Press Clips: Surly Scores Arena Placement; A Growing Demand for Sour Beer

Surly Brewing continues to tap into a variety of emerging retail outlets for its products.

After announcing last month that cans of its Furious, Bender and Hell beers would be sold on flights operated by Sun Country Airlines, the Minnesota-based brewery will make available select Surly offerings at Minnesota Timberwolves home games.

Surly’s Abrasive, Darkness, and Coffee Bender will be available at specific vendors throughout the arena over the next three Timberwolves games, the first of which tips off tonight. And, throughout the rest of the season, Hell (appropriately, a Helles Lager), will be available at every home game.

“We’ll have a different ‘Beer of the Game’ at each of the three upcoming Minnesota Timberwolves games at the Target Center,” the company posted to its Facebook page.

Despite a recent Business Insider article proclaiming that sour beer is “suddenly all the rage,” we don’t expect too many sporting venues to begin selling Cantillon.

Business Insider might just now be starting to catch up to die hard beer aficionados who have long revered the sour beer style, but that hasn’t stopped the publication from looking at a slow growing style that’s been brewing for literally hundreds of years.

Lauren Salazar, New Belgium Brewing’s wood cellar manager told Business Insider that “there’s really two ways” people react when they first sample a sour — with “surprise and delight, or surprise and disgust.”

In November, New Belgium announced it would be adding 32 French Oak foeders to its Fort Collins brewery, which would allow it to double up the production of sour beers and bring select limited releases to its year-round lineup.

“Just knowing they’re all full of souring beer — all of them — is exciting,” Salazar told Brewbound at the time. “It’s a destination. Something you have to experience first hand.”

Alex Wallash, co-founder of The Rare Barrel, which is based in Berkeley, Calif. and only produces sour beer, told Business Insider that the overall growth of craft is leading drinkers towards an exploration of the style.

“We’re getting back into this time where we’re moving away from processed, homogeneous food,” he said. “There’s an overall shift in the American palate as to what we’re looking for in food and beverage.”

Whatever style is in vogue on a given day, what’s clear is that people are looking for better beer, and brewers aren’t the only ones listening. Scientists are also taking measures to ensure that, in the event of a doomsday scenario, beer won’t fall victim to natural selection.

Nearly 600 different types of barley were added to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a big concrete slab of a den that pokes out of the frozen earth in Norway and plays home to hundreds of thousands of different crop varieties people have deemed worth preserving.

According to National Geographic, The Barley Germplasm Center at Japan’s Okayama University plans to send another 5,000 different types of barley there in the future.

“Barley is very important not just for Japan but for the food security of the world,” said Kazuhiro Sato, a professor at Okayama University’s Institute of Plant Science and Resources.

While investing in the future — especially some type of barren hellscape bereft of beer — is a worthy endeavor, so is investing in the brewers who work now to keep us satiated before the downfall of humanity.

Night Shift Brewing, of Everett, Mass., recently secured a $700,000 loan from MassDevelopment that will finance a brewery expansion as well as new equipment and renovations at the new 16,000 sq. ft. facility. Its current brewery is 3,000 sq. ft.

“Our once tiny brewery is growing significantly with this change, and we can’t wait to share the new taproom and brewing facility with all of our local supporters in just a few more weeks,” said Michael Oxton, brewery co-founder in a press release. “Our production will increase dramatically with this upgrade, too, so Boston should expect to see a lot more Night Shift on the shelves and on tap in 2014.”

MassDevelopment CEO Marty Jones added that the organization was pleased to invest in the local business.

“Night Shift Brewing shows how with hard work and creativity, Massachusetts entrepreneurs can transform their passion into a profession,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Florida, Pepin Distributing Co. has named just its second president in the company’s 50-year history.

According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Randy Garcia has been promoted from vice president after 26 years with the company.

Former president Tom Pepin will remain CEO of the company.

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