The Thirsty Beagle: Stone, New Belgium coming to Oklahoma

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Stone, New Belgium coming to Oklahoma

The days of Oklahoma as a craft beer flyover state appear to be numbered: both Stone Brewing Co. and New Belgium Brewing Co. will debut here in February.

That news was confirmed today as officials with Oklahoma Beer Imports revealed both brands have selected the company to handle sales and distribution for their accounts.

Consumers can expect to see several different beers from each brewer in bars and liquor stores, and possibly as early as the first week of February.

Here's what to expect to see from each -- but be aware that these offerings are subject to change:

From Stone:

-Arrogant Bastard (draft, cans)
-Delicious IPA (draft, bottles)
-Go To IPA (cans)
-Stone IPA (draft, bottles)
-Ruination IPA (draft, bottles, cans)
-Ripper Pale Ale (draft, cans)
-Wussie Pilsner (cans)
-Possible Anniversary beers

From New Belgium:

-Fat Tire (draft, bottles, cans)
-3.2 Fat Tire (bottles, possibly draft)
-Dayblazer Easygoing Ale (cans)
-Citradelic IPA (drafts, bottles)
-Voodoo Ranger IPA (draft, bottles)
-Possible seasonals

At first blush, the hardcore beer fans will spot some notable omissions (Enjoy By, Lips of Faith, etc.), but for an opening salvo, there is a lot to like as well. Any of the IPA offerings from Stone will be welcome, and Voodoo Ranger IPA (a reformulation of the hop bill in Ranger IPA) is one I'm interested in.

I also thought the 3.2 Fat Tire was interesting. That means that, yes, you will see New Belgium in the grocery store.

You should expect to see a series of pint nights and special tap takeovers to welcome both brands into the state, although such plans have not yet been finalized.

So what about the bigger picture? Why are these brands pulling the trigger on Oklahoma now? You can't help but think that the passage of State Question 792 had a profound impact on that.

In January of 2015, when Senate Bill 383 was first introduced -- then as the modest liquor store refrigeration bill -- I reached out to both Stone and New Belgium.

At that time, a New Belgium rep told me refrigeration was indeed a key consideration for them. They were watching the political landscape in Oklahoma. At the time, I wrote that it was a matter of when and not if for New Belgium.

Now, just shy of two years later, both are here. Again, is it coincidence that their plans to enter the Oklahoma market were finalized within a few weeks of Oklahomans voting in favor of alcohol law reform?

At the same time, that small sense of inevitability doesn't diminish the symbolic significance of what's happening here.

The craft beer culture in Oklahoma is growing, evolving and thriving. There's no reason our producers can't turn out sought-after beer and there's no reason the likes of Stone and New Belgium wouldn't be interested in being here.

And finally, we don't have to accept a fate of being a flyover state any longer.

7 comments:

  1. Just brought some Stone up from Texas last week. Nice to have it here.

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  3. Would love to see the Texas 903 vome up this way.

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  4. Come on Ballast Point, Surly, Jackie-O's, Tree House and Cigar City just to name a few...

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  5. Kiltlifter from Tempe Az. would be a welcome addition to our beer landscape. Don't know if this is available out of Arizona market.

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  6. So question: Will they be dropping their refrigeration requirement? As I understand it, we won't see any of the new laws go into effect until October 2018. That means they won't get refrigeration till then for anything other than their 3.2 Fat Tire (which I won't touch).

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  7. Zach, the "refrigeration requirement" is bogus. You can go to any state where New Belgium and/or Stone beers are currently sold and see it sitting on a floor. If you want to know why we will soon see their products in Oklahoma just Google either company's name along with the word "expansion." The more they make the more they have to sell.

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