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Inside Beer (Jan 16th, 2020)

1. There are four new no- or low-alcohol beers in AB InBev's portfolio. Drinkers who want healthier options and lower ABVs can now choose from the following: Goose Island's So-Lo (3 percent ABV; 98 calories), Four Peaks Brewing's Gilt Lifter (3.4 ABV and keto-friendly), Breckinridge Brewery's Resolution Blueberry Acai Golden Ale (3.5 percent ABV and infused with electrolytes), and Gold Road Brewing's Mango Cart Non-Alcoholic Wheat Ale (which contains less than 0.5 percent ABV). Something else to take note of in this piece: the no- and low-alcoholic beer category is now big enough to have its own acronym: NABLAB. (The acronym seems to have been around for a couple of years now, but it's the first I've become aware of it! ) -- ADWEEK

2. Pabst Brewing Company is launching Captain Pabst, a craft beer brand. Its first beer will be Seabird IPA, Captain Pabst's flagship. The beer is brewed with Magnum, Citra, Cascade and Mosaic hops and has a 4.5 percent ABV and 45 IBUs. The craft beer brand is named for Frederick Pabst, who was a ship captain, and the beer is named after one of his ships. Pabst is also renaming its Milwaukee taproom and innovation brewery as Captain Pabst's Pilot House with a grand opening on March 28. Seabird IPA is currently available in Wisconsin and Illinois. -- BREWBOUND

3. Oregon’s craft beverage industry is highlighting its refillable bottle program. The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC) offers BottleDrop Refillable bottles, glass bottles that can be washed and refilled up to 25 times. These aren't growlers that consumers bring in to be filled from a tap; they're bottles the producers use to package beer. In order to be refilled, they need to be returned by consumers. Buoy Beer Co., Double Mountain Brewery, Worthy Brewing Co., Coopers Hall Winery and Gigantic Brewing Co. will also hold 10 days of bottle releases, in which they will offer specialty draft options while educating the public about sustainable packaging starting on Jan. 17 at Portland's Function space. -- CRAFT BREWING BUSINESS

4. Beer sales have dropped significantly right outside Utah's borders now that the state allows grocery and convenience stores to sell beer above 5 percent ABV. In Evanston, WY, Malad, ID, West Wendover, NV, and Dove Creek, CO, sales of beer at outlets have dropped 20 to 30 percent since Utah's new law went into effect on Nov. 1, 2019. Although it was technically illegal to cross state lines with beer purchased in another state, many of Utah's residents did it regularly. The store owners in bordering states did not anticipate being struck so hard by the loss of those customers. -- THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

5. Seltzer, Pennsylvania – which has a population of about 300 – is getting newfound attention as “the unofficial spokes-town for Bud Light Seltzer.”  Bud Light donated $15,000 to the local Seltzer Hose Company, which will be used to buy new fire-fighting equipment and turnout gear for volunteers. Other than that, Seltzer has no relationship with Bud Light or with seltzer - no seltzer of any kind is made in the small town. It does, however, have a geographic relationship with Yuengling Brewery, a few miles away from Seltzer. Yuengling who doesn't make a seltzer is taking it all in fun, replying to Bud Light's Instagram announcement back in December that "Bud Light Seltzer arrived in Seltzer" with a simple "Get off my lawn." -- PA POST

6. Kendall Jones argues more craft breweries should produce hard seltzer. This is because, according to Jones, it's easy, quick and cheap to make, and craft breweries can make better tasting seltzer than the mass-market versions. Most importantly, though, is that the seltzer may get more people through a brewery's doors. -- WASHINGTON BEER BLOG

7. Missouri's Trailhead Brewing Co. has sold to independent craft brewery Schlafly Beer. Trailhead's owner Bob Kirkwood decided it was time to retire after 25 years. Kirkwood and his partners made sure to sell the brewery to "a suitable buyer that would continue to brew quality beer" and "contribute the same positive experience to the customer and value the current staff." Schlafly is opening a brewpub in the location that will maintain Trailhead's character and charm. -- KMOV

8. Big beer's latest marketing gimmick is Busch's $1 per beer rebate for every inch of snow that falls in Minneapolis. The Busch Snow Day rebate is available in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, Nebraska and New York. Official snowfall tallies will be determined by NOAA Climate Data Online and will be rounded up to the nearest inch. The maximum rebate for any one person is $30. -- KARE

9. Enrollment is now open for the American Homebrewers Association's National Homebrew Competition, the largest of its kind in the country. The deadline for completing the enrollment application is January 22. Those who enroll and are accepted will be notified by February 14. -- HOMEBREWERS ASSOCIATION 

10. Goose Island is releasing Sofie in cans. The wine barrel-aged, Belgian-style farmhouse ale has been released in four-packs of 12 oz bottles and 765ml bottles in the past. The release date for the cans has not been announced, but the Chicago-based brewery has filed the labels for the cans with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). -- TENEMU

Robin Shreeves is a wine, beer, spirits and travel writer. She's the wine columnist and restaurant and beverage features writer for the Courier Post newspaper in New Jersey. She holds an Intermediate Sommelier certification from the Wine School of Philadelphia. Her food and drinks writing can be found at Wine Enthusiast, VinePair, Food Network, Spirited magazine, USA Today, Mother Nature Network, Drink Nation, Edible Philly and Edible Jersey. Visit her website and follow her on Instagram at @rshreeves

Editor: Sheena Vasani, staff writer at Inside.

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