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Christmas Ale - Update Letter

Posted December 13, 2010

Oh Christmas Ale, Oh Christmas Ale!

Since so many responded to our Christmas Ale Open Letter a few weeks ago, we thought a simple update would help.  We’re happy to report that we have kept to the schedule we shared with our distributors with only one or two days missed, but made up for in short order.  The recent expansion of our capacity arrived not a moment too soon!

This Christmas Ale phenomenon has certainly achieved cult status, and handling it within our brewery is quite tough.  Even the best planners recognize the challenge of one brand constituting 25% of an operation’s annual volume with an eight week availability – especially when combined with the limiting, yet important, factors of a freshness (expiration) date and the brewing of other brands.  But our dedicated crew has grown quite adept at pulling it off, though the long hours have many of them looking forward to when they can catch a collective breath.

Last Tuesday we brewed the last batch of Christmas Ale, so if you visit our Ohio City neighborhood, you won’t be able to enjoy the wonderful cinnamon smells in the air until next year.  The cellaring, bottling and kegging departments, however, are still pumping out the last batches of our festive brew, with the final cases and kegs being produced the very week of Christmas.  Our crew will certainly light a candle!

With this brew’s cult following, it seems no one can ever get enough.  With double-digit increases over last year’s production, our sales team and distributors have been diligently ensuring that everyone receives more than they did last year.  Some have complained about the fact that we have been shipping Christmas Ale to other states.  While this is true, 91% of total production remains in Ohio, so we believe we are fulfilling our commitments across the board.

As Christmas Day fast approaches and our days end earlier, we all look for light.  We recently helped provide some light by sponsoring the first ever Ohio City Christmas Festival.  Families roamed the closed down Market Avenue, took pictures with Santa, purchased Fraser fir trees and shopped at the stands of local merchants.  Of course, all were welcome to come inside and enjoy a jar of Christmas Ale or one of our many other flavorful brews.  Regrettably, even our own Gift Shop was sold out of cases since it too is on allocation.  We remain committed to the amounts we shared with our distributors at the beginning of the season.

Lastly, some of the proceeds from the Christmas Festival benefited the fund for the young daughters of Molly Rothgery, a former member of the Great Lakes family and victim of a horrible domestic violence incident.  It warmed our hearts to see her daughters enjoying the festivities, including a ride on the horse drawn carriage.  Their light gives us hope and faith that light will always conquer dark and reminds us to savor this season even more than ever.  

Merry Christmas To You All,

The Owners and Brewers of Great Lakes Brewing Company