What Fulton Plans to Try With New Release

Ryan Petz is “eager” to see what the outcome of Fulton Beer‘s New England IPA release will be. The Minneapolis brewery — Which currently distributes to ​nine states along with its home state of Minnesota — is broadening its reach for Specter with a national release on November 1.

​”We knew that Specter — perhaps more so than any other beer we’ve brewed to date — had the potential to resonate with beer enthusiasts far beyond our home market,” said Petz, who is the brewery’s CEO and co-founder. “The beer itself, the story behind it, and even the packaging stand apart from the rest of our brands.”

The brewery is doing this release with the Artisanal Imports team. Petz said Artisanal had expressed interest in broadening Fulton’s availability after the brewery had a successful initial release of Specter last year.

Putz noted that the brewery asked Artisanal to survey the beer-selling customers to see who would want it.​

“It’s very gratifying to me when good work and good beer intersect,” said Lanny Hoff, Artisanal Imports SVP-Brands Manager in a release. “If it was nothing more than a great beer Specter would be a pleasure to sell, but that it brings visibility to a critical issue makes it all that more satisfying. My hat is off to the Fulton crew on this one!”

​Putz said the brewery is, “eager to see how the sales data comes in on this launch, because it’s so different than any launch we’ve done before.”

A successful launch won’t necessarily lead to Fulton into fully expanding into more territories, though.

“We’re just looking to find the right beer for the right time and place, and for customers willing to look at a different model of selling beer,” Putz explained. “Time will tell exactly what that means.”

The logistics behind this release are different than most of ​the brewery’s releases.

“We’re working on a much longer lead time than with a typical release due to how we’re pre-selling the beer, and as a result there are bigger question marks in our production schedule,” Putz said. “And the shipping logistics are different of course. The good news is once all that’s figured out, brewing and packaging the beer is the same.”

In 2016, Fulton lost one of its family members, Greg Sincheff, to depression. To honor Greg’s memory, the brewery released a NE-style IPA that bore his nickname, “Grog.” One dollar from each pint of Grog sold at the taproom was donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

In 2017, the beer first known as Grog returned as “Specter.” The word specter is defined as “a visible incorporeal spirit, ghost, phantom or apparition.” The name is intended to continue honoring Greg’s memory and help his spirit remain visible. It is also an opportunity for Fulton to bring awareness to mental health issues and suicide prevention. And thus, this year Fulton will donate $1 for every pint of Specter sold at the taproom to the AFSP.

The artwork on the can is inspired by the “sugar skull” commonly associated with the Day of the Dead, also known as Día de Muertos. The holiday is observed each year on Nov. 1 to honor loved ones who have died. Fulton first used the sugar skull image in its taproom to mark the “Death of the Growler” in September 2016, when the brewery grew too big to continue selling growlers under state law. They brought back the sugar skull for Specter, as the day of Greg’s death coincides with this day of remembrance of the dead.

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