When a Minneapolis craft brewer revealed last week that it will make a General Mills-sponsored Wheaties beer, the story made national headlines. But cereal beers are nothing new for Black Bottle Brewery in Fort Collins, which has been working loosely with the cereal giant for the past year on several breakfast-inspired brews.
Next month, Black Bottle plans to enter the most well-known beer from its Cerealiously series, Cerealiously Count Chocula, into the chocolate-beer competition at the Great American Beer Festival. The brewery will also be pouring the beer in the festival hall. “They just sent us forty pounds of Count Chocula,” Black Bottle owner Sean Nook says about General Mills. “It should be huge.”
Black Bottle has been making the Cerealiously beers – which all use sugary breakfast cereals as a key ingredient — since 2013; it also makes beers with Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Sugar Cookie Toast Crunch.
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But the brewery got international attention last October after a Fort Collins newspaper wrote a story about how all of the seasonal Count Chocula cereal had mysteriously disappeared from two grocery stores in town: The culprit turned out to be Black Bottle, which had purchased it all for the beer.
Afterward, General Mills and Black Bottle struck up an informal relationship in which the food producer began sending cereal and swag to the brewery for its various tappings. "Cereal appeals to people of all ages, and we know that there are groups of people who love craft beer," a General Mills spokeswoman told Westword. "So why not combine two things that these people love: their favorite cereal and beer?" (That representative didn't return an e-mail seeking comment for this story.)
Although the Wheaties beer got a lot of attention, it isn't actually made with Wheaties, Nook points out.
Cerealiously Count Chocula will be on tap again on Tuesday, August 25, at the brewery.