The coronavirus pandemic has altered everything. Including how some breweries are rolling their most in-demand limited releases.
Coveted beer releases have long provided a boost (both economically and as a form of publicity) for some craft breweries.
Even though Goose Island is now and Anheuser-Busch property, its annual Bourbon County Stout release still draws thousands who line up on Black Friday to get their hands on the annual variations.
Minneapolis-based Surly Brewing’s Darkness Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout is legend in the Midwest, as is its Darkness Day celebration where the beer release has become part of a bigtime Heavy Metal music festival.
Munster, Indiana’s Dark Lord Day draws stout lovers from all around the world, who are lucky enough to score a ticket to a day of music and drinking the brewery’s infamous Dark Lord Stout.
But thanks to COVID-19, all three breweries have been forced to adjust how these hot-ticket beers make their way to consumers. And no matter their quality, the whole process of scoring one of the hot releases is just so much more mundane this year.
The build-up, celebration and bonding with like-minded beer fans on one special day has been replaced with an online ordering that while ensuring safety couldn’t be less exciting, but it does kind of define this year.
At Goose Island, lottery systems, pre-purchasing and selected pickup times have replaced overnight parking lot camping and the long lines that normally accompany its annual Bourbon County Stout release. Beers are purchased online but because of Illinois law which doesn’t allow for shipping the sought-after stouts must be picked up at a special curbside location.
This from Goose Island Beer…
Back in 1992, Chicagoans were the first drinkers to give a dark, viscous, imperial stout aged, in Bourbon barrels, a try. With craft beer in its infancy, it was Chicagoans that welcomed this innovative, barrel-aged stout with open minds and eager palates. That stout, of course, was Bourbon County Brand Stout; the first beer to be aged in a Bourbon barrel.
We still want to put our beloved beers in the hands of our most devoted fans, this year will be different. With everyone’s safety in mind, we are shifting to curbside pick-up only. Lottery winners will check in and pick up their allocation without leaving their vehicle.
We will miss bringing everyone together outside of our brewery and can’t wait to raise a glass with you all again.
On October 19th, 3 Floyds simply made its Dark Lord Stout variations available online on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each package goes for $170 which includes four bottles of Dark Lord, one bottle of a rare variant, and a tote bag. But you’ll have to pick-up those packages at the brewery.
And even if Covid-19 hadn’t happened, Surly Brewing was ready to back away from its annual Darkness Day citing Minnesota laws that complicated the event and the beer’s distribution.