​How Wahoowa Fills Two Portfolio Gaps for Starr Hill​

​The ability to partner with a local university was an exciting prospect for Starr Hill Brewery and VP Josh Cromwell said that the addition of Wahoowa Pale Ale this month to the company’s portfolio helps in several ways.

Beginning August 1, the Crozet, Virginia brewery released to the market a new Pale Ale in conjunction with the University of Virginia called Wahoowa Pale Ale. UVA issued a Request For Proposal earlier this year for licensed partnerships in the alcohol space.

“As the longest-tenured brewery in the Charlottesville area, it was only a natural fit to work together,” he told Brewer, adding that Starr Hill has long been involved with UVA through its locations locally, along with hiring students at its taprooms and employing many alumni throughout the years — including ownership.

Instead of rebranding a current beer in rotation, the ​brewery sought to release a new Pale Ale for the partnership, Cromwell said.

“While we have several Pale Ale recipes that we’ve made over the years — both commercially and in small batch form — we decided to develop a brand new product that would be exclusive to the UVA brand,” he explained. “This fills a gap in our portfolio for a lower-alcohol, sessionable ale to balance our IPA strength and seasonal rotational beers.”

A second reason for the beer is that it can introduce its brand to the campus and its athletic fans.

“This is a great opportunity to further connect our brand to the Charlottesville and UVA communities,” Cromwell said. “Increasing brand loyalty is a top goal for every brewery, especially commercially distributed breweries competing in a very dense marketplace.

“To be able to strengthen a connection with a large portion of our local customer base was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. Choosing a local brewery is integral to achieving the goal of ensuring that both Starr Hill and UVA maintain strong and well-respected brands — we’re very excited at this opportunity.”

Starr Hill has partnered with several academic groups in the past for projects and case studies that have been mutually beneficial as well as supporting graduate school events with beer and marketing support, Cromwell added.

Beginning August 1 Wahoowa Pale Ale ​has been made available throughout the Commonwealth, including Starr Hill’s six locations as well as in commercial distribution throughout Virginia.​ ​Wahoowa Pale Ale will be available in 12 oz cans in both 12 packs and 6 packs, as well as in 16 oz cans and draft.

While they don’t have any specific volume expectations yet, Cromwell said the focus will be on grocery and multi-outlet stores.

“We are excited locally for sales in​-​venue at UVA Athletics venues and some key local on-premise accounts,” he said. “As we continue to evolve our portfolio of brands, we are excited at the opportunity to grow our off-premise presence in Virginia during a time in which the broader beer market is continuing to face challenges from wine and spirits and derivatives like seltzers and RTDs.”

Wahoowa Pale Ale sits at 5.1% ABV and is packed with juicy, fruit-forward hop flavors while backed with a smooth malt finish.

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