Dave Richmond has combined his work with his love of beer for more than eight years with the Madrigrano families, and is now Global Brands Manager at Beer Capitol Distributing-Lake Country in Sussex. In his position, Dave is responsible for coordinating the marketing and merchandising programs for all the Global brands. The beer products featured in his blog are primarily those distributed but not limited to by Beer Capitol Distributing Lake Country.
Some of you will laugh at me for this, but I encourage you to read the entire post first. Beer as a holiday gift, or as part of a gift, can be a huge hit for beer lovers and non-beer lovers alike. It's all about how you package it.
Here are some ideas:
A New Take on an Old Classic
Put a new twist on the age-old fruit basket by adding beer to the equation. Many specialty beers are garnished with citrus and other types of fruits. Load a basket with a few oranges and a couple bottles of Blue Moon and Leinie's Sunset Wheat. Add some lemons, limes and a few bottles of Hofbrau Weiss, Corona or Modelo.
A Gift that Sizzles
For the culinary-inclined, check out a beer cookbook like The Beer Cook Book by Susan Nowak or The Beer Makes it Better Cook Book by Maria Russell. Add a few beers and ingredients to the package and it makes a perfect gift. Or get really creative and include a nice dish, utensils or other cooking-related gifts as part of a cooking with beer basket.
Glass with Class
From flutes and goblets to snifters and mugs, different types of beers require different types of glasses. For a true beer enthusiast or for those who like to entertain, include a set or two of glassware and the beers best served in each. Package pint glasses with Anchor Steam Porter and Bells Kalamazoo Stout, pilsner glasses with Pilsner Urquell, and wheat beer glasses with Leinie's Sunset Wheat.
A Winning Pair
To satisfy a sweet-toothed beer lover, look no further than the local specialty grocer. Just as champagne pairs with strawberries, dark rich beers pair well with dark rich chocolates. Create a gift box filled with imported dark chocolates and a few bottles of Breckenridge Vanilla Porter or Negra Modelo.
The Beer that Keeps on Giving
Create a customized beer of the month club. Place the first of the beers under the tree along with details on the club and the remaining beers that will arrive at the lucky recipient's doorstep. Get creative and choose a theme. Focus on varieties of a specific type of beer (follow a wheat trend by giving 12 different wheat beers like Leinie's Sunset Wheat and Capital Island Wheat), choose a craft brewer and give 12 different beers made by that brewer (Lakefront Brewing Co., Bells Brewing, or Great Lakes Brewing Co.), or look for the most interesting beer names and give 12 varieties of uniquely named beer.
There are so many ways to have fun with beer as a gift. Some may even appreciate a simple six-pack with a bow set under the tree. But, if you're looking for a way to personalize a gift this year, beer is the way to go!
Maybe you’ve got friends or family in from out of town. Or maybe you've just got an afternoon to kill. Whatever the reason – and you don’t really need one – checking out some of our local brewery tours is great, inexpensive fun.
Not only do you get to see where and exactly how some of your favorite hometown beer is born, you’ll undoubtedly come away with some trivia to enlighten your friends or boss with.
Here are two popular options:
LAKEFRONT BREWERY, 1872 N. Commerce St.
Web site: www.lakefrontbrewery.com
They’re not joking when they call this tour “infamous.” Most Friday and Saturday tours sell out fast and even faster when there’s a Brewer’s game or Summerfest is on, so come early and be prepared to wait in line. That said, there’s a reason this tour sells out. First, it’s a great value. For $5 you get a souvenir Lakefront glass and four beer vouchers to use as you go through the tour. Secondly, the tour guides are hilarious and keep the mood light and fun. While the beers available for sampling during the tour change by season, you can usually count on Riverwest Stein, Eastside Dark and Cattail Ale being on tap.
Details: Tours are $5 and are held at 3 p.m. Monday – Thursday; additional tours are offered on Fridays at 5:30, 6, 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. These additional Friday tours are $10 but they come with a $5 coupon for the brewery’s restaurant, Lakefront Palm Garden. Saturday tours ($5) are at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 and 3 p.m. A special tour detailing the brewery’s efforts to be an environmentally friendly operation are guided by president Russ Klisch and begin at 3:30 p.m. on Fridays. No reservations taken.
December tours extended: As an early holiday gift, Lakefront is adding more tours the their regular schedule at the end of the month. Dec. 24 – 27 and 31 at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. And on Dec. 28, tours will run every half hour from 1 – 7:30 p.m.
MILLER BREWING COMPANY, 4251 W. State St.
Web site: www.millerbrewing.com
First off, this one is FREE. It lasts about an hour and includes an informative video and up-close look at the brew house and the company’s brewing process, packaging center and historical caves. The tour concludes with some frosty beer sampling in the Miller Inn or if weather permits, in the beer garden. Some of the beers up for sampling will include Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft and High Life.
Details: Tours generally run from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. That said, the tour schedule is updated daily so before you head down, call 931-BEER for exact times. For groups of 15 or more call 414-931-3552 for reservations (not available on Saturdays).
So, what's my next topic on tap? Yours.
Since September, I’ve offered my opinion, tips and ideas of all things beer on this blog. Now, it’s time to hear from you.
Got a beer topic you’d like me to tackle? A mystery of the malt, barely and hops that you need unraveled? Send me an email about it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can’t say I’ll address every inquiry but if it’s something I think others will find value in learning about, I’ll give it a go and post what I know/learn here.