Falls City Beer unveils new product line, re-branded look

Falls City beer lineup

Surrounded by case after case of Falls City Beer, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer proclaimed March 1 as “Falls City Beer Day” in recognition of the brand’s new product line and look. The announcement was made a press conference at the brewery in Portland.

The announcement includes two new immediate releases in Kentucky Common and Easy Goer Session IPA, as well as three other new seasonals that will be sold in bottles and taps: Heather Ale, which will be available in late winter; Harvest Ale, available in the fall; and Red Rye Lager, available near the end of the year. In addition, Falls City representatives introduced redesigned packaging.

Fischer talked of his youth growing up in Louisville when Falls City was still a widely available beer. The original Falls City was founded in 1905 in response to a local monopoly on brewing, but it folded in 1978 following the failed release of Billy Beer. In 2010, it was revived by a local businessman, and last year was sold to a group of investors who also owns Old 502 Winery and Over the 9, a restaurant in the brewery/winery complex at 120 S. 10th St.

Kentucky Common is a beer style that is indigenous to Louisville and was being brewed here by the mid- to late-1800s. A dark, cream beer, it was a cheap and fast beverage to produce and take to market. It also was easy to drink and contained low alcohol, making it a favorite in Louisville’s taverns. It is estimated that about 80 percent of beer-drinking Louisvillians prior to Prohibition drank what became known as “common beer” or “komon beer.”

Falls City FischerFischer called it “a real milestone” that Falls City is rolling out the beer style as part of its core product line, pointing to a craft beer committee he formed two years ago to help promote brewing in Louisville. He noted that one of the key initiatives was to “reconnect Louisville with its distilling roots and its brewing roots.”

Falls City brewer Dylan Greenwood talked briefly about the history of the beer, which is made with similar ingredients used in distilling whiskey.

“We’re happy to bring it back to the masses,” he said. “Not only does it have a good history, but it’s a good beer.”

Easy Goer Session IPA is a lower-alcohol version of a currently popular beer style. Made with Palisades and Citra hops, it is less bitter than most standard IPAs and checks in at just 4.5 percent alcohol by volume.

“At 4.5 percent ABV, you don’t have to feel bad about drinking more than one,” Greenwood said.

These beers join Hipster Repellant IPA, which by comparison is 6.3 percent ABV, and Falls City Pale Ale, which was the first new beer the brand released in 2010. Much of Falls City’s brewing is currently brewed out of state, but the local facility will continue to brew limited monthly releases as part of the Falls City 7-Barrel series. These will be available only on draft at Over the 9, beginning with a Maibock, a malty German-style beer, and another beer style that was historically popular in Louisville.

While versions of Kentucky Common can be found periodically at other area breweries, Falls City CEO Cezary Wlodarczyk believes making it part of the brand’s base product line puts the brewery in “a unique position.” He specifically stated his goal to make the beer available at Churchill Downs and other iconic spots that are uniquely Kentucky.

“Falls City Beer is a brand that is totally connected to Louisville,” Greenwood said, “so not only is this a huge day for the brewery, but for the city as well. You can still see old Falls City signs on buildings around town. With new bottled beers like our Kentucky Common, we’re saluting local history but also producing well-balanced craft beer with the quality and variety beer fans now expect.”

Fischer added, “Falls City is iconic to Louisville, and watching its growth in the last handful of years is very exciting and meaningful to our city’s Renaissance of craft beer and spirits.”

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

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Mayor Greg Fischer to brew a batch at Goodwood Brewing

This just in from the Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA):

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

Please join us for a special brewing session with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer! In collaboration with Goodwood Brewing and Heaven Hill Brands, Mayor Fischer will help create a special beer for the Louisville Brewfest. It will be an Irish Stout style beer (name to be revealed) that will be aged with an Evan Williams barrel and served one time only at the Brewfest on September 25. We have invited members of the press to learn about the beer, the Louisville Brewfest (presented by BoomBozz Pizza & Taphouse) and the continued expansion of Louisville’s independent craft beer scene.

When: Friday, August 28, 2015, 9:30am-10:30am

(press conference begins at 10am)

Where: Goodwood Brewing Company, 636 E. Main St.

We hope you will also join us to help mark the special occasion.
Please RSVP to jennifer@keeplouisvilleweird.com.

A brief summary of the Louisville Brewfest:   The Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) will host the 7th Annual Louisville Brewfest on Friday, September 25th from 4:00pm to 10:00pm at the Louisville Slugger Field, 401 East Main Street. The event is presented by BoomBozz Pizza & Taphouse, and will feature independent local and regional beer, wine and bourbon, as well as food vendors and a silent auction. Admission is $5 which includes a souvenir cup. Attendees must be 21 or older to enjoy the beer, wine and bourbon. (Designated drivers get free admission.) VIP tickets are $45 and include access to exclusive beers, special gifts made by local artisans, and larger pours in a commemorative festival glass. For more information, visit www.keeplouisvilleweird.com.

Report aimed at growing Louisville’s craft beer industry

Mayors_Beer_Report_2014_ver_2-1Saying “the pint glass is more than half full,” Mayor Greg Fischer this morning announced a report containing recommendations for furthering the rapid growth of Louisville’s craft beer industry.

The Local Brewery Work Group, appointed by Fischer earlier this year, developed the recommendations and strategies to maximize the local craft beer industry, increase its impact on jobs, culture and tourism, and renew the strong beer heritage Louisville once boasted. (Editor’s note: The author of this post — an expert on local beer — is part of the Work Group.)

The five recommendations range from developing an official beer trail and map of local breweries to changing beverage control laws to be more beer friendly to creating an internationally recognized event to spotlight beer that is aged in bourbon barrels.

“Like bourbon, the craft beer industry is red hot, nationally and locally, with new breweries and restaurant operations opening throughout our city and just across the river,” Fischer said during a press conference at Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse. “Our goal is to accelerate this growth and maximize the benefit to our economy, culture and tourism.

“Also like bourbon, craft beer is an increasingly vital part of our culinary scene and a key ingredient in our goal of making Louisville the best food and beverage city in the world.”

Fischer also noted that, nationally, sales of craft beer rose by 18 percent in 2013, while overall beer sales actually declined. The growth has happened locally as well; currently, the Louisville Metro area is home to a number of breweries, with several new ones in the process of opening.

“The growth of the brewing industry in the Louisville area coincides with the locavore food movement we are seeing now,” said John King, executive director of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, in a press release distributed at the press conference. “Our growth as an industry is a direct result of our determination to put Louisville on the map as a top beer destination in the United States.”

The five key recommendations are:

  • Develop an official beer trail/beer map/website/video combination to help promote all local breweries and offer both residents and visitors information on what sets the breweries apart, where they are located, and offer virtual and printed maps that can be seen/distributed at the breweries and other places around town. A bike trail would also be developed with local artists and breweries creating bike racks in front of each brewery.
  • Change Alcohol Beverage Control laws to be more beer friendly. Currently, it is a difficult and winding process to open a brewery, and with the brewing community growing in Louisville and around the state, breweries feel the process should be more intuitive and organized. In addition, it remains difficult for breweries to hold special events, conduct tastings and other promotional activities.
  • Represent local breweries and their products in more city events, functions and venues. Since alcoholic beverages must run through distributors as part of the post-Prohibition three-tier system, it can be difficult for smaller, local breweries to be represented at large events. The goal is to bring down the walls that have blocked local breweries so they can be represented, specifically in city-affiliated events and venues.
  • Create a bourbon-barrel event that will be recognized nationally and internationally. Bourbon is a natural draw, which makes bourbon barrel-aged beer a logical and national way to represent Louisville’s brewing community. Growing such an event not only promotes beer hand-in-hand with the state’s signature spirit, it also draws attention from around the U.S. that Louisville is, indeed, a worthy beer destination as well as a bourbon and dining destination.
  • Reconnect Louisville with its brewing heritage. Many in the city are unaware of the rich history of brewing in Louisville, and the rich heritage in beer culture in general. Louisville was once not just a thriving brewing hub, but also filled with lush, German beer gardens and beer celebrations that can and should be revived today to help promote local brewing culture.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer chats with ATG's Sam Cruz following Monday's press conference.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer chats with ATG’s Sam Cruz following Monday’s press conference.

Sam Cruz, a co-owner of Against the Grain, spoke at the well-attended press conference as well, and presented Fischer with a growler of My Old Kentucky Common, which is based on a beer style created in Louisville in the 1800s.

Fischer said the city will work with the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the breweries to implement and refine the report’s recommendations. He said the report already is having an impact in the form of ReSurfaced, which transformed a vacant area at 615 W. Main St. into a pop-up plaza for craft beer, music and art. Local breweries helped develop the project.

The work group included representatives from area breweries including Against the Grain Brewery, Apocalypse Beer Works, Beer Engine, Bluegrass Brewing Company, Falls City Brewing, Gordon Biersch and New Albanian Brewing Company, the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, representatives from the city and Convention and Visitors Bureau and other consultants.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

Mayor Fischer to announce initiative to promote Louisville beer at press conference Monday

Photo by Cassie Bays.

Photo by Cassie Bays.

Just under a year ago, Mayor Greg Fischer announced an initiative to boost Louisville’s bourbon and dining culture as a major tourist draw.

“They think of Napa Valley for wine,” Fischer said at the time. “We want them to think of Louisville for bourbon.”

The committee charged with driving the initiative was made up of representatives from the bourbon, dining and tourism industry. Even the coffee segment was represented. Brewing was not. And many in the brewing scene took exception.

Not long after, John King was appointed executive director of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, and one of his first orders of business was to right this perceived slight that had left the brewing community scratching its collective head.

King “pissed and moaned” – his words – to Fischer’s office, managed to set up a meeting, and the Mayor’s Beer Work Group was born. The committee brought together King, area brewers in Louisville and Southern Indiana, brewery representatives and others in the growing local beer community to enlighten Fischer on what’s happening and what’s needed, and to make some recommendations.

King, which has called bourbon the “big brother” to Louisville’s brewing scene, said, “Sometimes I check Twitter and it’s ‘bourbon this, bourbon that’ in regards to Louisville.  I wish I could reach through the screen and hand those people a Louisville-made beer as an eye opener to what else is going on in the city.”

The group convened in early summer and met several times. It reached a conclusion on five goals to pursue; the full findings and recommendations will be revealed Monday at a 10 a.m. press conference at Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse, located at Slugger Field. The public (supporters of local beer especially) is invited to attend and have a beer with the work group.

Here is a preview of the five goals:

  • Develop an official beer trail/map that will help promote all of the breweries in the city. This project also involves creating a web presence with promotional videos for each brewery. There also will be printed versions distributed at the breweries and other places around town.
  • Work toward changing Alcohol Beverage Control laws to be more beer friendly. Most don’t realize it, but currently it is a difficult and complicated process to open a brewery and for established breweries to hold special events, conduct tastings and pursue other promotional activities.
  • Represent local breweries and their products in more city-owned and city-sponsored events, functions and venues. Since alcoholic beverages must run through distributors as part of the post-Prohibition three-tier system, it can be difficult for smaller, local breweries to be represented at large events.
  • Create a signature bourbon-barrel event that will be recognized nationally and/or internationally. This helps marry beer to its “big brother” and tie brewing into what Louisville and the rest of the state is primarily known for, and further establishes the city as a beer destination as well.
  • Reconnect Louisville with its brewing heritage. Many in the city are unaware of the rich history of brewing and beer culture in Louisville. Louisville was once a thriving brewing hub, and a beer style was actually invented here in the 1800s. Paying tribute to this history can help further promote current breweries and beers.

More than anything, this initiative is a step toward raising the awareness across the city that the brewing culture in Louisville is thriving. There are currently seven breweries operating in the metro area (more, depending on how you count the various Bluegrass Brewing Company locations, which have varying ownerships), with several more in the works. And this also helps bring the beer full circle to join the local bourbon and dining scene as draws to the city.

“The growth of the Louisville metro brewing industry coincides with the locavore food movement we are seeing now,” King said. “We, as brewers, want to show our Louisville residents that we can provide world class beer in their own back yards. Kentucky may be bourbon country, but our limestone water makes pretty damn good beer too.”

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.