There has been a lot of movement recently in the craft beer market. As more players get in, there is a constant need for innovative products and new varieties to differentiate brands. These changes have even branched out to niche drink segments such as shandy and craft cider. One of the most exciting new segments gaining traction is hard root beer.
One of the craft root beer movement’s biggest success stories thus far has been Small Town Brewery’s “Not Your Father’s Root Beer.” When tasting the signature beverage, it’s easy to see why it has been so successful. Not Your Father’s Root Beer begins like any standard beer with a base malt and hop balance; the difference here is that the brew gets a generous flavoring of root beer, including cinnamon, wintergreen, anise, vanilla and sarsaparilla bark.
In some states, sales have been limited to only 3 cases per person, as stock has been selling out by truckload. Small Town Brewery has been producing at a highly accelerated rate in attempts to keep up with demand. Because inquiring minds need to know, we visited a handful of retailers in our area to see if we could purchase a pack of the sought after suds. Every retailer anticipated the question and had the same response; currently out of stock without knowing when it would be back. One retailer was kind enough to provide further insight, telling us that Small Town Brewery and it’s distributors were holding off on restocking for the next 2-3 weeks in order to build up inventory and prevent retailers from being completely out of the product. Currently, “Not Your Father’s Root Beer” lasts about 1 hour when re-stocked.
Boston Beer company subsidiary Coney Island Brewing is one of the next in line for the hard root beer market, looking to gain a strong following out of the gate. Coney Island Hard Root Beer comes after the success of other Boston Beer funded beer alternatives such as Twisted Tea and Angry Orchard Hard Cider.
It’s hard to tell at this point if the upward trend in interest and sales will continue through the long term and build as large of a niche segment as craft ciders. One thing that we do know, is that we’re looking forward to making a boozy root beer float.