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Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013

Sprecher’s Hard Root Beer Proves a Hot Seller

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For years Sprecher Brewery has heard requests from customers asking for an adult version of its signature root beer. This month the company finally obliged with the release of Sprecher’s Hard Root Beer, but it wasn’t easy. Sprecher president Jeff Hamilton said the company spent years creating the right recipe for the 5% alcohol drink.

“When you’re making beer, you’re using ingredients that make the process very easy, but when you try to replicate that process using the different ingredients in root beer, the science isn’t nearly so friendly,” he explained. The company also spent considerable time finding the right flavor profile for the drink. The recipe they settled on has considerably more complexity than most sugary malt beverages, with bold, bourbon-like flavor notes aimed squarely at the adult palette.

“We wanted a product that resembled Sprecher Root Beer, but that nobody would mistake for soda,” Hamilton says. “We use the same flavors as we do in our regular root beer, but you can also taste the alcohol and oak flavorings. To avoid any confusion with our regular root beer, the bottles look different and come in different sizes. We also only sell it in bottles, so you’re not going to get it in draft. We want to make sure only adults drink it.”

Sprecher’s Hard Root Beer debuted this month, and the early response has overwhelmed the brewery. The brewery’s gift shop sold out last week and Hamilton estimates that most liquor stores have already sold out as well. It could be awhile until there’s enough to go around.

“We were a little taken aback by how fast it’s been selling, so we’re sitting here trying to figure out a game plan to make as much of it as possible,” Hamilton says. “It’ll be another three weeks or so until there’s another batch out there, and then after that hopefully we’ll be able to produce a steady supply, because it looks like that whole next order is already spoken for. It seems like people really can’t wait to try this.”