PRAIRIE STREET BREWING COMPANY LAUNCHES CANNED BEER, FIRST IN DECADES IN ROCKFORD, IL, PLANS KICK-OFF PARTY MAY 14
Friday, May 11, 2018, Rockford, Illinois; Just two years after launching a new name and brand identity, and riding a dramatic wave of success, Prairie Street Brewing Company announced the launch of its first canned beers for off-site sales: Feather Eye Rye, a tasty rye IPA, and a fruit-enhanced Kölsch called Berry River Roll.
“This is the first time beer has been packaged in this building for many decades,” said Reed Sjostrom, co-founder and head of brewery operations.
Prairie Street Brewing Co is housed in an historic brick building built by Jonathan Peacock, an English brewer who immigrated to the United States and first brewed beer in Rockford in 1849.
“It’s kind of surreal, really, drinking beer you helped make out of a can. We’re excited about this and we hope it makes a few customers happy along the way, too,” he said smiling.
Sjostrom says the move to distributing beer to off-premise locations such as regional grocery stores, liquor stores, restaurants and bars is a natural part of the company’s growth. And, the brewery has, indeed, been on a roll for several years. It sold 1098 barrels of beer in 2015; 1160 in 2016 and 1250 in 2017.
“We will add another 400 – 500 barrels in 2018,” he said, confidently. “It’s all part of our desire to bring our brews to more people in the region, wherever they are. We want Prairie Street Brewing Co to be known as ‘Rockford’s hometown beer.’”
“We developed Berry River Roll in summertime when the docks were opening. We wanted to make a classic summer beer: something refreshing and crushable. Berry River Roll is perfect for sitting on a boat, on a lawn chair, on a dock … and just watching the river roll by. It’s all-natural; we put blackberries and blueberries in the press and dump the juice in the tank. That’s it. No additives, no sweeteners. So, don’t be too surprised if you get a little fleck of fruit in your beer. It’s a bonus! But, this is not an overpowering, fruit-forward beer. It has a very clean finish that just makes you want another one.”
The second canned style, Feather Eye Rye, is a truly unique twist on a very popular style in the challenging modern world of craft brewing.
“IPAs are super popular, of course,” Sjostrom observed. “So, we wanted one of our first canned styles to be an IPA. But, we didn’t want to do just any IPA. Feather Eye Rye really showcases the ability of our brewers to make complex beers. It shines up front with rye spice and a little fruit, then moves on to a velvety medium body in the middle and finishes with citrus, pine, and tropical and herbal notes. Feather Eye Ryeis a product of our experimental Pilot Series and we could not be prouder of it. The judges at tastings.com loved it, too. It won a 92 point Gold Medal this year.”
On the day of Prairie Street Brewing Co’s first canning operation, Head Brewer Steve Lenox was feeling proud, as well. Anyone would, he said, but his pride was mixed with a little professional consternation.
“On canning day, I was busy making sure the beer was perfectly conditioned for canning,” said Lenox. “I wanted to make sure it wasn’t foaming too much, that it was properly carbonated and that it didn’t have too much dissolved oxygen. Those things can really make a good beer go bad in a can – and I want our six pack customers to enjoy the same quality beer they would here at the brewery. After it was all said and done? I was very happy. Very proud.”
Monday, May 14 from 5:00pm until 8:00 p.m., Prairie Street Brewing Co will host a Can Launch Party on the docks. Join brewery founders Reed Sjostrom, Chris Manuel and Dustin Koch and brewers Steve Lenox, Dave Hertzing and Shawn “Skippy” Steiner and the whole Prairie Street team to celebrate the canned release of Berry River Roll and Feather Eye Rye.
The party will feature live music, t-shirt printing, raffle giveaways, an opportunity to talk about beer with the brewers and, of course, a chance to be among the first to purchase six-packs of Berry River Roll and Feather Eye Rye. Don’t miss it!
Off-premise, Berry River Roll and Feather Eye Rye will be available in six packs at Valli Produce, Woodman’s, Cork & Keg, Artale, Everrett’s, The District, CJ’s, Woodfire and other regional locations.