Sprecher Brewing Recreates Malt Duck for the 21st Century Palate

In the 1970s and 80s, Malt Duck was a very popular adult beverage. Although it disappeared from store shelves in the 1990s, it lives on in various social media platforms including Facebook, blogs and chatrooms that recount fond memories and good times featuring Malt Duck.

Aware not only of the nostalgia for Malt Duck but also the expressed desire for its return by an ardent fan base, Sprecher Brewing Company worked closely with its distributors to see if something could be done to revive the brand.

After learning the mark had been abandoned, Sprecher registered the mark and began working on a contemporary version of Malt Duck that would pay homage to its past while appealing to contemporary taste preferences.

Sprecher’s brewmaster, Craig Burge, decided to make a rendition with wide appeal that did not require added sugar. For Burge, “fruit seemed to be the logical starting point, and Concord grape quickly emerged as the best choice to create the balance of flavors we wanted.”


Sprecher president Jeff Hamilton sampled several diverse focus groups and found that Burge’s blend of premium beer and Concord grapes appealed to a large majority in all drinking-age groups, including those with nostalgic memories of Malt Duck and those who had never tried it.

Overwhelmingly, the tasters noted that they enjoyed how the Malt Duck started sweet and finished dry, “a bit like a wine; a bit like a beer.” Some were reminded of Cold Duck. Those apprehensive that the beverage would be too sweet found just the opposite. Most deemed it “tantalizing.”

Best enjoyed when cold, Malt Duck is 5.9% ABV. Packaged in 12 ounce bottles and six-packs, it will be available in stores and bars throughout Wisconsin starting mid-October, with future rollouts to additional states planned.

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