Dogfish Head’s Namaste Moves to Year-Round Lineup

Add Delaware’s Dogfish Head to the growing list of craft breweries adding lower-alcohol “session” beers to their year-round portfolios in 2014.

Dogfish will transition Namaste, the company’s 4.8 percent, Belgian-style white beer — previously available only in 750 mL champagne-style bottles on a limited basis — into regularly available 12 oz. 6-packs, beginning in January.

“From the day we opened in 1995, the average beer we’ve brewed has been 9% ABV,” Dogfish Head Founder Sam Calagione wrote on the brewery’s blog. “We love going big, but we also hear the calls for a more sessionable off-centered ale.”

Dogfish isn’t alone, either. The decision to offer a lower-proof SKUs is one that a number of craft breweries have gravitated towards in recent months. In July, Michigan’s Founders Brewing said it would move its 4.7 percent ‘All Day IPA’ into year-round production; Lagunitas has said that, upon opening its Chicago brewing facility, production of its own 4.9 percent ‘Daytime IPA’ will increase.

And then there is New Belgium, which introduced the 5 percent Shift Pale Lager to its year-round lineup in April of last year. Next February, the Colorado-based brewery will roll out Snapshot, a sessionable, 5-percent unfiltered wheat beer that is similar to Dogfish Head’s Namaste.

“It makes sense for people to be looking up and down that portfolio line and asking ‘what do we have on the lighter end?’” said Bryan Simpson, a spokesman for New Belgium. “When you can produce something that is beautifully crafted and has a reasonable alcohol — that is an interesting place to play.”

But as Dogfish and other craft breweries move towards higher velocity items, tank space becomes more constrained. For Dogfish Head, this means slower-moving SKUs like Immort Ale, Chateau Jiahu, My Antonia and Black & Blue will be indefinitely retired.

Dogfish Head said it hopes to produce 202,000 barrels in 2013. The company’s full 2014 production schedule — which will include the introduction of the new, 6-percent ‘Piercing Pils’ this December — is available on its blog.

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