Storm Brewing Releases $1,000 Beer Bottle

I suspect that by the time you read this, all ten bottles of the newest release from Storm Brewing, of East Vancouver in British Columbia, will already have been sold, despite the hefty $1,000 per bottle price tag. The new beer is Glacial Mammoth Extinction, and is described on Storm’s website. Essentially it’s a sour beer that, according to brewer James Walton, was frozen “into one big, solid ice cube at -30 degrees Celsius, a process that took him about a month to complete.” Then the water was removed, and the remaining liquid was “aged in French oak barrels for two years until it was ready.”

Part of the expense of the beer is the packaging, with a hand-blown glass bottle fashioned by a local artist, using a 14K gold clasp and 35,000-year-old ivory for the pendant hanging from the neck of the bottle. The beer weighs in at almost 25% a.b.v. and is described as “quite sweet, almost like a port.”

The Beer: The Glacial Mammoth Extinction is the first beer of its kind (in the world!!) and the result of freezing a strong sour beer to -30C in two stages over a one month period. The sweet alcoholic liquid was separated from the extinct ice glacier that was left in the tank and then aged in French oak barrels for two years until it was ready. The final product is a rich, complex, and viscous 100% malt beverage that resembles Port more than beer.

RESIDUAL SUGAR – 80grams per litre
VOLUME PRODUCED – 400 litres

The Brewery: For over 20 years brewer James Walton and the Storm Brewing team have been bringing Vancouverites innovative and unpretentious craft beer. James is hailed as a craft beer pioneer by both media and trade and is proud to be one of the very first brewers in North America to brew sour beer. The brewery sits at the corner of Commercial Drive and Franklin Street in gritty East Vancouver and is considered a “must-visit” destination by craft beer fans worldwide.

The $1000 Bottles: A total of ten bottles were designed and made of hand blown glass by Terminal City Glass Co-op’s Brad Turner. Adorning these bottles are one of a kind prehistoric mammoth ivory pendants made by local sculptor Richard Marcus. The ivory used for these pendants is from a tusk estimated to be 35,000 years old and they are complimented with a 14K gold clasp. Both of these East Vancouver artists are renowned for their craft and their studios are located within walking distance from the brewery.


Beer In Ads #1749: Putting A Schooner In A Bottle Is Skilled Work

Friday’s ad is for Oland’s Schooner Lager Beer, from 1967. The Oland Brewery is from Nova Scotia, Canada, though today it’s owned by Labatt Brewing, and ultimately ABI. The tagline, “putting a Schooner in a bottle is skilled work,” plays nicely on the beer’s name and follows through with the punchline at the bottom, “taking it out is pure pleasure.”


Beer In Ads #1710: Let’s Get Together With A Friendly ’50’ Ale

Friday’s ad is for Labatt’s ’50’ Ale, from 1956. This is another example of my theory that beer in the Fifties was much more “friendly” than today. I keep finding examples of beer companies at that time describing their beer as “friendly” in advertising, but this is the first Canadian example I’ve come across. I do love the backyard party scene, such a happy-looking gathering. How friendly, just like the beer.


Beer In Ads #1707: You’d Almost Think It Flew Away …

Tuesday’s ad is for Moosehead, from 1955. With a moose up a tree, perched above them, two hunters are stumped as to what happened to the animal they were tracking. “You’d Almost Think It Flew Away ….” The footprints just stopped. These are apparently not the smartest hunters in the Maritimes. One too many Mooseheads, I suspect.


Labatt Breweries Buys Mill Street

Mill-Street labatt
This morning, Labatt Breweries, itself part of the family of brands owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, announced that they were purchasing Toronto’s Mill Street Brewery.

From the press release:

Labatt Breweries of Canada today announced that it has purchased Mill Street Brewery, an award-winning craft brewer based in Toronto. The deal will allow Mill Street to deepen its traction with consumers in the fast growing craft beer segment, where it has an extraordinary variety of unique beers, as well as brew pubs in both Toronto and Ottawa. To help achieve this, Labatt will immediately invest $10 million in Mill Street’s Toronto brewery, which includes a state-of-the-art brewhouse and packaging capabilities.

“Mill Street has continually distinguished itself with its energy and success in innovation, and powerful commitment to great-tasting quality beer,” said Labatt president Jan Craps. “Our partnership and investment will accelerate its growth in one of the most dynamic beer segments, while fully preserving Mill Street’s creative character and pioneering spirit.”

“With the success of Mill Street has come the challenge of serving a growing demand for our brands,” said Irvine Weitzman, Mill Street CEO, who will continue with Mill Street along with co-founder Steve Abrams and famed brewmaster Joel Manning. “Our partnership with Labatt is a natural evolution in our growth that will allow more Canadians to enjoy our beer and secure the legacy of our brands by allowing us to remain focused on the authentic characteristics that have made Mill Street what it is today.”

Founded in Toronto’s Distillery District in 2002, Mill Street is an award-winning craft brewery and the largest producer of certified organic beer in Canada. It has won numerous beer quality awards including the Canadian Brewery of the Year Award in three consecutive years. Core brands include Ontario’s first organic beer, Mill Street Original Organic Lager, along with 100th Meridian, Tankhouse Ale, and Cobblestone Stout. The brewer is also renowned for permanent specialties including a strong golden ale Betelgeuse, an Irish-style red ale Bob’s Bearded Red and nitrogen-charged Vanilla Porter, as well as for several small-batch specialty beers.

“Throughout our history, our dedication to our craft and our passion for pushing the envelope have allowed Mill Street to make waves in Canada’s craft beer segment,” said Abrams. “We are excited about the prospect of working with Labatt to build even further on our successes and sharing our brands with more beer lovers across Canada.”

Mill Street brands will continue to be brewed under the expertise of brewmaster Joel Manning.
“This investment in a state-of-the-art brewhouse that Mill Street will run on a stand-alone basis positions us to reach the very top of our craft,” added Manning. “We couldn’t be more pleased by this fantastic opportunity to further entrench our reputation for innovation and quality, and bring more great brands to more consumers.”

Labatt and Mill Street Brewery announce purchase agreement
From left to right: Irvine Weitzman, Mill Street CEO, Jan Craps, President of Labatt, Joel Manning, Brewmaster at Mill Street, and Steve Abrams, Co-Founder of Mill Street. (CNW Group/Labatt Breweries of Canada)

Beer In Ads #1701: The Swing Is Definitely To Labatt’s

Wednesday’s ad is for Labatt’s Pilsener, from 1955. First of all, there’s a funny-looking moose sitting on a stump wearing boots and a flannel shirt. Beyond “The Swing Is Definitely To Labatt’s,” there are some gems in the copy for this ad. “When thirst has you by the horns, just call for a tall, cool glass of sparkling Labatt’s PILSENER,” and “the wonderful dryness of Pilsener makes any thirst vaMOOSE fast!” There’s also a pretty interesting claim toward the bottom of the ad. “The only beer in the world endorsed by brewmasters of seven other breweries.” I wonder which ones?


Beer In Ads #1700: The Choice Is Yours!

Tuesday’s ad is for O’Keefe, from 1958. “The Choice Is Yours!” reminds of the Blues Brothers movie, when the band plays at an old honky tonk, and the owner tells them what kind of music they feature. “We have both kinds of music: country and western.” In this case the choice is between “O’Keefe Old Stock Ale” and “O’Keefe Ale.” This first is “hearty and full-bodied” while the second is “smooth and light.” So they have both kinds.


Beer In Ads #1693: Famous Signals Of The Royal Canadian Navy

Tuesday’s ad is for John Labatt Limited, from 1943. Apparently part of a wartime series, as this first one is marked “Famous Signals of the Royal Canadian Navy, No. 1.” Labatt directed a lot of its advertising during World War II toward extolling the virtues of the Canadian army and navy, and in this one they even promote “the Overseas League Tobacco Fund” to ensure soldiers won’t run out of cigarettes.


Beer In Ads #1682: Be Light-Hearted! Stay Light-Hearted!

Friday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1952. “Be Light-Hearted! Stay Light-Hearted! Step up to Carling’s!” The illustration shows a couple entwined with beer mugs, but apparently disagreeing on why they like the beer. One says “Light as the smoothest drink!” The other one believes its “Hearty as only an ale can be!” My vote is for hearty.