Beer into Spring

Spring beers come out when we're all still wearing these.

Spring beers emerge when we’re wearing these.

If you lived in the Boston area during the first three months of 2015, you surely weren’t drinking “spring beers.” Buried in more than six feet of snow left most of us New Englanders sucking down heavy winter beers deep into the season, despite what the seasonal beer calendar said. I’m sure spring happened somewhere in the United States and I hope they enjoyed my take on the role spring seasonals play in craft brewing industry — which I wrote last fall.

Spring Forward

Brewers use spring seasonals to audition innovative beers

Winter may mean snow and ice for the northern half of the country, but in the world of seasonal craft beer, spring has begun. Typically launched in January, spring beers have the poorest sales performance of the seasonals, but brewers say that’s no reason to ignore the opportunities they offer. Craft beer producers often use spring to come up with interesting and innovative brews.

Beer drinkers have become accustomed to expecting certain products during the year. The end of summer brings pumpkin beers and malty Oktoberfest brews. Winter and the holiday season highlight darker, flavorful beers, and when the days are warm, drinkers can choose from a wide selection of lighter summer beers. But there are no expectations with spring beer styles, which may be part of the reason for sluggish sales. Craft beer sales dip during the first three months of the year, rebounding just as summer beers hit the shelves, according to Nielsen Scantrack data.

“Historically, brewers would make lighter beers in the summer and heartier ones for sustenance in the winter,” says Jennifer Glanville, brewer and manager of the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston. “They also used seasonal ingredients they had on hand, such as fruit, herbs and spices, to enhance their brews. Although nowadays we have the ability to make beers with a variety of ingredients year-round, there’s still something special about celebrating a certain time of year using seasonal ingredients.”

To read more, go to: Market Watch, “Spring Forward”

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