25 May 2016
Upland today announced a significant expansion of its award-winning Sour Ale program. Started in 2006, the program began as a way for Upland to experiment with a brewing style that went back hundreds of years in Europe, but was far less common in America.
Since then, what began as a passion project for the brewery has evolved into a true art form. Ten years of dedication to craft — along with a focus on creativity and innovation — have been rewarded with a GABF Gold Medal and multiple World Class rankings from Beer Advocate.
The roster of sour ales from Upland includes the GABF award-winning Sour Reserve, notable fruited styles and several other high-demand sour ales.
The program’s expansion coincides with the opening of a new facility dedicated solely to producing sour ales. Located in Bloomington, Indiana, adjacent to Upland’s 11th Street Brew Pub, the facility is named “The Wood Shop” — a nod to the barrels used in aging Upland’s sour ales, as well as a term for the place where craftsmen tinker and experiment. This focus on innovation will be the key point as Upland expands its offerings across the country.
“This expansion increases the amount of beer available to meet the high demand, but more importantly, it increases our capacity for experimentation,” says Doug Dayhoff, Upland President. “Traditionally inspired sour ales take time to come to life, and the cellar capacity gives us more batches to blend into interesting creations.”
Upland’s 750ml sour ales have primarily been available to their Secret Barrel Society, a membership group that serve as ambassadors for the program, and through an online lottery. Now, Upland will offer many of its sour ales in additional formats, both 330ml and 500ml, that will be available for sale in bottle shops and beer bars; certain sour ales will also be available on draught. Together, these new formats will allow the brewery to distribute its sour ales in top beer markets across the country. Low-volume and one-of-a-kind blends will continue to primarily be available as limited releases to the Secret Barrel Society and online lottery.
“In rolling out the new formats and new beers, we have also updated the packaging and bottle to better represent the Upland Sour Ales program,” notes Pete Batule, VP of Operations. “Brewing a traditionally inspired, wood-aged sour ale is an art, where each beer is a unique creation blended together into a beautiful drinking experience.”
To develop the new packaging and program branding, Upland worked with Indianapolis advertising agency Young & Laramore, as well as Michael Cina, an artist based in Minneapolis. “Michael Cina’s style depicts a beautiful blend of science and art, each resulting in a stunning visual experience,” says Dayhoff.
“Paired with a new Belgian style bottle, we think it’s a great way to represent what you are getting in each bottle of an Upland Sour Ale.”
The Wood Shop is now open to the public. New beers, packaging and increased distribution will all start in July and continue throughout the year.