Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fox River Brewing Extends Its Reach

Amid the talk of new breweries being planned for Oshkosh, the city’s only operational brewery is gradually expanding its presence here. For the first time since the late 1990s, six-packs of Fox River Brewing Company beer are on store shelves in Oshkosh.

The picture here was taken last week at the Oshkosh Festival Foods store. Festival is selling sixers Fox River’s BLÜ Bobber, a blueberry flavored fruit beer; and 2 Dams, a blonde ale. The six- packs at Festival are priced at $7.99.  

Both beers are part of Fox River’s Bago Brew Collection, which now includes four beers. The Bago Brews not available at Festival are the more robust beers of the quartet. Neither Marble Eye, a 6.2% ABV Scotch Ale formerly known as Caber Tossing; nor Crooked Dock, a 6.2% ABV American Pale Ale are being sold at Festival. At the moment, the store is only stocking the lower alcohol, lighter bodied beers.

We’ve seen Fox River beers showing up on draft in Oshkosh for the past few months as part of the distribution plan the brewery initiated last year. Retail sales of bottled beer is the other piece of the plan. Earlier this year, Fox River installed a new bottling line at its Appleton brewpub. The bottled beer we’re seeing in Oshkosh is from that line.

The increased activity at Fox River Brewing last year didn’t translate into a substantial increase in output. In 2014, Fox River Brewing produced 1,334 barrels of beer (672 bbls in Oshkosh, 662 bbls in Appleton). That’s just 15 barrels more than the brewery produced in 2013.

Early numbers for this year, however, show production increasing. And the overall trend is significant. Since 2011, Fox River Brewing has increased its output by 25%. With the brewery’s beer now flowing well beyond its brewpubs, those numbers ought to continue to rise.

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