Microcanner’s production also grows by 64% in fourth year of growth
(Lyons, Colorado) — Oskar Blues Brewery enjoyed its fourth straight year of significant growth, increasing its revenues 121% and its beer production by 64%.
The company — the nation’s first hand-canning craftbrewery and makers of canned Dale’s Pale Ale, Old Chub Scottish-Style Ale, Gordon and other canned and draft beers — produced 8219 barrels of beer in 2006. In 2005 the company produced 5000 barrels. (A barrel of beer equals 31 gallons.)
Oskar Blues Brewery’s revenues grew from $787,000 to $1.7 million.
The growth makes the company a growth leader among the nation’s craft brewery trade, which enjoyed overall production growth in 2006 of 11.7%.
We started our Canned Beer Apocalypse as something ofa joke,” says Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis. “We wanted to make people laugh, give them a delicious beer in more portable package, and take the shame out of drinking canned beer.
Four years later,” Katechis says, “we’re still having a ball, and we’re amazed that so many people have the guts to buy great beer in cans.
Katechis says in-state sales created the bulk of his company’s growth. “We had a 100% increase in sales in Colorado,” Katechis says, “and that really fueled our machine last year.”
That 2006 growth was also aided by the company’s expansion into new markets. Last year Oskar Blues added distributors in Massachusetts, New York, Idaho and Wisconsin. Oskar Blues added Florida to its list of states in February. In March the brewery’s hand-canned and draft beers will be for sale in Washington, D. C., Maryland, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
To help meet demand in all of its markets, Oskar Blues is expanding its brewery in March. The craft brewery will replace four 60-barrel fermenters with four new 120-barrel fermenters, to double its brewing capacity.
This will be Oskar Blues’ fourth brewery expansion since it began hand canning its beers (two cans at a time on a table top machine) in November of 2002.
Last year Oskar Blues Brewery’s sales grew by 92%. The growth made the company the largest-producing brewpub in the US, and one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in America.
The company’s flagship, Dale’s Pale Ale, is the nation’s first hand-canned craft beer. A robust American pale ale (with 6.5% abv and 65 International Bittering Units) its honors include Top American Pale Ale from the New York Times, Top Colorado-Brewed Beer from the Rocky Mountain News, World’s Best Canned Beer from Details magazine, three Top-Five American Pale/Amber Ale awards from Ratebeer.com, and gold and silver medals in the Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival.
Old Chub Scottish Style Ale is a semi-sweet Scotch strong ale of 8% abv, that’s brewed with hearty amounts of five different malts (including beechwood-smoked malts from Germany). Old Chub has won rave reviews from the Wall Street Journal, Celebrator Beer News, All About Beer, Alestreet News and consumer reviewers at Beeradvocate.com and Ratebeer.com.
Gordon (8.7% abv, 85 International Bittering Units) is a hybrid strong ale made with six different malts, three types of hops, and a massive dry-hop addition. The “Velvet M-80” is brewed in honor of the late Gordon Knight, a Colorado craft beer pioneer who died fighting a wild fire outside of Lyons, Colorado in 2002. The beer has earned glowing reviews from All About Beer Magazine, and consumer reviewers at Beeradvocate.com and Ratebeer.com.
About two dozen US microbreweries now brew and can their own beer. Oskar Blues’ beers are now canned five cans at a time on equipment from Cask Brewing Systems in Alberta, Canada. The beers are now available in CO, AZ, ID, WA, NM, GA, VA, NJ, PA, MA, NY, WI and FL.
Oskar Blues Brewery is located in Lyons, Colorado (pop.1500), a small mountain town 18 miles northwest of Boulder, Colorado. The brewpub and music venue was opened in 1996 by Katechis and his wife, Christi Katechis.
The brewpub’s intimate music room hosts the best national and local blues, Americana, alternative-country, bluegrass and jam acts.
Dave Chichura is the head brewer for Oskar Blues Brewery.