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Craft Breweries Adding Booze To Root Beer Because Why Not?

Craft Breweries Adding Booze To Root Beer Because Why Not?



By Mary Beth Quirk

July 21, 2015

Either way you look at it — adding booze to root beer or adding root beer to booze — it’s a combination that makes sense: Root beer is delicious, people like drinking alcoholic beverages, so why not have a hard root beer? One craft brewery has already netted itself a national deal with major partners in the brewing industry after developing a boozy root beer that’s become quite popular.


Not Your Father’s Root Beer from Small Town Brewery in Wauconda, IL is currently on the market, though it’s so in-demand, you might have trouble finding it, reports Bloomberg, while other breweries are coming up with their own versions.


It sounds like even beer snobs may appreciate this new hard root beer, which earned a 94 out of 100 rating from Beer Advocate, an online review aggregator.


“I would venture to say everyone I know who drinks alcohol has had [hard root beer] by this point,” Matt Simpson, an Atlanta-based consultant who does business as the Beer Sommelier told Bloomberg. “As far as the popularity goes, it’s pretty simple: It tastes pretty good. It tastes like root beer, only with alcohol that you can’t really taste anyway.”


Small Town first brewed hard root beer in 2013, using sassafras bark, vanilla, anise, wintergreen and other spices. It attracted the attention of Pabst Brewing this year amid a rush of attention, and Not Your Father’s brand was then purchased outright by a group of investors that included Pabst Chief Executive Officer Eugene Kashper.


A national push and new owners doesn’t mean consumers can readily get it, as fans report long lines and have been sharing tips on where to find it online.


“We really made this for ourselves and local consumers more than anything,” Small Town founder Tim Kovac told Bloomberg. “[I] had no idea it would take off this way. … It really seems to hit on a sense of nostalgia for people.”


In the meantime, Pabst and Kovac are working on two new additional hard root beers, with 11% and 20% alcohol, respectively. Other craft breweries are hopping on the root beer train as well, with Rowdy Root Beer from Berghoff Brewery in Chicago joining the fray in June. Larger companies are taking note as well, with Boston Beer, the maker of Sam Adams, reportedly working on its own version.


Boozy Root Beer Is About to Be Huge [Bloomberg]