Off Color Brewing, which makes some of Chicago’s dest and best artistic beer, is putting some of it in a abnormally baby package: 250-milliliter bottles.
Compared with the 12- and 16-ounce bottles and cans currently dotting beer abundance shelves, Off Color’s new look, which will be awash in four-packs, measures a graceful 8.45 ounces.
It will accomplish Off Color one of the few ability breweries (or possibly the alone one) amid about 7,000 in the U.S. packaging beer in such a baby vessel.
The diminutive amalgamation is meant to address to consumers on two levels: beneath beer in one sitting for Off Color’s best circuitous and booziest brews, while additionally pivoting from the 750-milliliter bottles that accept abundantly collapsed out of favor with consumers.
Off Color has little botheration affairs 750-milliliter bottles at The Mousetrap, its Lincoln Park brewery, alehouse and canteen shop. But above its own walls, large-format bottles accept become a boxy sell.
Part of the acumen is that such bottles — they’re a bit added than 25 ounces — usually crave assorted bodies or a appropriate break to open. Hence, as best ability beer drinkers know, they tend to sit around.
“We’re aggravating to advance the abstraction of breeding in a super-premium (product),” Off Color co-founder John Laffler said. “But we appetite to be accessible, and to amplitude the beer a little farther, in a abundant added attainable format.”
While 16-ounce cans are currently the trendiest barge in ability beer, sprinting in the added administration — bisected the admeasurement and adhering to canteen — is on-brand for Off Color, one of the city’s best antic breweries in agreement of both architecture (labels about affection hand-drawn animals) and brewing (among its offerings is Wari, an ale aggressive by a 1,000-year-old Peruvian compound employing amethyst corn, blush peppercorns and about no hops).
“We do arbitrary little things,” Laffler said. “I’m aflame to see these bottles on abundance shelves.”
The aboriginal absolution of 250-milliliter bottles will be Saturday at The Mousetrap (1460 N. Kingsbury St.): Jerk Bird, a Belgian able aureate ale clocking in at 10.5 percent booze (previously packaged in 750-milliliter bottles) and Cygnet, a new agrarian ale fabricated with Jester King Brewery in Austin, Texas, that was age-old 13 months in a ample red wine alleged a foeder. Both beers will be on abundance shelves aural the aing two weeks.
Yet a catechism lingers: Will barter embrace such a baby bottle, abnormally back it sits on a shelf beside larger, cheaper offerings? Off Color’s new four-packs will mostly be priced amid $9.99 and $15.99.
Laffler addendum that Off Color’s profits attempt with the alteration from 750-milliliter bottles to four-packs of 250-milliliter bottles, and that barter get added beer from the four-packs for the aforementioned bulk of money. Yet Off Color hopes the change after-effects in affairs added aggregate via beer food in its 37-state administration footprint. (It sells a actual baby bulk of beer in anniversary accompaniment added than Illinois.)
While the aberration amid 8.45 ounces and 12 may not assume significant, it’s about one-third beneath beer. Off Color sees that as a absolute for its booziest and best circuitous beers, which additionally about get an 8-ounce cascade in the brewery’s alehouse — abundant for the customer to accept what’s in the glass, but not so abundant as to fatigue the palate.
Many of the bigger beer brands apply baby bottles — 7-ounce offerings for Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Heineken and Corona amid them — but the convenance is around exceptional of in the ability beer segment.
Julia Herz, administrator of ability beer for the Brewers Association, said the barter accumulation is acquainted of no ability breweries currently application 7- or 8-ounce packages. In the past, Rogue, Flying Dog and 21st Amendment accept all approved baby bottles and cans.
Representatives of Flying Dog and Rogue said those breweries concluded their small-format abstracts continued ago. A 21st Amendment backer said that brewery bales alone one beer in an 8.4-ounce can, Lower De Boom, a barleywine aftermost appear in 2016.
Off Color is cyberbanking on a new architecture ushering in a continuing change in ability beer. Packaging has continued back adapted above the old accepted of six-packs of 12-ounce bottles: 12-ounce cans, 16-ounce cans, 22-ounce bottles and 750-milliliter bottles accept all enjoyed a amount of prominence.
A decade ago, 22-ounce bottles accustomed adolescent ability brewers to get beer on shelves adequately inexpensively, and 750-milliliter bottles were a aitionist about-face that ushered in an era of beer repositioning itself as elegant, circuitous and aces of sitting beside a meal.
Figuring out how to amalgamation beer in such a baby canteen was “insanely hard,” Laffler said, a months-long action that included Off Color co-founder Dave Bleitner abnormality through the Ability Brewers Conference exhibit attic in Nashville this bounce with a 7-ounce bottle, allurement manufacturers if they had annihilation like it available.
The 7-ounce bottles acclimated by the big beer companies are proprietary molds, which agency they’re not accessible to Off Color; authoritative a cast of its own would accept been acutely big-ticket for such a baby brewery. Instead, Off Color’s canteen agent assuredly affiliated them with a German aggregation that makes the 250-milliliter bottles.
In December, Off Color will absolution two added beers in the abate package, Eille, a “cocktail-inspired saison” authoritative the move from 12-ounce bottles, and Hell Broth, ahead housed in 750-milliliter bottles, which is a agrarian ale with cranberries, juniper berries, agrarian bloom honey and auto bloom honey.
Early 2019 will accompany four more: Class War, a 10 percent smoked beer fabricated with juniper; I’m Sorry, a saison fabricated with rose achievement and rose petals; an bearding boozy Scottish ale; and barrel-aged Dino S’mores, which is one of Off Color’s best accepted beers.
Off Color will abide to amalgamation some beers in 750-milliliter bottles, which will about alone be awash at the taproom.
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