Trailblazing microcanner enjoys fifth year of uncanny growth
(Lyons, Colorado) — Oskar Blues Brewery enjoyed its fifth straight year of significant growth, increasing its beer production by 51% in 2007.
The company — the nation’s first hand-canning craftbrewery and makers of canned Dale’s Pale Ale, Old Chub Scottish Style Ale, Gordon, and Ten FIDY Imperial Stout — produced 12,409 barrels of beer in 2007. The brewery produced 8,219 barrels in 2006. (A barrel of beer equals 31 gallons.)
Oskar Blues Brewery’s revenues grew from $1.7 million to $2.82 million.
The growth makes the company a growth leader among the nation’s craft brewery trade, which enjoyed overall production growth in the first half of 2007 of 11%.
Our little joke,” says Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis, “has turned into something truly amazing. We’re having a ball, we’re making people happy, and we’ve changed the way craft beer lovers perceive canned beer.
“We’ve also made it much easier for people to take great beer outdoors,” Katechis adds. “All while bringing the most environmentally friendly and best freshness-keeping package into the craft beer world.”
The company’s 2007 growth was aided by its expansion into new markets. Last year Oskar Blues added distributors in Florida, Maryland, Washington, D. C., Connecticut and Rhode Island.
To meet demand for its beers, Oskar Blues is building a new 35,000-square-feet brewery in Longmont, Colorado. The brewery will brew and package all of Oskar Blues Brewery’s canned beers. The brewery’s initial annual capacity is 30,000 barrels, and it can be expanded further with additional tanks. Oskar Blues expects to begin producing beer at its new brewery in March of this year.
The Lyons brewery will continue to produce beers for the company’s famed brewpub/music venue there, and will enable Oskar Blues to expand the house beer lineup.
Oskar Blues began canning its beers (two cans at a time on a table-top machine) in November of 2002.
The company’s flagship, Dale’s Pale Ale, is the nation’s first hand-canned craft beer. A robust American pale ale (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, and three “Top-Five American Pale/Amber Ale honors from Ratebeer.com.
Old Chub Scottish Style Ale is a semi-sweet Scotch strong ale of 8% ABV that’s brewed with 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 IBUs) 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 in 2002. The beer has earned glowing reviews from All About Beer Magazine and other beer publications, and consumer reviewers at beeradvocate.com and Ratebeer.com.
In October of 2007, Oskar Blues released a fourth canned beer, Ten FIDY Imperial Stout. Ten FIDY is an immensely viscous and richly roasted ultra-stout of about 10% ABV, with 98 IBUs and mountains of roasted malty goodness. Its many honors include “Beer of the Year” from the Denver Post, and glowing reviews from Beeradvocate Magazine and Celebrator Beer News.
Oskar Blues Brewery’s beers are now canned five cans at a time on equipment from Cask Brewing Systems of Alberta, Canada. About two dozen US microbreweries now brew and can their own beer on this equipment. The company’s beers are now available in CO, AZ, ID, WA, NM, GA, VA, NJ, PA, MA, NY, WI, RI, CT, MD, NC, FL and (starting this month) South Carolina.
Oskar Blues Brewery is located in Lyons, Colorado, a small mountain town 18 miles northwest of Boulder, Colorado. The brewpub and music venue was opened in 1997 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.