Americans have a love of barbecue that is legendary. Whether it’s brats or burgers, Memphis style ribs, or pork shoulder mopped with traditional Eastern North Carolina vinegar sauce, there’s a cooking style to meet every taste.
Like barbecue, craft beers aren’t pigeon-holed into any one style or location. Craft beers pair with a variety of foods from grilled meats to desserts. Choosing the right beer for barbecue is an art. Eating delicious barbecue while sipping the perfect beer can make any meal memorable.
Let’s look at four outstanding craft beer and barbecue pairings that can take your next barbecue to a new level of deliciousness! Continue reading…
In the past few years, the rise of craft beer has been startling — in fact, the total number of breweries in the States rose by almost 20% from 2013 to 2014; signaling the growing popularity of the many types of flavor profiles. The market has been trying to meet the demand, and so marketing your craft brew has been easier if you do it by season. Continue reading…
Over the past decade or so, there has been a surge in the numbers of craft beer created by smaller independent breweries. Located in almost every corner of the United States, they have created a veritable paradise of beer flavors for the discerning connoisseur. While we hesitate at Columbia Distributing to name any one particular brand as the very best, we do recognize true quality when we see – and taste – it. Here are five of our favorites: Continue reading…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nothing goes better with a slice of pizza than a cold beer. Before making the usual purchase from the local beer distributor, discover the ideal brew to pair with pepperoni and other favorite toppings.
Margarita and Pale Ale
Those who like to keep it simple with sweet tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and savory basil should opt to wash their pizza down with a pale ale like Sierra Nevada. The light taste will balance the acidity and brightness of the sauce without overshadowing the delicate flavor of the cheese.
Pepperoni and Black IPA
Since pepperoni is a spicier meat, it needs a strong beer to stand up to the taste. The dark, bitter roast of an IPA pairs perfectly, cleansing the palate for the big flavors of the slice without overwhelming the senses.
Hawaiian Pizza and Fruity Ale
While this pineapple and ham-topped pie might be a more exotic choice, this pairing can make it anyone’s favorite. Choosing a beer or cider with a fruity flavor, such as Redd’s Apple Ale, contrasts the salty meat while providing a harmonious note with the sweet, juicy fruit profiles.
Mushroom Pizza and Earthy Ale
Pair this pizza with an earthy, hoppy beer. English ales are an excellent choice since their earthiness is tinged with a sweetness that helps brighten up the mushroom flavor. Similarly, the rich sweetness of a milk or chocolate stout is another good pairing choice to grab from the beer distributor, as it is both bold and delicate like the mushrooms themselves.
Meat Lovers and Scotch Ale
An indulgent pizza deserves an indulgent beer. The caramel in this powerful beer plays well with the natural sweetness of smoked meats like sausage. Meanwhile, the herbal flavors from the pizza bring out the peaty notes in the beer, offering a nice balance.
Classic Cheese and Wheat Beer
Some may think that any beer matches well with the classic cheese pizza. However, a wheat beer like Blue Moon is light enough to not overshadow the flavors of the pizza, allowing this favorite meal to shine.
Stock the fridge with one of these selections from a local beer distributor next time Friday night rolls around. These pairings are ideal for a date or a night out with friends.
Craft breweries continue to open at a rapid pace, and for a good reason. They hit on a number of modern trends in the industry such as local ingredients, unique drink and food options, and great service. Explore these spot-on tips for how to get a craft brewery running with a successful start.
1) Hit the Ground Running
Craft breweries have exploded in popularity, which is good for the customer but creates a crowded field for owners. This means that there is little time for a transitional period. It’s important to determine what beers will be sold, what foods will be available, and to hire the qualified staff needed to get things running right away. Consider a soft opening for friends and family before the doors become open to the public to ensure everything is in place.
2) Personalize Appearances
Many customers choose to go to craft breweries primarily because of the local, inviting atmosphere. This environment includes the building type, the seating area, and even the outfits of the waiters or bartenders. A small stone pub can get away with muted lighting and crowded pool tables, while a brewery on the outskirts of town next to a natural setting should capitalize on the natural light and offer amenities like open patios. Make sure that the bar’s appearance fits with its location, and highlights what the spot has to offer that makes it unique.
3) An Educated Staff
It’s important to know that some customers will be craft beer experts, while others will have very little knowledge about the field. The staff needs to be able to walk all customer types through their decision and help them find a beer within their taste range. In some cases, experts may want the exact details on each beer, and the staff has to be prepared to give a comprehensive and articulate description of the selection. This also applies to food pairings, describing the brewing process, and making it an outstanding experience with a connection to the community.
4) Market Smart
The market only has so much room for craft breweries. Each new one has to find a niche in the market and balance it with the current demand in their city. They then have to be able to pivot in the marketplace by bringing in new specials to keep the market growing and to build a loyal customer base. It’s important to play into what your clientele likes. Distribution patterns need to be established right away and details as small as beer names need to be unique and make a splash.
With our broad range of brands and beverage types, Columbia Distributing has been helping businesses succeed for years. Contact us today to find out how we can help your local businesses thrive.
Both craft beer distributors and beer festivals are on the rise as the appreciation of good beer spreads. However, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of these large-scale events. Here are tried-and-true steps to stand out and attract customers.
Don’t Use Tickets
Tickets can slow down festival operations and frustrate customers. Tickets frequently get lost and restrict how much people are willing to try, which may prevent guests from spending their precious tickets on a particular beer or trying a more adventurous flavor. Selecting festivals that follow a one-time fee to enter creates a more positive and relaxed fest vibe for both staff and festival attendees.
Sample a Big Variety
Particularly for breweries expanding to a new region, festival customers may be trying out a brand for the first time and need a lot of guidance for their sample. Others will be stopping by to grab a taste of an old favorite, or to taste the newest product from a company they respect. In any situation, craft beer distributors need to aggressively advertise their selection and share unique talking points to stand out in the crowd.
Bring Engaging Staff
Craft beer distributors should send their highest-quality, tenured staff to represent them at a festival. Customers will want to know the history of the company, ingredients in the beer, and suggestions based on a wide variety of tastes. A confident and well-trained employee can also keep people entertained in long lines and encourage social media interactions to make a lasting impression.
Provide Water & Goodies
Water is a must to stay hydrated throughout the day, and every customer will be forever grateful to the vendors that provide it. It also cleans out their glass between samples and stops residue from building up. Other freebies like stickers and buttons will help make a brewery’s brand stand out among the other booths.
There’s no shortage of popular beer festivals happening, especially across the West Coast. With these tips in mind, strategic breweries can gain exposure in new markets and ensure a happy crowd at the next fest.
A glass of champagne is tradition, but everyone needs something to sip on leading up to that special moment. Get the party started with these drinks from a local beverage distributor that are sure to be the next party favorite when the ball drops.
2 Towns Cider Ginja Ninja
This is a great option for starting off the night with a crisp, easy-to-drink cider. The strong ginger flavor compliments the apple undertones and leaves the palate feeling refreshed. Plus, 2 Towns sources all of their apples from the Northwest for a truly local flavor.
Fremont Brewing Barrel Aged Abominable Winter Ale
This barrel-aged winter ale is nice for those scotch drinkers who want a beer to sip on. The spicy aroma is undercut by a roasted chocolate flavor along with notes of vanilla and caramel. This is a good drink to savor, although the high alcohol content will still produce a buzz.
Pike Brewing Company Octopus Ink Black IPA
A celebration of citrus and pine hops with a dark roasted malt character, this brew packs a complex flavor combination. A little bit sweet, a little bit bitter, it’s the perfect beer to sit back and reflect on the year before the ball drops and confetti flies.
Unibroue La Fin de Monde
No better way to ring in the new year than with a beer that translates to “the end of the world” in French. On a less dark note, this beer will pair perfectly with that post-midnight snack later in the night. It’s a medium body beer with a refreshing hint of orange. This beer keeps a cult following, so order it early from the local beverage distributor before the year ends.
Backwoods Brewing Company Pecan Pie Porter
Finish the night off with a sweet treat from this festive porter. Notes of caramel and chocolate are balanced with a light roasted pecan finish. A truly seasonal brew that’s perfect for a toast to “Auld Lang Syne.”
Be sure to load up on a wide variety of beverages before the holidays, as these are sure to go fast. If hosting a party, be sure to reach out to a local beverage distributor to get the order in!