The important relationship between drinks and snacks

Drinks and snacks at bar

Many times when people hear the word “pairing” they think of snobbery and a stuffy aristocrat picking a cheese for his wine. The truth is that we all pair our food and drinks, perhaps without even realizing it. We pick the best snacks for drinks all the time. Think about it, when you go to the movies, you carefully select your drink and your snacks so you get maximum enjoyment.

Food plays a role in the flavor of a drink, it can enhance or inhibit.

Finding the perfect drink to go with your favorite snack may not be easy and it may take several tries before your find the best relationship, but don’t give up because when you do finally find the right match your snack or mealtime will be forever improved.

Here’s what to consider when searching for the best snack and drink combination:

  • Consider how the drink enhances your snack flavor. Your beverage can pair nicely by contrasting with the flavor of your snack or by being a flavor twin and mirroring the flavor of your snack. A great example of this is with hard cider. A hard cider from Flatbed Cider could pair well with a pork chop or kale chips or both.
  • Consider the drink characteristics. Important characteristics to consider are the impact, body and alcohol content of your beverage. Keep in mind that if you are eating light you’ll want to pair your snack with a beverage with lower alcohol content. For instance a premium soda from Jones Soda Co. could pair well with Kettle Chips or a light sandwich.
  • Consider the acidity of both. For fatty foods an acidic drink will help clear your palate. If your snack is more acidic or spicy, you may want a drink that is neither acidic or spicy.
  • Consider carbonation. With some snacks the fizz from an ice cold drink can enhance your snack or mealtime experience. There are some snacks though that may not pair well with a fizzy drink. Alcoholic beverages will be more acidic and soda will be fizzy, so a good option is Snapple Tea., available in many flavors.
  • Consider sweet and bitter. While a contrasting flavor in your snack and drink can sometimes work to complement each other, remember that a super sweet treat and a bitter drink will most likely not pair well together. Keep in mind that any drink with tannins will increase the spiciness of food, so if you are not part of the some who like it hot crowd, steer clear of tannin-rich drinks when you’re having a spicy snack.
  • Have fun. Remember that snacks and drinks should be fun. Don’t let the idea of having the perfect drink-and-snack combo keep you from enjoying either one. Remember that what tastes great together to you may not taste great for your friend. Finding the right drink and snack fit is personal and subjective.

By remembering the four aspects of making a great food and snack fit and having fun while eating and drinking you are sure to come across a perfect combination. Get started today and check out the flavor profiles of our beverages. You never know when one might be the best match for your favorite snack.


All About Pumpkin Beers

Pumpkin ale
Every year in October, people who love beer celebrate the fall season with festivals, food and fun centered around their favorite beverage.

Pumpkin is the flavor of the autumn season. The bright orange fruit finds its way into pies, coffees and a variety of other foods. Breweries are applying the trend to beer flavorings. When high-profile producers like Rogue and Samuel Adams join the movement, people start to take notice.

But what is pumpkin beer? Where did it come from, and what can a first-time drinker expect?

Modern Taste from Historical Inspiration

Pumpkin-flavored beers are not a new invention. The pilgrims who came to colonize New England traditionally used barley malt in their brews. Unfortunately, they couldn’t grow barley in the soils of their new land. Importing the malt from England was expensive. Settlers turned to the pumpkin, a strange new fruit unknown to them before crossing the ocean, in the fermentation process. Using persimmons and maple sugar, a plain yet potent pumpkin ale was produced.

The industrious pilgrims soon found a way to grow hops and barley malt efficiently in the new world. Pumpkin ales quickly fell from memory and remained forgotten for much of the country’s history.

In the late 1980s, Buffalo Bill’s Brewery brought pumpkin ale back with one a brew inspired by one of George Washington’s favorite recipes. The original version used spices like nutmeg and cinnamon to mimic the flavors in of a pumpkin pie.

The New Breed of Pumpkin Beers

Today, manufacturers are using modern techniques to produce an updated version of this historical party staple. Different ingredients and brewing materials yield rich, flavorful drinks that can be enjoyed at a bonfire on the beach or in front of the fireplace with close friends.

Like the Buffalo Bill’s Brewery recipe that relaunched America’s interest in pumpkin beer, many manufacturers rely on spices and added flavors to produce a sweet drink that is reminiscent of dessert. Some of these recipes use very little, if any, actual pumpkin in the mix. Some brews, like the Dogfish Head version of this seasonal drink, do use real pumpkins in their process for a more authentic flavor. These mixtures tend to be slightly more bitter but with a richer, deeper taste.


Are you looking for a new favorite drink for the fall season? Pick up a few six-packs and have some friends help you evaluate these suggestions.

  • Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Wheat Ale has been widely available since 1995. This medium-bodied brew uses real pumpkins for a deep, dark experience.
  • Coney Island Brewing Company’s Freaktoberfest Pumpkin Ale evokes the smells of fall with roasted undertones, allspice and just the right amount of bitterness.
  • Ballast Point Brewing contributes the Pumpkin Down to the season’s collection. This Scottish-style ale blends real pumpkins with allspice for a thick, full-bodied drink.
  • Samuel Adams guarantees 30 pounds of pumpkin puree in each barrel of its Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Ale. Malt is added during the process to undercut the natural sweetness of the squash.

Columbia Distributing offers more than 300 brands of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. With such a large list, we are sure to have just the right thing for your retail space. Take advantage of the seasonal trends. Let Columbia Distributing stock your shelves with a pumpkin beer that will keep your customers coming back for more.


Libby and Analise Take on Pink Boots

Women Coming Together in the Name of Beer!


The Pink Boots Society was created to assist, inspire and encourage women in the beer industry. Columbia’s own, Libby Rankin and Analise Lucchese recently attended the very first Pink Boots Conference in San Diego, CA. Here is a glimpse of their experience: 

A couple of weeks ago I had an amazing opportunity to travel to and experience the Pink Boots Society’s first major conference. It was inspiring to see so many professional women amassed together in one room in the name of a shared passion for beer!

This is a unique business to be in.  It’s one of the oldest trades in the world.  As a distributor, the beer industry is a way of life.   I educate myself daily on the industry – new product launches, market trends, and consumer purchasing data.  What I have not been able to do, previous to the Pink Boots Society meeting, is share my experience as a women in this generally male dominated industry with other women.  Though here in Portland we have a strong presence of women within the distributor and supplier networks, we still make up a disproportionately small contingent of the workforce.  This is why the Pink Boots event was such an extraordinary experience.

After nearly ten years of distributor events and conventions, this is the first event I have attended that was geared specifically to beer and the women who, like me, dedicate their professional lives to the industry.   For the first time, I had a chance to expand my knowledge in the trade surrounded by a group of my female peers. It was incredible!!  We made new friends, we laughed, and we traded industry stories.  Ultimately we bonded over our passion for beer and had a wonderful time doing so.

We had the opportunity to hear a number of fruitful discussions ranging from Distribution, Sensory Recognition, to Hops as a raw material in the supply chain. The panels and lectures were enlightening and impressive.

The Distribution panel was an especially valuable and enlightening learning experience for me. My understanding and compassion for the multiple perspectives on distribution that, previous to this discussion I did not have. I now have a stronger understanding of and increased empathy for the difficulties brewers have when deciding how and through whom to distribute their beer. It was eye opening, to say the least!

The Sensory Lecture, by Gwen Conley, was amazing. Sensory recognition is the science of understanding what you are feeling, tasting and the perception you have. Simply put, she absolutely killed her presentation. She was engaging and funny and had her speech prepared, ready to go. She made me feel as if I were the only one in the room (though it was packed!). She gave exact definitions and examples of everything that Sensory Recognition has to offer.

The most notable presentation of the event was the keynote speaker, Megan Parisi, of Samuel Adams Brewery.  She spoke eloquently about her career path, starting out as a professional musician and defying convention in pursuit of her dream to be in this industry.  Her inspirational tale of persistence in the face of adversity was refreshing not only as a fellow woman and manager in the industry but as a beer enthusiast. As a manager of a team, I found value specifically in her commentary covering what she deems her greatest accomplishment, watching the people she trained become exceptional brewers and move on to newer endeavors within the brewing craft.  Her emotion and absolute passion for encouraging personal and professional growth within her team was palpable as she neared the end of her speech fighting back tears. This segment helped reinforce my belief that being a manager of people requires you to engage and build a relationship with them.  Life is not just about numbers and making sure that you hit them. It is about the impact that you have on them as a professional. You could see the zeal that she teaches with and how she talks about her students. It was very moving to be in a room with a women with that much devotion. As leaders, we often don’t take the time to think about what kind of an impact we have on the people we manage or the impact they have on us as leaders. I hope that as my career progresses here at Columbia I can stand up and speak with as much passion as she has. And know that the passion was perceived on the other side.

This was a great weekend for me. I was not sure what it was going to be like and or what to expect. To be honest I had no idea it was the first ever! The ladies of the Pink Boots Society did a fantastic job. I can’t wait for the next. The women I met and made friends with will be friends for a lifetime. I can not wait for our next adventure.

– Libby Rankin

Thank you Libby, for sharing your experience with us! We look forward to hearing more about your involvement with Pink Boots. 


10 Beers to Try this Summer

summer beer shutter long

Well, summer is officially here and that means it’s time to bust out the tank tops and enjoy an ice cold beer on the patio! It wasn’t easy but we combed through our portfolio of awesome pilsners, wheat beers, pale ales and more to give you our list of 10 refreshing beers you can enjoy on those hot summer days.

1. Fremont Summer Ale

Availability: April 1 – August 31

ABV: 5.2%


This simple craft, summer ale tastes like endless summer days and tangerine flowers in a glass.

2. Deschutes Hop Slice Summer Ale

Availability: April 1 – August 31

ABV: 5%


Floral and citrus hop notes meet smooth caramel maltiness in this refreshingly balanced golden ale. This year’s batch includes Lemondrop Hops!

3. Full Sail Blood Orange Wheat

Availability: Not listed

ABV: 5.2%


The Blood Orange Wheat offers a medium malt body with a crisp wheat finish and subtle orange flavor.

4. HUB Ferocious Citrus IPA

Availability: Not listed

ABV: 6.2%


Big citrus hop flavors meet up grapefruit juice for a complex and fun to drink citrus sipper.

5. Cascade Lakes Blonde Bombshell

Availability: Year Round

ABV: 4.3%


Blonde Bombshell combines subtle malt and wheat flavors with a delicate Liberty hop aroma to create a sensational beer. Originally brewed as a seasonal, this beer was so popular, they pushed it into their regular line-up.

6. Backwoods Gifford Pinchot Pilsner

Availability: Year Round

ABV: 5.1%


A Czech Pilsner brewed the exact way they do it in Prague. Made with a Czech Saaz hop, this beer has a spicy floral aroma with grassy notes and a clean crisp finish.

7. Dogfish Head Seaquench

Availability: April – December

ABV: 4.9%


The release of SeaQuench Ale kicked off a new partnership between Dogfish Head and the National Aquarium that will focus on inspiring conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. This session sour quencher is brewed with lime peel, black limes & sea salt.

8. Lagunitas Czech Pilsner

Availability: Year Round

ABV: 6%


This Czech pilsner is brewed with loads of imported Saaz hops and a bottom-fermenting yeast strain that leaves it Light and Crisp, yet full of real flavor and all the things you yearn for.

9. Crux Gimme Mo IPA

Availability: Year Round

ABV: 6.2%


Consider this the next generation IPA. It’s slightly sweet with lower ABV. It’s complex aromatic layers, suggest mango, melon, pine, and berries, are driven by whole-leaf Mosaic and Citra hops which are then balanced by an acidulated and pilsner malt bill. It’s silky smooth mouthfeel will leave you asking for “mo!”

10. Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin

Availability: Year Round

ABV: 7%


The Pineapple Sculpin IPA came from one of many small-batch cask experiments to enhance the flavor of Ballast Point’s signature IPA. The combination of fruity flavors and hop intensity definitely packs a punch.


Don’t see your favorite summer beer on the list? Let us know at




Blues Fest Terms and Conditions (6/27/17 – 6/29/17)



  1. Eligibility: This social giveaway is open to all ages and does not include alcohol. Employees of Columbia Distributing are eligible to win.

2. Agreement to Rules: By participating, the Contestant (“You”) agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and you represent and warrant that You meet the eligibility requirements.

3. Campaign Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on6/27/17 and end Thursday, 6/29/17 at 5:00PM Pacific Time. Depending on winner’s location, the prize can be picked up at 3601 NW Yeon ave. Portland, OR on Friday 6/30 or Columbia representative can FedEx, once the winner is announced and address is received.

4. How to Enter: Simply like the post from your personal social account and tag or comment the name of a friend. Entries that are incomplete or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of Columbia Distributing. You may enter only once. If you use fraudulent methods, multiple identities or attempt to circumvent the rules, your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of Columbia Distributing.

5. Prizes: The Winner(s) will receive 2 tickets to the Blues Fest on Monday, July 3rd, which takes place on the Tom McCall Waterfront in Portland, Oregon, branded ice bucket, golf towel and branded hat, valued at over $200. Actual/appraised value may differ at time of prize award. Prize may not be sold for cash or returned for cash value. The prize is nontransferable. Any and all prize related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes, shall be the sole responsibility of Winner. No substitution of the prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by Winner is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for Columbia Distributing to use Winner’s name, likeness, and entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation unless prohibited by law.

6. Odds: The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

7. Winner Selection and Notification: Winner will be selected by a random drawing once end time occurs. The winner will be notified by Instagram or Facebook Messenger. The winner will also be announced in a separate post on the Columbia Distributing pages.  Columbia Distributing shall have no liability for Winner’s failure to receive notices due to blocked messages or privacy settings. If Winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim the prize within 3 days from the time award notification was sent, the winner can pick up the other prizes but the tickets will be no longer valid.


4th of July – Chocolate Beer Cupcakes With Whiskey Filling and Stout Frosting

The Fourth of July marks the highlight of summer for America and beer consumers. With the holiday quickly approaching, Columbia Distributing employees are delivering more than 300 brands to stores, bars and restaurants to provide a wide selection of beer for your holiday cookouts and parties!

If you aren’t sure what to bring to this year’s BBQ, here is a recipe that is sure to impress all your friends and family…

Chocolate Beer Cupcakes With Whisky Filling and Stout Frosting


Recipe by Allison Wendt


  • 1 cup stout beer
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon whiskey, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, or more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons Stout beer


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. Bring stout beer( I used New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk but you can also use Guinness Irish stout.) and 1 cup butter to a boil in a saucepan and set aside until butter has melted, stirring occasionally. Mix in cocoa powder until smooth.
  4. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
  5. Beat eggs with sour cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low until well combined. Slowly beat in the beer mixture, then the flour mixture; beat until the batter is smooth.
  6. Divide batter between the prepared cupcake cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 17 minutes.
  8. Cool the cupcakes completely. Cut cores out of the center of each cupcake with a sharp paring knife. Discard cores.
  9. Bring cream to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat; stir in semi-sweet chocolate until melted.
  10. Mix in 2 tablespoons butter and whiskey until butter is melted; let the mixture cool to room temperature. Filling will thicken.
  11. Spoon the filling into the cored cupcakes.
  12. For frosting, whip 1/2 cup butter in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  13. Set mixer to low speed and slowly beat in confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, until frosting is smooth and spreadable. Beat in the stout beer; adjust the thickness of frosting with more confectioners’ sugar if needed.
  14. Spread frosting on filled cupcakes.
  15. Prepare to be overwhelmed with tasty compliments!


Hard Cider: An American History

Hard cider was a staple in the early American diet, but by 1840 it began to disappear from the culture altogether. However, as the local and craft beer industry has exploded, hard cider has burst back onto the scene with more producers bringing it back to American taste buds.

apples for cider

Initial Popularity

By the 1600s, hard cider had been popular in England for generations. Water in England was often contaminated, making hard cider a primary source of hydration for many people. It should come as no surprise that the first English settlers in North America would be familiar with cider production and eager to establish cider-pressing operations in the New World. In fact, historic folklore suggests that when a large timber on the Mayflower cracked during a strong ocean storm, the pilgrims propped it up with the large screw from their cider press.

Early settlers brought both young apple saplings and seeds to New England, and orchards were quickly established. Some orchard towns were producing 3,000 barrels of hard cider a year. Hard cider became so ubiquitous that even children consumed it with breakfast. Candidates for political office, including George Washington, used hard cider to motivate voters.

Declining Consumption and Comeback

Hard cider remained popular for several hundred years, but beginning in 1840, Americans began drinking less of it. Production declined so much over the next decades that by the time prohibition ended, hard cider had all but disappeared from American culture. Hard cider’s demise was the result of several factors, including the temperance movement. A large-scale temperance movement began in the U.S. in the 1820s and the social pressure it exerted influenced even casual hard cider users to purge it from their lives. After prohibition ended, the beer and soft drink industries took off, keeping hard cider from regaining a foothold in a country that had once prided itself on having the best cider on earth.

The craft brewery movement of recent years is responsible for returning the crisp, locally sourced beverage Americans have loved for centuries to the forefront of alcoholic beverage trends today. Try one of the many new and evolving varieties today!

Stay Warm This Winter With These 4 Tasty Drinks

During these cold winter months, there are many ways to stay cozy. Sitting by a fire, snuggling under a blanket, or enjoying a hot alcoholic beverage are fun ways to add to the holiday warmth. These four drinks can be made as listed or used as inspiration for your next holiday party or cold winter evening.

mulling spices

Mulled Ale

A spin on mulled wine, this warm beverage allows for innovation as many beer options can be used. The basic recipe calls for the beer of your choice, honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. Start by warming up your favorite beer on a stovetop, and bring it just below a boiling point. Next mix in the honey and spices to taste. For those who are more practiced in mixology, stir together an egg and sugar and add it to the mulled ale for a more traditional take on this warm drink.

Hard Apple Cider & Rum

This beverage is a fall tradition that mixes comforting and familiar tastes. Hard apple cider and rum represent the perfect balance of an alcoholic bite with a mild sweetener. Top these drinks off with a cinnamon stick for aesthetics and added flavor. For those wanting to add a twist to this classic winter beverage, try different flavors of hard cider like honey or pear.

Crabapple Lambswool

This warm beer beverage takes a bit of cooking, but the end result is well worth the time in the kitchen. This drink calls for your favorite brand of porter, a bit of sherry, a tablespoon of brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and a baked apple. Bake the apple in an oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. After the apple is cooked, quickly scrape out the fruit from its skin and add the pulp to your mixture of beer, sherry, and spices. The heat of the apple should bring your drink to a nice warm temperature.

Peppery Ginger Cider

For those who love a bit of a bite in their alcoholic libations, this drink combines hard apple cider with bourbon. For the ginger taste either use ginger flavored hard cider, or use original hard cider but add in a bit of ginger liqueur along with a few splashes of bourbon. Stir these together and bring them just below the boiling point on a stovetop. Next mix in lemon juice to taste for a citrus pop. Lastly, sprinkle in a bit of cracked black pepper or coat the rim of the glass before serving.

Columbia Distributing offers many beverages to help you stay warm, have fun, and explore new drinks this winter.

Best Craft Breweries and Beers in Oregon

Oregon is a utopia for great craft beers, and Columbia Distributing proudly represents and delivers so many of them. However, the vast selection can be overwhelming, even for an aficionado. Explore this guide, broken down by Breweries for convenience, to find the best beers across the state.

famous portland oregon neon sign

Barley’s Brown Beer

They have a great selection of all types of beers, although their Shredders Wheat was awarded the 2015 silver for “American Style Wheat Beer” in the Oregon Beer Awards. At the same time, their Pallet Jack IPA won Bronze in the Copa Cervezas de America, showing off their impressive versatility.

Hop Valley Brewing Co.

Started by four lifelong Oregonians, this brewery is as local as it gets. With an extensive selection of drinkable yet distinct brews and dedication to the hop history of Oregon, there’s a lot to enjoy from Hop Valley. They boast many rotating seasonal flavors, including their Blonde Ale and Citrus Mistress IPA, which both placed at the Beer World Cup in 2014.


Deschutes is a well-known name among craft beer enthusiasts, and for good reason. Their Abyss beer was chosen by Oregon Live as the second best of 2016 thanks to its dark, complex flavor. They also have a wide range of beers and exciting new brews coming out seasonally.

Hair of the Dog

Besides a great name, Hair of the Dog is one of the most established independent breweries. Barrel-aged, family run, and locally sourced, this business stays true to its values. Their “Adam” beer is a classic, but they have a lot of great flavors, including the Blue Dot IPA, which has been making waves in the craft community.

Hopworks Urban Brewery

Hopworks can be found in the heart of Portland and uses hops from the surrounding area. Their Ace of Spaces is an Imperial IPA that packs a punch. Those who like hops, hints of citrus, and a sliver of sharp bitterness will love this beer.

These excellent craft beers make Columbia Distributing proud to work in Oregon. Even better, they represent but a small number of the total Oregon-based selection!

Pair Each Holiday Dinner With the Perfect Beverage

Whether bringing a six-pack to a friend’s holiday party or buying a little something for yourself, finding the perfect complement to heavy, comfort food can be difficult. Here is a quick guide on which beverage to reach for during the holiday season.

beer illustration

While Cooking

Whether cooking or just hanging out, make sure not to get filled up before the meals starts. A crisp, light beverage is the best way to go. A Pilsner or Pils is a good choice to whet the palate. For flavor, anything with a tart aftertaste will prepare the tongue for the hearty food that is often accompanied with a cranberry or apple spark.

Between Forkfuls of Food

Of course, the most important beverage choice comes during the meal. Since meats are the staple of most holiday meals, an Oktoberfest will pair nicely, as the Germans know how to mesh meat and beer. A Belgian-style pale ale has some carbonization that cleanses the tongue between each bite to allow for a tour of all the foods available. For those who shy away from beer, a hard cider has that same crispness with a fruity bite that foreshadows dinner for the tongue.

Relaxing Time

Traditionally, a stout is favored after dinner for coffee, chocolate, or hoppy flavors. These will compliment and pull out the flavors of pies and cakes. Many Christmas ales feature cinnamon or a bit of spice to take the edge off all the sweetness. A sipping beer with a hint of spice or citrus can undercut an overly sweet dessert. On the other hand, a strong sipping ale that has elements of vanilla, cherry, and nuts is a nice alternative to a dessert and sits well on a full stomach.

Columbia Distributing wishes a happy holiday to you and your family!