What’s Old Is New Again – The Mixed Pack
A great way to introduce new craft beer drinkers to a wide variety of beers is to present the mixed pack of beers. I recall as a young man picking up the Saranac Winter Mixed pack, and being amazed at all the different styles of beer that existed, perfectly packed in a 12 pack box.
As I became more savvy and familiar with national craft beer brands, I did take notice that many of these mixed packs featured beers I’ve had plenty of before, and wasn’t interested in consuming, but was stuck with it due to it being included into the pack. As the years have gone by, and even today, many craft brewers stuff a few well established beers into a mixed pack of otherwise new or seasonal beers. Let’s take a look at a few examples right now.
Samuel Adams Winter Favorites
You have most likely encountered the Samuel Adams Winter Favorites mixed 12 pack. It shows up at holiday parties, or a loved one thinks of you while they are at the grocery store and brings a box home. Chocolate Bock sounds delicious, and Old Fezziwig has been a favorite for over two decades and only comes out in the mixed pack. But oh man, Boston Lager? Are you serious? Great choice at the airport bar, but not exactly my winter favorite. My conclusion is that this is Boston Beers way of introducing a very popular, easy to get, safe beer to a large group of people that have never had a craft beer before.
Arrogant Bastard Box
This month, Stone has bottled Bourbon Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard Ale in 22 oz. bottles. Want to try it? You’ll have to buy the Arrogant Bastard Box. Even though you have tried Arrogant Bastard Ale, Double Bastard Ale and Lukcy Basartd Ale, you will have to buy the box to get a crack at the Bourbon Barrel Aged variant. This is less groan inducing as the others mentioned because you can do a fun Bastard side-by-side tasting. My conclusion is that the larger retailers like Costco and the like have a hard time selling big beers like Double Bastard on their own, but a gift pack with a new beer in it catches the attention of even the most savvy beer drinking veterans.
Sierra Nevada Snow Pack
Sierra Nevada started doing mixed packs earlier this year with the IPA Variety Pack, The Beer Camp pack, and Fall Pack. Much like Sam Adam’s sneaky sneaky inclusion of Boston Lager, Sierra Nevada slips in some very mature brands into their otherwise fresh mixed packs. This year, they have debuted the Snow Pack, and unlike Sam, who slips in one mature core brand beer, Sierra Nevada put in their flagship Pale Ale and their oft forgotten Porter. While I can see them putting in Pale Ale for comfort or nostalgia, I think Porter was put in the pack to see if there is still life in that brand or that if it sparks a new relationship with a new generation of beer drinkers. Seemed like a no-brainer to have Celebration Fresh Hop IPA in this mix, but there was probably good reason to put SNPA and Porter in the box instead.
Turn a positive into a negative. Rekindle an old relationship with yourself and that beer you would have otherwise passed on, or regift it to a friend who likely hasn’t tried the beer you are more than familiar with.