Rose is a relatively new style of craft beer that’s increasing in popularity, but the jury is still out whether it will be a long-term success.
Rose beers are “absolutely a trend, especially in these hot summer months,” says the Brewers Association trade group while promoting the Super Bowl of the craft-beer industry — next month’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
The trend has been noticed by brewers at Upland Brewing Companyin Bloomington, Indiana. Two of the brewery’s most popular rose beers are Petal to the Kettle, which includes rose hips, hibiscus and strawberry, and Oak & Rose, which has chambourcin grapes from the brewery’s local vineyard.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in sales from our rose beers,” says Pete Batule, Upland’s COO and head of brewing operations. “Petal to the Kettle and Oak & Rose are tart in flavor and what we would consider sour beer styles. While sour beers are not a new trend, rose beers are a much more recent trend. The color attracts a lot of drinkers, and rose beers are wonderfully refreshing for summertime.”
“Collaborations between wineries and breweries are popular and a lot of fun,” says Tom Fiorenzi, director of brewing for Shiner beer in Shiner, Texas, which launched Brewer’s Pride Rose Pale Ale this past spring. “The winemaker and the brewmaster get a chance to share stories and come up with a great beer they both like.”
Shiner’s rose pale ale was brewed in collaboration with Kiepersol Vineyard & Winery in Tyler, Texas. The ale was aged in wine barrels “for a layer of oak flavor and complexity,” the brewery says.
Calicraft Brewing Company, of Walnut Creek, California has been making rose ales since 2014, and its founder and CEO, Blaine Landberg, doesn’t believe in rose beers’ staying power.
“I don’t believe rose beers are a trend that’s here to stay,” Landberg says. “They are valid forms of experimentation, but, after making them for so many years, we see that they are probably not the next IPA category.”
Rose beers, he says, are “a niche product that some consumers are passionate about.”
Brewers produce rose beers, he says, because they are looking to create lighter styles with more flavor. “Rose is the craft industry trying to figure out how to make something that is interesting and different but doesn’t overwhelm consumers”