notes.

Weizenbock – The middle ground between Bockbier and Hefeweizen. Generally made with bold fruit and complex malt flavors, Weizenbock tends to taste spicy due to its high ABV. It’s creamy and refreshing – but comes with a kick.

Thirsting for more? Contact Columbia Distributing to learn more about the domestic and imported beers, craft beers and other alcoholic beverages we distribute.


Mocktails To Add To Your Menu

6 Mocktails To Add To Your Menu

Although traditional cocktails will always have a special place on your menu, the growing trend of non-alcoholic mixed drinks, otherwise known as mocktails, might make you think twice about your restaurant’s beverage options. Accommodating non-drinkers, creating a more inclusive environment and ultimately boosting sales, mocktails help diversify your specialty drink list. In need of some inspiration? Sift through the recipes below to help craft your own mocktail menu.

Strawberry soda that tastes delicious and refreshing.

#1: Virgin Moscow Mule

An alcohol-free twist on a fan-favorite cocktail, the virgin Moscow mule combines lime juice, ginger beer, simple syrup and to create a refreshing, citrusy drink with a spicy edge. Serve in a copper mug and garnish with a slice of lime and ginger for a classic touch.

#2: Cran-Apple Cider

As the leaves turn to shades of deep burgundy, crimson and fiery orange, patrons may be in the mood for a delicious mocktail inspired by autumn. This cran-apple cider recipe consists of two basic ingredients – cranberry juice and apple cider. For an enticing look, rim the glass with sugar and add a seasonable apple slice.

#3: Roy Rogers

Although the Roy Rogers mocktail is named after Hollywood’s most famous cowboy, its flavor profile closely resembles that of a Shirley Temple. Simply fill a highball glass with cola, add a splash of grenadine and finish with a maraschino cherry.

#4: Shirley Temple

Speaking of Shirley Temple, this traditional non-alcoholic drink is a staple in the world of mocktails. The sugary sweet Shirley Temple contains lemon-lime soda and grenadine and is topped with a maraschino cherry for good measure.

#5: Mojito Mocktail

Marked by a distinct minty flavor, this mojito mocktail may just be the refreshing summer drink your regulars have been searching for. Combining fresh mint, lime juice, soda water and sugar, this alcohol-free mojito offers non-drinkers a thirst-quenching concoction for when the warmer weather moves in.

#6: Mock Champagne

Special occasions call for celebratory drinks. This mock champagne recipe can be enjoyed by expectant mothers, abstainers and children alike. Simply combine ginger ale, pineapple juice and white grape juice to craft a light, enchanting mocktail.

For every event, bar and restaurant, Columbia Distributing offers a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages. Browse the brands we distribute, or contact us to see how our selections can accommodate your mocktail menu.


Columbia Distributing’s First Scholarship Winners

Haley Palmer

Help us congratulate our first two recipients of the Stronger, Better, Faster, Together 2017 Scholarship – Haley Palmer and Taylor Hartt!

This year Columbia Distributing came together to create a new in-house academic scholarship to help financially assist families with loved ones in college. Haley and Taylor, along with 9 others completed an online application process with our partner Scholarship America, for the opportunity to receive $10,000 to put toward their educational goals. The finalists were selected based off academic performance, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and Taylor Harttcommunity activities, work experience, a statement of career and educational goals and objectives, unusual personal or family circumstances and an outside appraisal.

Ultimately, Haley Palmer, daughter of Lance Palmer – Operations Manager in Medford, OR and Taylor Hart, stepdaughter of Aaron Patrick – C- Store Sales Rep in Everett, WA were selected as this year’s winners.

Haley is currently enrolled at University of Hawaii and Taylor attends the University of Washington. Congratulations again to you both!

Are you a Columbia Distributing employee and have a child/dependent who is interested in applying for the 2017-2018 scholarship? The application process begins again in October and can be bookmarked here!

 

 


Education Spotlight: The Jack Joyce Scholarship Program

The pursuit of perfection in the fermentation of beer is more than just a noble endeavor; it is the lifetime passion of career fermentation scientists and craft brewers. The Jack Joyce Scholarship honors the founder of Rogue Brewery, now Rogue Ales & Spirits, who embodied this professional devotion to craft beer.

The History

Jack Joyce’s vision and creativity led the pioneer American microbrewery, Rogue Brewery, from humble Portland, OR beginnings to international distribution and industry leadership. American craft breweries today owe much to Jack Joyce, who also actively supported the Portland community as Rogue’s CEO from its founding in 1988 until his death in 2014. Jack Joyce’s dedication to clean, sustainable agri-fermentation is the standard that Rogue Ales & Spirits bears today in his honor. By growing its own supplies since 2008, Rogue Ales & Spirits has worked to conserve the land used by craft breweries in Oregon when they grow their hops, barley, rye, and wheat. Rogue Ales also locally cultivates other delectables for brewing purposes such as honey, jalapeños, and pumpkins.

In 2014, Rogue Ales & Spirits collaborated with Columbia Distributing, a leading national distributor of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages also based in Portland, to launch the Jack Joyce Scholarship Program. The scholarship pays homage to the legacy of Jack Joyce and invokes the model for excellence that Rogue helped set forth for subsequent generations of craft breweries and fermentation scientists.

The Success

Through its awards, the Jack Joyce Scholarship aims to encourage the study and mastery of the art of brewing and to support scientific and professional excellence in the industry. Five awards, totaling $70,000, were conferred in 2016. To date, the three-year-old program has awarded $185,000 in scholarship funds to budding fermentation scientists at Oregon State University—one of the nation’s top brewing programs. This year, the number of awards increased thanks to donations from new partner donors, including the Beer Institute, Crux Fermentation Project, Coleman Agriculture, National Beer Wholesalers Association, Great Western Malting Co., Fremont Brewing Company, Gilgamesh Brewing, Indie Hops, plus other craft breweries and industry leaders.

Apply Today!

All aspiring fermentation science majors at OSU are eligible to apply for annual scholarship awards, some as high as $20,000. To learn more about the program or to apply, please visit our Jack Joyce scholarship page or email JackJoyceScholarship@coldist.com.