This year, the brewery has teamed up with Chiquita to use Rainforest Alliance Certified pineapple juice for a more sustainable, socially conscious and tasty beer.
Winner of the silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival, Mr. Pineapple is a refreshing and fruity traditional German Wheat Ale using two-row, white wheat, caramel and Munich malt. Fresh pineapple is added during the primary fermentation then crushed and cooled to allow the natural flavors to infuse the beer.
“Mr. Pineapple knows how to get the party started,” said Anthony Canecchia, founder and brewmaster at SanTan Brewing Company. “Working with Rexam, we created a new look for its can, something exciting that’s going to make you smile from the first sip to the last drop. We’re also very pleased to be partnering with Chiquita to improve the quality of our beer by using a premium juice that allows us to support sustainable agriculture and to be more socially responsible.”
Originally created as a signature craft beer for SanTan Brewing Company’s annual Luau celebration, Mr. Pineapple’s popularity among craft beer lovers grew rapidly in its first few years of production. To meet increasing demand, SanTan teamed up with Rexam and began canning Mr. Pineapple in 2013 – making it easily portable and ready for summertime cookouts, pool parties, beach days and other outdoor adventures. The brewery also benefits from the many other advantages aluminum cans deliver. They provide complete barrier protection from light and oxygen helping to preserve the beer’s taste and freshness longer. Cans are also light-weight, which can reduce shipping costs. And they are the most sustainable beverage package in the world, recycled at double the rate of any other option.
Claude Marbach, president, Rexam BCNA, commented on the continued partnership with SanTan Brewing Company. “We are pleased to strengthen our relationship with SanTan providing them with the perfect packaging solution for their craft beer. Our cans help attract attention on store shelves, maintain beverage integrity and deliver superior recycling, filling, distribution and retail display economics that will help the brewery continue to build its brand and business.”
Mr. Pineapple in cans is currently available at select retailers throughout Arizona, Southern California and Texas.
Albertsons continues to expand its tap-beer to-go business, this time by opening its fourth growler station in Idaho.
The Boise-based retailer now has six The Growler Station Express (GS Express) departments: four in Idaho, one in Oregon and one in Arizona.
A growing number of other retailers are also deepening their commitment to growlers.
The Growler Station, Irvine, Calif., has supplied more than 100 retailers — including supermarkets, convenience stores, liquor shops and other outlets — with growler stations in the past four years, according to VP Tony Lane.
The company had 50 new installations in 2014, including Albertsons; Meridian, Idaho-based Jackson Foods; Boise, Idaho-based WinCo Foods; and Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Lowe’s Foods.
By the end of 2015, its growler stations will be in about 200 locations.
“The reason craft beer growler programs are doing so well at stores like Albertsons, Price Chopper, M&W Market and all the other chains we partner with, is because many of the small, local craft beer companies aren’t large enough to bottle their brews. So they are only available in kegs, often direct from the breweries only,” Lane told SN. “Growlers allow craft beer drinkers to purchase smaller quantities at their local supermarkets. In return, the retailer gains loyal customers by being a convenient and exclusive supplier of a product that isn’t available in the same quantity elsewhere.”
Each retailer can brand its growler station differently. Jackson’s Food Stores, for instance, calls its station “The Beer Pump.” Lowe’s Foods has “The Beer Den” and recently hired a Den Master for each location to play barkeep.
Lane strongly suggests that supermarkets showcase their growler goods on social media sites.
“These niche consumers evolve around social media, so its best to reach out to them via Twitter feeds and Facebook fan pages,” said Lane. “Retailers can let people know what craft beer is on tap, tell them about special promotions and announce when limited editions have arrived. Usually, when people hear about limited time brews, our partnering retailers sell out right away.”
Assortment is another item to add to their agendas, he said. Most choose brews made somewhere in the same state or one nearby.
Consider Price Chopper’s Saratoga Springs, New York location. It currently offers He’brew Hopp Mama by Clifton Park, N.Y.-based Schmalz Brewing Company and Beanhead Coffee Porter by Rushing Duck Brewing Company of Chester, N.Y.
Albertsons’ Desert Ridge store in Phoenix is presently pouring Sunspot Golden Ale, Raj, Odelé Mexican Chocolate Ale and Orange Blossom Ale. Each of these is made by an Arizona-based craft beer maker, including San Tan Brewing, which markets its ales as “specifically brewed for hotter, drier climates…aka, the Southwest.”
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For the second straight year, SanTan Brewing from Chandler paired bites of artisan cheese with its ales, including a curry aged white cheddar that was splendid with my Mr. Pineapple wheat beer.
Head brewer Gabe Wilson revealed last year’s Lime Leaf Cream Ale, another fave of mine, will return for next month’s Beer & BBQ Fest in downtown Chandler.
He also says the next release in SanTan’s Vault series will be Fat Alebert, a 10.5% ABV brown ale made with smoked apples. It’ll be released in April.