Some good news this morning for fans of fruit beers, fruit sours, regular sours, and Portland, Oregon. Multiple sources have let us know that Cascade Brewing, "a pioneer of the NW style sour beer movement," will arrive in our market next month.
For the unfamiliar, Cascade's beers tend to focus on adding the Pacific Northwest's fruit bounty to excellent sours aged in wine or spirits barrels. Although they also brew IPAs and the occasional other style, initial reports are that the DC market will only see fruit beers like Apricot, Kriek, Sang Noir, and Strawberry to start, and only in 750 mL bottles, not on draft.
Cascade will be distributed through Kysela Pere et Fils, though neither contacts at Kysela nor Cascade could be reached for comment at the time of this post. We'll update if we'll hear more.
While it's certainly exciting that (another) well-regarded brewery is entering our market from out of town, keep in mind that the privilege of drinking these beers will be pricey. If the bottles are somewhere around $20-25 wholesale (a bit higher than comparable high-end domestic craft and imports), beer directors would have to price a 750mL at $80 to run their typical 25% cost. It's exceedingly unlikely that most bars and restaurants would charge that much; there's an upper bound to how much the public will realistically pay for any beer. Furthermore, the bars and restaurants who would pursue these bottles at this cost (and get an allocation of them) understand the need to eat into their margin in order to sell high-priced beers for a realistic cost. If I had to personally guess, I would put the price of 750s to consumers somewhere between $45-60, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it push even higher in some cases.
Be on the lookout for these beers, coming to a bottle list near you, sometime in April.
Have any favorite Cascade offerings? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!
UPDATE: Statement below from Cascade:
Cascade is thrilled to be coming to DC, as well as Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia via Kysela Pere et Fils, LTD. The distribution deal comes on the heels of a number of others across the nation, as well as abroad.
According to Cascade founder Art Larrance, “We’ve been working for 10 years to get to the point where we can supply sour beers to a worldwide market, and we’ve finally arrived at that place. We’re pleased to partner with distributors like Kysela who will support Cascade and elevate sour beers in their market.”
Cascade Brewing is known for its award-winning Northwest sour ales that feature a clean, lactic acid profile produced by a house culture of lactobacillus bacteria. The beers frequently rely on the use of fresh ingredients grown exclusively in the Pacific Northwest, including as cherries, apricots, berries and grapes. Its blending house currently holds more than 1,400 French oak, Kentucky Bourbon and Northwest wine barrels – plus nine foudres (a Flemish word meaning huge oak barrel).
According to our director of sales, Edwin Johnson, we are going into the D.C. market a little light, just because we don’t want to choke the market. Once we figure out a good par level, there shouldn’t be a shortage. However, we do reccomend sour lovers buy the bottles when they see them, as we make these beers only once a year, and once they are gone, they’re gone until the next season’s release.