Thursday, January 10, 2013

Festival Foods in Oshkosh Gets its Beer On

Here’s a welcome surprise: yesterday morning I walked into the liquor bin at Festival Foods in Oshkosh to find them tearing the beer department apart. Three guys were going through the “specialty” beer aisle and pulling out the stock in preparation for a new beer mix. Things were in disarray when I was there, but I was able to sift through the stacks waiting to be shelved and found a lot there that hasn’t previously been sold in Oshkosh on the retail side. Among the new arrivals are Weyerbacher’s Quad, Clown Shoes’ Tramp Stamp, North Coast’s Brother Thelonious, Samuel Smith's brand-spanking-new Organic Chocolate Stout, and the black king of the new recruits – Central Waters’ Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout. I’m getting half loaded just typing those names. And that’s just the start. What it boils down to is lotsa new beer with an emphasis on Belgian(Esque) brews, boozy bombers and premium four-packery. Sounds like fun to me. Plenty of us have been squawking about the lowly state of the retail beer trade here in Oshkosh. Looks like some of that bitching may have paid off.

Addendum: I went back to Festival today (Friday, January 10, 2013) and was disappointed by the final results. Most of the new beer they’ve introduced is sitting in the warming area of their “Specialty Beer” ghetto. Meanwhile, a few feet away sit boxes of Corona chilling in the cooler. I suppose they’re serving their core audience.... and that ain’t us.

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