Until the new liquor laws took effect, brewpubs could only brew 3.2 beer or four-percent alcohol by volume, but now, they’re brewing stronger beer and selling it on site.
“We’re taking our original recipes, which we know are great, and we’re making them to the strength that people are going to want to drink them at,” said Ben Birmy from Elgin Park Brewery.
Bars that serve food and brew beer on site are celebrating with new pours.
“It was originally four percent and then, for the special occasion, we bumped it up to eight percent and we had people drinking that on a Monday afternoon,” said Birmy.
“It’s really a win-win for everyone,” said Ryan Stack from Prairie Brewpub.
Prairie Brewpub is marketing its 32-ounce crawlers, filled and then sealed like a normal can.
It’s also testing small batches with a one-barrel pilot system.
“This is all new. It’s just a fun new toy for our brewer,” said Stack.
He says they’re also getting ready to roll out two new beers that will be liquor-store exclusives.
“Prairie is known for the Imperial Stouts, the big 11 to 17 percent stouts,” he said.
Grocery and convenience stores can’t sell those – they’re capped at nine percent – so liquor stores will be able to cash in on beers with higher alcohol percentages.
Brewpubs say they’ve been waiting for the opportunity to brew and pour those higher percentages.
“It’ll definitely boost business over the long run,” said Birmy.
Prairie Brewpub also says it’s expanding, adding three or four more big fermenting tanks – all because it’s expecting high demand with the liquor law changes.