Sampler Packs Taking over the World of Craft Beer

Once upon a time, it was pretty standard to buy a 6-pack or 12-pack of your favorite brew at the grocery or liquor store. You might have snagged a 6-pack of Guinness or Heineken, or gone the craft brew route with something from Sweetwater or New Belgium, Sierra Nevada or Redhook. However, things are changing in the way that beers are sold, at least for companies with several popular brews on offer. This is particularly true with craft brews, too. The change is the advent of the sampler pack. Perhaps owing to the popularity of sampler packs and trays in the restaurant business, beer brewers are looking to cash in with these mixed up packages and it seems to be working.

Quite a few breweries have sampler packs available. Most offer them seasonally, but some have decided to take the plunge and offer them year round. One of the most anticipated is the new Sam Adams sampler pack released in May. Called Latitude 48, this offers something a bit different from the norm – no surprise for fans of Sam Adams. The 12-pack contains a standard India pale ale, but two bottles have different hops from the 48th parallel. Another offering within the sampler has all five types of hops grown on the 48th. Of course, it’s a seasonal offering and will only be available through the end of June.

Sierra Nevada has also gotten into the sampler pack trend and is offering a 12-pack based on their Beer Camp training camp, appropriately named The Best of Beer Camp. For those not in the know, Beer Camp allows invitees to create their own recipes for beers, and this pack features the very best of what came from that effort. On offer in the 12-pack, beer lovers will find a double IPA, a weizenbock, though Juniper Black Ale and California Common will also be included.

Quite a few other breweries release sampler packs regularly as well. You’ll find some of the big names in the industry taking this path – Modelo offers a good sampler, as does Leinenkugel. If you’re after seasonal samplers from small breweries though, you’ll need to be quick to grab them up if you spot them. They’re pretty limited and certainly not available in all areas of the country. Like all good things, they’ll come to an end all too soon, so get them while you can.

Posted on June 11, 2011 .