Fordham and Dominion Step out from the Shadow of AB InBev and Some Changes are Coming.

To me, it always felt like Fordham and Dominion were a bit like the Rodney Dangerfield of Delaware brewing – some people just refused to give them any respect.

Which was sad, because in every way one could measure a vibrant, community active brewery, F&D seemed to either fit the bill or go above and beyond. But unfortunately there was one blemish on their otherwise fine looking resume which some people simply could not get past. No, try to say or write anything nice about the myriad of things F&D do that can be presented in a positive light, and some people would quickly pull the shades closed and declare, “they’re owned by AB InBev!”

I have to be honest, I’d heard it or read it so many times, that chorus of disdain that was presented with so much damnation that one could literally hear the dismissive “whatever” snap at the end of the statement.

So many times I’d heard it in fact that I finally broke down and asked the brewery about their official standing with AB InBev that resulted in me having a nice chat with F&D President Jim Lutz, in which I admit, though I might not have found it as satisfying as I was hoping for with the percentage of stake that AB InBev held in the breweries, I did find comfort that the corporate giant was not involved with the day-to-day operations and decisions at the brewery.

But still people would cast stones and I feared the brewery, to some people’s eyes, would never step out of the shadow of being owned to an extent by a company that unfortunately caused the Brewer’s Association to label them as “non-craft”. But that was until recently.

Last week I posted some new labels from the brewery for Copperhead Ale and Gypsy Lager, pointing out changes in the designs and the branding. There was one other change as well, but one I did not want to comment on without first reaching out to the brewery to see if I could get some more clarification. This is the change that got me excited:

That’s the Brewer’s Association Independent Craft Brewer Seal, that can only be placed on the label of a beer made by a brewery that meets the BA’s definition of independent – a definition that until quite recently F&D did not meet.

So I reached out to F&D for some information concerning the seal and what that meant for the brewery and Vice President of Sales, Giuseppe Desilvio was nice enough to pass on some good news, “Yes, just [a] few months ago we signed our “divorce papers” from Anheuser-Busch InBev, so Fordham & Dominion is now 100% independently owned.”

That’s great news for the brewery and a win in general for Delaware beer scene. But, Giuseppe informed me that there will be a few other changes due to this new found independence.

“We just started a full package re-fresh, and all of our products moving forward will have the Independent Craft Seal on it and will come out under the “Fordham & Dominion” logo. We are merging our two portfolios and will no longer release beers under just “Fordham” or “Dominion””.  

That was interesting as the two portfolios were kept quite separate and indeed were quite distinctive from each other – especially the Pin-up series. How will those labels change? We’ll just have to wait and see. As for now, I’m just glad that the old retort, “Yeah, but they’re partially owned by Budweiser” can be laid to rest once and for all.

As always, I’d like to thank Giuseppe Desilvio for taking some of his valuable time to talk to me.


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New Label Art – Fordham and Dominion Gypsy and Copperhead

When I saw these new labels from FoDo, my initial reaction was, “it’s kind of soon for a rebranding isn’t it?” But as I looked over the new artwork, I began to believe that there was possibly more here than initially meets the eye.

The repeating pattern of these labels really strike me as beer can labels and at 7 x 5.25 in dimension, puts them at around the right size for can art. Still, they could be bottle labels, I guess we’ll see, but being able to soon pick up some FoDo beers in cans would be a nice thing.

And yes, FoDo beers, because for years Fordham and Dominion have kept the two brands independent of each other when it comes to their respective beers, each brewery having its own distinct style. But, notice that on these labels both brands are predominantly displayed together, not just in one place, but in two, with one of them echoing the branding that the breweries use on their merchandise and marketing.

Keep an eye out!

Dogfish Head 2019 Release Calendar – What’s New, What’s Gone.

Tuesday I was surfing the interwebs looking for something to distract me from doing what I should have been doing when something from Dogfish Head popped up and reminded me that I should (once again) check to see if they had posted up their 2019 beer release calendar yet. Sadly, they had not, which caused me to wonder why considering we’re starting to chip away at the month of December.

But, about a hour later I was on Facebook (still not doing what I was supposed to be doing) when I saw that Sam was live going through next year’s releases with the calendar being posted on the website soon after. This could have been one of those great cosmic coincidences that occasionally happens (like when you think of a song you haven’t heard of for a long time and then it happens to be the next song to play on the radio) or it could be (as I like to think of it) a case of great minds thinking a like. Anyway, let’s see how it shapes up this year.

As with last year, the releases are broken up into three categories: Year Round, Art Series, and Occasionals. And, don’t be surprised if a few beers that aren’t listed pop up throughout the year, DFH can be sneaky that way.

Year round is pretty much the same as last year with only one notable change, Liquid Truth Serum graduates from last year’s Art Series. The beer is currently available out there in 16oz cans, but you can also expect to see it in 12oz cans soon.

Sadly, something had to apparently go, so Indian Brown has been dropped this year, so if you’re a fan get it while you can.

The Art Series still sees Dragons & Yums Yums and Punkin Ale anchor down the middle of the year while last year’s Romantic Chemistry has been replaced with The Perfect Disguise (Feb-Apr). Liquid Truth Serum, due to its promotion to year round will be replaced by 75 Minute IPA (Nov-2020J) which you can pick up in stores now even though it wasn’t on last year’s calendar (see, sneaky).

Occasionals? Well let’s just say if you’re a huge fan of any of the beers on last year’s list, you might be disappointed this year. Festina Peche, Mixed Media, Fruit-Full Fort, Pennsylvania Tuxedo, and Siracusa Nera all disappear. The only beer that survives the culling is 120 Minute IPA (Aug-Dec).

Replacing that troop is American Beauty (which in a total contradiction is “ocssionally” available from Jan to Dec next year), Raison D’Extra (Jan-Apr), World Wide Stout (May-Aug), and SuperEIGHT (Apr-Dec).

Also on the calendar are the Summer Variety pack (May-August), and the IPA for the Holidays pack (Nov-Dec).

Below is my annual, no thrills version of the calendar. You can find DFH’s snazzy version here.

Now go drink some beer!

New Label Art – Dogfish Head’s Super Eight Super Gose

Yeah, it will develop your film

Dogfish Head is gearing up to release another new beer, Super Eight which is listed by the brewery as a super-fruit gose style beer. Ok.

The 5.3%ABV beer boasts an impressive list of ingredients including Hawaiian Red sea salt, prickly pear, mango, boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, and kiwi juices, and toasted quinoa. I’m not going to lie, it sounds like someone went wild at a Jamba Juice. Still, DFH has a habit of making this kind of thing work, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be a hit.

But in doing a little reading on the web, the ingredient list wasn’t the most interesting thing I found out about this beer. Buried in a Brewbound article about DFH’s overall market plans for the future I found the following paragraph:

To help bring the brand to life, Dogfish is partnering with Kodak to produce a documentary film chronicling an East Coast boat journey (from Key West to Maine) that Calagione and his son will take next year. And the beer itself – which is acidic and has a high vitamin C count — is capable of developing Super 8 film, which Calagione said will give the company an opportunity to market the brand with an “off-centered approach to storytelling.”

Chris Furnari , Brewbound

Using beer to develop film? That struck me as odd but as it turns out it is not unheard of as i was able to dig up a couple of examples on the web. Here is an article from someone who tried several different homemade developers, one of which was beer, that he states he got good results with, and here is a Youtube video from 2013 of a guy from Australia using beer. The things you learn.

Dogfish Head’s IPAs for the Holidays Pack Gets A New Beer/Wine

According to their social media, Dogfish Head will be adding a new bottling to their IPAs for the Holidays pack. Viniferous IPA is a 6%ABV beer/wine hybrid brewed with El Dorado, Hallertau Blanc and Huell Melon hops and then fermented on Riesling and Viognier grape must. Viniferous IPA was offered as only a brewery exclusive earlier this year and was brewed with a different hop profile then the upcoming bottling.

The holiday pack will also include 60 and 90 minute IPA as well as another beer/wine hybrid Sixty-One, which if you don’t recall is their 60 minute IPA with syrah grape must added – all three of which were offered in last year’s holiday pack, with Viniferous replacing last year’s Indian Brown Dark IPA.

Dogfish Head’s IPAs for the Holidays 12-pack will start hitting the shelves sometime in November.

Read More:
My review of Sixty-One
Viniferous

Wilmington Brew Works Selected as Delaware location for The 48 Beer Project

WBW48BP

Received a press release from John Fusco yesterday informing everyone that Wilmington Brew Works had been selected by Heidi Geist for her The 48 Beer Project. Details below:

……………………………Press Release…………………

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WILMINGTON BREWERY SELECTED FOR NATIONAL LABEL ART PROJECT

Artwork to Be Created and Installed at Wilmington Brew Works

October 22, 2018

Wilmington, Delaware – Maine-based artist Heidi Geist hit the road in early September on a year-long journey to create artwork for breweries in each of the continental United States. Geist’s mass art project, appropriately dubbed The 48 Beer Project, will bring her to the newly opened Wilmington Brew Works at the end of this October.

Geist has designed labels for nearly 20 craft breweries over the last three years at her Portland studio. When her lease expired, she was inspired to purchase a mini-school bus from eBay and convert it into a mobile studio with the intention of more directly connecting with her clients. Geist spent three months renovating the mobile studio, which she named ‘Fearless.’ She then conjured up the idea of nation-wide beer related project after a weeklong meditation.

The art collaboration is just one element of The 48 Beer Project’s larger mission. According to Geist, “Along the way, I will be talking with brewers, grains growers, other label designers, etc., about their role in the craft industry, and recording the stories of not just beer lovers, but strangers and friends from all corners of the country.”

Geist carefully targeted partners in her project, selecting breweries who shared a similar collaborative ethos. She was particularly interested in partnering with breweries like Wilmington Brew Works, who are involved in their local communities and support art organizations and other charities. “When this building had fallen into disrepair it was a drag on the neighborhood and the city.  We are excited to add purpose and meaning to such a beautiful building, and bring the spirit of experimentation back to this space! Partnering with the 48 beer project is an exciting way to begin an arts program here, where we can collaborate with local artists for future projects,” said Craig Wensell, CEO and Head Brewer.

Having already completed projects in the New England states, New York, and New Jersey, Geist will be stopping in Pennsylvania prior to her arrival at Wilmington Brew Works on Thursday, October 25. Her work in Delaware will have a bit more permanence than the labels she created as earlier parts of the project. During her three-day stay, Geist will be creating artwork on two of Wilmington Brew Works’ wooden barrels. The artwork will become semi-permanent fixtures on display in the brewery taproom.

About Wilmington Brew Works

Wilmington Brew Works is the first production brewery to be located in Wilmington’s city limits since 1954. Housed in a century old former laboratory in the Old Ninth Ward, we keep the spirit of the building’s creative origins alive with new and innovative ales, lagers, sours, ciders, and soft drinks. The company’s family-friendly taproom has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating to enjoy a drink with friends, both old and new. Playfully Pretentious, Easily Enjoyed.

Media Contacts

Heidi Geist, The 48 Beer Project, heidi@diegeistart.com, 207-303-2520, www.diegeistart.com, Instagram: @48beerproject

John Fusco, Creative Director, Wilmington Brew Works, john@wilmingtonbrewworks.com, 302-507-4100, www.WilmingtonBrewWorks.com

 

New Label Art – Dogfish Head’s Eastern Seaboard.

As I wrote back in the beginning of the month, Dogfish head is beginning to release a new series of beers captioned “Wooden…It Be Nice”, a salute to wood-aged, wild ales. Below is the label art for the third beer in the series Eastern Seaboard, an ale aged in both red and white wine barrels and infused with blackberries and beach plums.

Eastern Seaboard gets its wild side from inoculations of both Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus, and will clock in at 8.2% alcohol.

As with all beers in the “Wooden…it be Nice” series, Eastern Seaboard will only be available at the Milford brewery for $10 a 375mL bottle, and only 2000 bottles will be made available. Look for Eastern Seaboard sometime around mid-December.

ES