It's a good day for the Chicago craft beer scene, depending on how you look at it: Anheuser-Busch is planning a nation-wide release of Goose Island Beer Co., which the company acquired last year. Currently, the beers are only sold in Chicago with limited availability elsewhere. The beers will begin popping up in shops in September and the company hopes to have their brews in all 50 states by November. This would make them one of the few brewing companies with regional ties to have their beer available across the country.
Goose Island has already seen its sales numbers dramatically rise in the past few years, along with craft beer’s rise in popularity. The company is hoping that its strong ties to Chicago and Chicago culture will help them cultivate a strong following. While some people fear that the increased visibility will dilute the brand’s mystique, the company feels comfortable that it will be able to maintain a strong following. As Benj Steinman of Beer Market Insights told the Chicago Tribune, “If [a sale to Anheuser-Busch] would have hurt anywhere, it would have been Chicago, and it doesn't seem to have hurt at all.”
While the company produces a wide range of different brews, only the most popular will be available at both the supermarket and restaurant. Among the beers available nationwide will be 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Honker’s Ale and a variety of seasonal brews. Anheuser-Busch has already begun production at the Colorado and New York state breweries, so you won’t have to wait long before seeing this Chicagoan brew popping up on shelves everywhere. Grab a bottle this fall to see if the Chicago essence can be bottled and sold nationwide.