has gone through a lot of changes over the past fifteen years, but one thing that has stayed the same is the importance of its standard-bearing beer, White Rascal Belgian White.
Introduced in 2003, when few craft breweries aside from Blue Moon were brewing Belgian-style witbiers, it incorporated the magical combination of freshly ground coriander, two kinds of dried orange peels and malted wheat. White Rascal has been Avery’s top seller
during most of the intervening years.
Now, for the first time, it's getting some company on the shelves. Avery has just begun distributing and selling a brand-new year-round beer called Little Rascal, which is made from the same malted wheat base, but replaces the orange peel and coriander with two kinds of lemons and Lemondrop hops. It also has a lower ABV at 4.5 percent — and comes in at just 100 calories per 12-ounce can.
Avery will debut Island Rascal in the late spring.
Then in mid-March, the brewery will rebrand and reintroduce Liliko'i Kepolo — a much-loved wheat beer
that is brewed with passion fruit — as Island Rascal. Both are made with the same yeast and wheat base.
“The craft beer category is so busy right now that it’s overwhelming for consumers,” explains Avery spokesman Greg Neale. “People walk along the beer cooler and they can’t decide what to buy, but if they see something they recognize, like White Rascal, they say, ‘Okay, I know this, I’ve had it before, I liked it.’ So they’re more willing to try Little Rascal or Island Rascal.”
The extension of “a brand family” like that is becoming more popular, especially among larger packaging breweries. Blue Moon, which is owned by Coors, kicked things off more than fifteen years ago when it began playing around with other “Moon” beers; there have since been dozens of different ones on the market. New Belgium Brewing followed suit with its Voodoo Ranger brand
, which includes at least five different IPAs. And late last year, Odell Brewing unveiled Sippin’ Tropical
, which sits side by side on the shelf with the original Sippin’ Pretty Sour Ale. Great Divide has already played around with its Yeti
New Belgium Brewing has multiple versions of its Voodoo Ranger IPA.
New Belgium Brewing
Across the country, breweries like Sierra Nevada and Firestone Walker have taken a similar approach as a way to keep their customers coming back for new and different styles.
As for Avery’s Liliko'i, it had never been marketed as having anything to do with White Rascal in the past, Neale says, but customers had always had trouble saying the name. “So, we thought, 'Okay, let’s bring those two in together. Now they can work together and help simplify the beer cooler.'”
The change could also help redefine Avery, which has struggled a bit to find its footing after its purchase in 2017 by Mahou San Miguel
, the Spanish brewing conglomerate that also owns Founders Brewing.
Neale says Avery will consider doing other, seasonal Rascals with different fruits or other ingredients in the future. But there is nothing concrete in the works.