Beer Man

Photos: Oskar Blues goes big with its 19.2-ounce Royal Pints of Dale's Pale Ale

Canned craft beers are big in Colorado and now they're getting even bigger. On Thursday night after the Great American Beer Festival ended, Oskar Blues revealed its latest aluminum package: a 19.2-ounce can of Dale's Pale Ale. The Longmont beer makers is the first U.S. brewery -- craft or otherwise -- to sell "Royal" or "Imperial" pints, as the size is known in England, made by Broomfield's Ball Corporation.

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As tall as a 24-ounce can, but the same width as a regular twelve-ouncer, Oskar Blues will sell its royal pints in the single-serve section of liquor stores where 22-ounce bombers and 750-ml bottles are typically sold, says spokesman Chad Melis (see more pictures below).

"Nobody is doing a single-serve can right now, so I think there is a lot of sales potential for it," he says. "When you look at what is in that single-serve door at liquor stores, that is where you see some bigger, more special beers a lot of times."

Oskar Blues sells it other canned beers in six-packs or four-packs, but Melis says the new can gives the brewery the opportunity to increase its seasonal selection by selling one can at a time, in the same way other breweries use bomber bottles. "It opens up the door for us to have a July-to-September seasonal," he adds. Oskar Blues currently sells Ten FIDY in the winter and Gubna (formerly a year-round beer) in the spring.

"These days, with so many nano-breweries and small breweries opening up, they are constantly doing different beers and being creative," Melis continues. "It's important to stay nimble and do different things. These cans offer us the opportunity to stay relevant and keep up with some of these breweries putting out special beers. It also gives our brewers a chance to be creative an flex their muscles and have some fun."

Oskar Blues, which was the first craft brewer in the country to can its beers, is celebrating its tenth anniversary of that achievement in November, and the Dale's Pale Ale Royal Pints will initially feature special 10th Anniversary graphics and will celebrate the brewery's recent announcement of second location in Brevard, North Carolina.

They will begin distribution in Denver in a few spots on Friday and on Monday and then in Ohio -- a new market for Oskar Blues -- on October 22. They will reach distribution in all of Oskar Blues's markets by next January, Melis says.

Ball Corporation, the largest beverage can company in the world, is the only can manufacturer in North America to make the Royal Pint (568 ml), something that it announced earlier this year.

Oskar Blues makes two other beers, Deviant Dale's and G'Knight, which is has begun selling in sixteen-ounce packages, but this new 19.2-ounce can means that the brewery probably won't package Dale's in that size can for a while, Melis says.

The company unveiled the Royal Pints this evening at a party at the Blake Street Tavern in Denver; it will show them off tomorrow at its booth at GABF.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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