9 things you should know about Alaskan Brewing Company

Alaska is famous for its breathtaking natural landscapes, its vast areas large enough to fit twice the state of Texas, and its must-see Northern Lights. But enough about nature: what about its beer?

While Alaska probably isn’t one of the first places that come to mind for craft beer, Alaskan Brewing Company has helped put the state on the enthusiast’s map as one of the biggest craft beer producers in the country. The brewery was founded in 1986 by Alaskan loving wife and husband Marcy and Geoff Larson, who also shared a love for home brewing.

Now he serves his signature Amber, a Pale Ale, and IPAs at his brewery and bar in Juneau and much of the country.

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Here are nine other things you should know about Alaskan Brewing Co.

Yes, beer is really brewed in Alaska.

Alaskan Brewing Co. is located in the state’s remote capital, Juneau. Surrounded on all sides by the Gulf of Alaska and home to vast areas of wilderness and wilderness, Juneau is not an obvious place for a brewery, but when Marcy and Geoff Larson moved to Alaska from the contiguous United States and decided to making a living by making beer, Juneau was where they wanted to be. When the couple opened the doors of the brewery to the public in 1986, it was the first time a brewery had been established there since Prohibition.

Juneau loves Larsons: the city named Marcy and Geoff Citizens of the Year in 2020.

The 49th US state is home to the 26th most productive craft brewery in the country.

Alaskan Brewing produces a lot of beer. In 2020, it was the 26th largest craft producer by volume in the country, according to the Brewer’s Association annual report. Plus, it’s the only Alaskan brewery to make the list. Alaskan Brewing is no stranger to high production volume either, as it has consistently ranked among the top 30 producers on the list for more than 10 consecutive years.

Alaska’s first beer – and its best-selling – was inspired by the gold rush.

Alaskan Amber, a German altbier-style malt beer that was the company’s first creation, was brewed long before Alaskan Brewing was founded. Prior to the brewery launch, co-founder Marcy Larson researched the history of brewing in Alaska. Sifting through old brewing documents, she came across files for Douglas City Brewing Co., an Alaskan brewery that operated from 1899 to 1907. She was fascinated by a brewer’s method of making ferment beer in gold mine shafts to create amber beer. Her husband, an amateur brewer, undertakes to revise the recipe using techniques similar to those described in old documents (without a gold mine shaft this time).

Today, Alaskan Amber is the best-selling beer on the brewery’s list. Over the years, it has consistently accounted for around 50 percent of sales volume, although the brewery has expanded its options.

It is the oldest brewery in Alaska and one of the oldest in the United States

Alaskan Brewing charted new territory in 1986, when it became the state’s first (and now oldest) post-Prohibition brewery. More than 40 new breweries have followed in his footsteps since then, marking the growth of the industry in Alaska.

Alaskan Brewing is also tied with the 16th oldest brewery in the country. Breweries in New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and several other states survived the ban’s closures. Alaskan Brewing and five other breweries that opened in 1986 were the first to exist in their respective states since the early 1900s.

Sustainability and environmental stewardship are priorities for Alaska.

The conversation about climate change in the alcoholic beverage industry is paramount as brewers and wine growers face climate-related challenges. Alaskan Brewing entered the conversation decades ago. This was in part due to necessity, as it faced production and distribution challenges as well as options that could have a big impact, given the remoteness of the brewery.

The brewery operates around a central goal of having zero net negative environmental effect. It achieves this through the use of a carbon dioxide recovery system. To break it down: Alaskan Brewing’s system captures and cleans the CO2 produced during the brewing process, then reuses it to purge oxygen from storage tanks, as well as during the conditioning process. This process alone saves the brewery 45,000 gallons of gas per year and prevents over a million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. The brewery’s mash filter press and spent grain steamer also play an important role in reducing the use of oil, water and malt and allow brewers to get the most out of all of them. the resources.

Shipping Alaskan beers to other states is as difficult as it sounds.

Flight or ferry are the only two ways to get to the Juneau and Alaskan Brewing brick and mortar location. With no highways to or from the city or long flights to other parts of the United States, bringing beer to a larger market is no easy task. Alaskan Brewing currently offers beers in 25 states, including all western states and much of the Midwest.

When Alaskan Brewing expanded to its newer states, Hawaii and Utah, it partnered with a new distributor to make it happen. The cost and transportation issues of getting beers across the country are the reason consumers won’t see Alaskan Brewing distributed on the east coast.

There is an authentic flavor and flare inside many cans …

From label design to the brews themselves, Alaskan Brewing expresses pride in its country of origin and heritage. “We’re doing our best to put Alaska in a bottle,” co-founder Marcy Larson said in a corporate video. The water from the Juneau glaciers and the spruce tips of Sitka, a nearby town, are ingredients in beers like Alaskan Winter Ale.

… And the brewery has won awards for both.

Spruce IPA, a seasonal beer that features the brewery’s classic Sitka spruce tips that work with Citra, Chinook and Denali hops, won the Gold Award in the Herb & Spice Beer category at the Cup 2018 Beer World Cup. This victory confirmed the brand’s penchant for using Alaskan natural resources in its beers.

In 2021, it won the title of “Best Can Design” at the Craft Beer Marketing Awards. The can of Citrus Wheat beer – which features a hiker silhouette overlooking a mountainous backdrop of green, yellow and orange – was part of the brewery’s can redesign efforts that pay homage to nature, wildlife and to the central activities of Alaska.

Alaskan Brewing started making seltzer in 2019.

Hard seltzer is a natural extension of the brewery’s capabilities, as beers and seltzer are brewed and fermented the same way. When Alaskan Brewing launched its own line of hard seltzer in 2019 after a year of recipe development, it made sure to focus on the Alaskan flavors that set it apart. Like many of its beers, seltzers are brewed with Sitka spruce tips, which offer citrus and berry notes in the seltzer.

Unique Alaskan seltzers contain 4.5% alcohol by volume and only contain 95 calories per 12-ounce can. They are currently available in Lemon-Lime, Mango Peach, Mixed Berry, and Cherry Grapefruit flavors.

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