West Sixth Brewery Launches Seasonal

west sixth brewery christmas ale

west sixth brewery christmas aleOn November 19, 2013 West Sixth Brewing Company in Lexington, Ky. updated its website and announced the future release of its Christmas Ale, the brewery’s first seasonal and, in cans.

West Sixth has made an effort to only distribute in cans and kegs. It was important for the brewery to discover how to distribute small batches in cans before it made the move to distribute its Christmas Ale.

“We announced we were going to do it, we’d kinda been working on for a few months before, but it was a super limited release,” said Ben Self, the co-founder of West Sixth Brewing. “We only canned about 450-500 cases of it.”

As a first attempt at a canned seasonal beer, Self believed it went over really well. However, “really well” may be an understatement. The minimal supply was completely sold out within a few days of its release.

“We’ve been placing the importance on the benefits of canning from the very beginning, and we’re really sold on the benefits,” explained Self. “The challenges with that is when you typically order a batch of cans, unlike a bottle where you can just slap a different label on it, you really have to order a large number of those cans to start. We wanted to try and figure out a way where we could do some sort of a limited release.”

West Sixth under went this process of learning how they could release a wrapped can to be able to distribute more small batches to the public. “Christmas Ale is something we really wanted to do early on,” said Self. “We were really excited about this beer that we had been working on and we’d be working on house batches and wanted to share it with lots of folks.”

Self and the team have been working on the Christmas Ale in small batches as house ales and in the backrooms before they decided they had the recipe right for release. “It’s a little higher gravity, and complicated spices, so it was a fun one to put together,” he said.

Out of all the research Self had performed leading up to the release of Christmas Ale he could only find one or two other breweries that released seasonal batches in cans. “We wanted to do something that was a little on the darker side, a little higher gravity (9%ABV), all those different things,” he said.

Since discovering how to overcome small batches in cans, with the wrapping can system, West Sixth is gearing up for more small batch and seasonal releases throughout 2014. “We certainly hope to have a few more beers available in cans,” said Self. “I think we are going to do some more full-time releases, as well as some more seasonals. I think at the end of the year we’ll bring the Christmas Ale back, hopefully in a little bit higher volume so that it doesn’t sell out in just a couple of days.”

 

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