Mamma Mia! Pizza and beer come together
Pizza-flavored beer hits the shelves of liquor stores in Peoria
PEORIA – Now instead of having a beer with your pizza, you can have pizza beer.
Promoted as the world’s first culinary beer, Mamma Mia Pizza Beer is now available in Peoria. The craft beer was developed by Tom Seefurth, a St. Charles real estate agent who decided to sell beer rather than houses after the housing market took a dive.
“I spent a year refining the recipe. I figured it was a crazy enough idea that it might work,” said Seefurth, who started home brewing 10 years ago. The unique recipe of ale blended with oregano, basil, tomato and garlic appeared to be the natural blend of beer and food, he said.
Seefurth chose pizza-crazy Chicago to test market his brew. The results were encouraging. “Everybody wanted to try it,” he said. After lining up the Sprecher Brewing Co., located near Milwaukee, to produce the unique beverage, Seefurth hit the marketing trail.
“We started brewing in February and lined up distributors in the Chicago area. Then we got calls from people in the Milwaukee market asking if they could sell our beer,” he said.
Peoria is the latest Midwestern market to join the pizza beer fold, said Seefurth, who promotes his brand with personal appearances as Chef Tom and Mamma Mia (wife Athena). “We’ve done several cooking segments on area TV shows,” he said.
Food is a big part of pizza beer’s appeal, said Seefurth. Recipes and cooking tips also are available at the pizzabeer.net Web site.
Pizza beer should start showing up this week on the shelves of a number of area liquor stores, including Friar Tuck’s and Super Liquors outlets, said Steve King, owner of Specialty Distributing Co., a Peoria distributor of select import and craft brands.
“It’s a novelty product, but it actually tastes pretty good,” said King, noting that a 16.9 ounce bottle of Pizza Beer retails for $2.49.
Craft beers – little known brands made in limited batches – have taken off in popularity, he said. “We’re selling a whole lot more than we did 10 years ago,” said King.
Some of the more popular craft beers include some made by Colorado’s Boulder Brewing Co., Pyramid Snow Cap from Seattle and Dog Fish, a Delaware brew that sells for $8.99 per 12-ounce bottle, he said. “People are just clawing at it. Our annual allocation of Dog Fish is just 10 cases,” said King.
“It’s all about quality. People want to sit at home and enjoy a beer with dinner. People want quality and are willing to pay for it,” he said.