BOZEMAN, Mont. – Bozeman Brewing Company announced today that it has developed the largest sour beer program in Montana. Over the past 18 years, Bozeman Underground, the brewery’s barrel cellar, has grown to house 250 up-cycled oak barrels and four stainless steel Grundy tanks. This production capacity, paired with a new bottling program, allows Bozeman Brewing to satiate an unprecedented thirst for sour, wild and funky beers in our community and beyond.
According to Nielsen, sour beer is one of the fastest growing beer styles in the country. From July 2017 to summer 2018, sour beer sales rose a whopping 42.7 percent as consumers bought $14.8 million worth of sour brews. Bozeman Brewing has seen a similar increase in local appetite.
In 2015, these beers accounted for just 3 percent of the brewery’s tasting room draft sales, while in 2018 these libations represented 10 percent of all pints sold. Part of this increase has been fueled by Bozeman Brewing’s ever-creative supply of sour, wild and funky brews.
Since releasing its first wild ale, Funky Virtue, in 2007, Bozeman Brewing has crafted over 20 different barrel-aged and quick sour varieties by fermenting a metamorphic combination of wild yeast, bacteria and sometimes various fruits in oak barrels and stainless steel vessels. After aging for as little as a few months to a few years, beer styles like the Lambic Inspired, Flanders, Saison, Gose and Berliner Weisse emerge.
“Our Tasting Room customers have shown a fondness for the complex flavors that these bacteria-spiked brews impart,” explained Todd Scott, brewery owner. “Whether they’re tart, funky, or just plain wild, we’re excited to share more unconventional flavors with Montana beer drinkers.”
Yet despite this growing affinity, sours only represent 0.1 percent of national beer sales.
“It’s a labor of love,” Scott explained. “Because of the amount of time, attention, energy, and separate warehousing required, the barrel-aged sour program is a long term investment. And then you consider the manpower needed to bottle, cork, and cage each beer by hand. It’s not for everyone, but it is the ultimate display of our craft.”
Until today, Bozeman Brewing has only offered these beers on draft in its Tasting Room and at select bars and restaurants across southwest Montana. Today, the company is releasing its first ever bottled sours. Three varieties–Vieux Bois Lambic Inspired with Raspberry and Cherry, Vieux Bois Lambic Inspired with Apricot and AndSoIt Gose with Black Currant–will be immediately available at the brewery’s Tasting Room at 504 North Broadway Ave. In the next few weeks they will be distributed across Montana to help quench the state’s growing thirst for sour, wild and funky brews.
About Bozeman Brewing Company
Established in 2001, Bozeman Brewing Company is Gallatin Valley’s oldest operating craft brewery. Its four mainstay beers–the Bozone Amber, Hopzone IPA, Gallatin Pale Ale and Plum St Porter–as well as a robust seasonal rotation of ales and lagers are canned and distributed across Montana. www.bozemanbrewing.com