Saint Arnold Starts New Quarterly Beer Series
The Icon series will be quarterly releases, rotating in style and not necessarily tied to the season, with new label art. On December 10, the brewery will release Icon Red, a Belgian pale ale, to the Houston market, followed by draft, then package release to the rest of the state and Louisiana. Icon Blue, a Cascadian dark ale, is scheduled for March, followed by Green in June and Gold in September. It will be available on draft and in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles priced about the same as a regular Saint Arnold six-pack.
To learn more about it as well as the kitchen under development, and to dig up a little info about the next Divine Reserve release, I talked with founder Brock Wagner.
So tell me about the Icon series. I've read that it's been in the works since 2006. What's the idea for the series, and what led to it coming about now?
This is something we started thinking about several years ago. Basically we enjoy developing beer. It's one of the most fun things we do. But we also have to come up with some kind of avenue to release it. You can't just keep adding beers to your portfolio. You're not going to get unlimited shelf space.
Divine Reserve allowed us to do some of that beer developing on the high-alcohol end, big beers, but it wasn't set up in a way to do beers in the 4- to 6-percent range. Our original thought with the Icon series was to make very traditional beers, kind of the icons of that style. As we got into it, we couldn't help tweaking, playing with them and being creative. We have never been beholden to style guidelines. All I care about is it tastes great. I don't care if fits an existing style guide. We developed the artwork back in 2006. The problem was, at the old brewery we didn't have the capacity to make another beer. We were having a tough time keeping up with sales of our existing beers. You never sit around projecting 25 percent growth every year for a bunch of years unless you've been smoking something.
|Saint Arnold Brewing founder Brock Wagner|
So it's Red, then Blue, then Green and Gold. Do you know what Green and Gold will be?
We don't know yet.
How will the supply compare to Divine Reserve? Can you give me an idea of how much will be out, say in barrels? Is it a single batch coming out on a single date, or multiple batches?
We did two tanks of Divine Reserve 12. But they're not full tanks because the way Divine Reserve works, there are low yields because the beer is so big. I think we did 390 barrels for the last Divine Reserve. Let's see, we're going to release at 120 barrels, then do two 240s ... I think it will be about 720 to maybe as much as 840 barrels.