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Cigar City expanding distribution to North Carolina

jaialai1Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing Company is a true Florida success story. Coming from humble beginnings and crafty outstanding brews, they have grown to become one of the best-known breweries in Florida. Their annual Hunahpu’s Day Craft Beer Festival and bottle release attracts beer-lovers and brewers from around the country and even the world.

Now, the company is expanding its domestic distribution to North Carolina to grow its U.S. footprint and bring Florida-style brews like flagship Jai Alai IPA to the beer fanatics of the Blue Ridge Mountains and beyond.

Get all the distribution and launch event details in the official press release below:

TAMPA, FL & ASHEVILLE, NC – Cigar City Brewing Company Announces North Carolina
Distribution

Tampa, Florida’s Cigar City Brewing is proud to announce the addition of North Carolina to
the brewery’s distribution network. This is the second new state to receive deliveries of
Cigar City Brewing’s award-winning beer in over four years. CCB will be partnering with
numerous distribution partners to cover the state including Skyland Distributing Co.,
United Beverages of North Carolina, R.H. Barringer Distributing Company, Long Beverage
Inc., Carolina Distributing LLC, Healy Wholesale Co Inc., Atlantic Shores Distributors,
Coastal Beverage Co. and City Beverage Co Inc. Twelve ounce cans of Jai Alai IPA, Maduro
Brown Ale, Florida Cracker Belgian-style White Ale, Invasion Pale Ale and Tampa-style
Lager can currently be found in this new market with draft beer to follow shortly behind.

Market launch events will be taking place across North Carolina from March 21st thru
March 29th with numerous Cigar City Brewing representatives present, including Cigar
City Brewing’s El Lector Neil Callaghan and Brand Manager Lucas Widrick. These events
will be incredible opportunities for North Carolina’s craft beer fans to enjoy some of the
first CCB beer to be shipped to the state and to learn about Cigar City Brewing’s brand and
it’s award winning beer from the people who know it best.

Cigar City Brewing’s official North Carolina Launch Party will be taking place at Oskar
Blues’ Tasty Weasel Taproom in Brevard on Saturday, March 25th beginning at noon. This
event will feature specialty Cigar City Brewing taps, a Jai Alai-infused food special from the Oskar Blues CHUBwagon food truck and live music from South Carolina rockers The
Excons from 6-8pm.

Cigar City Brewing’s beer, including award-winning Jai Alai IPA, is now available in eight
states encompassing Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York,
Tennessee and North Carolina. Cigar City Brewing’s ales and lagers are also exported to
the country of Denmark.

Cigar City Brewing’s North Carolina Launch Events

Week of 3/20 – Raleigh
● 3/21: Tyler’s Durham
● 3/22: Raleigh Times
● 3/23: Raleigh Beer Garden

Week of 3/20 – Brevard
● 3/25: Launch party at Oskar Blues Brewery’s Tasty Weasel Taproom in Brevard

Week of 3/27 – Asheville
● 3/27: Barley’s (Asheville)
● 3/28: Creekside Tavern
● 3/29: Black Rose (Hendersonville)

Week of 3/27 – Charlotte
● 3/28: Brawley’s Beverage
● 3/29: Duckworth’s (Huntersville)
● 3/30: Pub Crawl — Harris Teeter #11, Growler USA, Kit’s Trackside Craft, The

Fillmore Charlotte (for The Flaming Lips show)

Visit Cigar City Brewing’s website [ www.cigarcitybrewing.com ] to find the CCB beer closest to
you.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Oskar Blues GUBNA switching to draft only

hand-picking-hops-for-oskar-blues-gubna-imperial-ipa-craft-beerWhen GUBNA first came on to the beer scene in 2011, it quickly became a sensation with its in-your-face wallop of hops. Since then the annual release has been something that many hop heads look forward to with great anticipation. In the past, cans of the pungent brew were available in most markets served by Oskar Blues. But, this year the brewery is changing things up and only making it available on draft in most markets. Cans will only be available at the brewery’s taprooms in Colorado and North Carolina.

Learn more about this year’s incarnation of GUBNA in the official press release below:

 Longmont, CO, Brevard, NC, & Austin, TX – Oskar Blues Brewery’s GUBNA Imperial IPA is back in the mix for year six with an emphasis on the sticky-icky and a hop punch-in-the-mouth.

Every year Oskar Blues’ eccentric fellowship of deranged brewers work with hop growers to seek out the most potent, unique and mind-bending hop varietals of the season. By annually altering the hop bill, GUBNA continually reinvents itself while letting the best and brightest of these powerful flowers flourish. This year’s disestablishmentarian dankness comes from a blend of Azacca, Sterling, and Crystal hops hand-selected by sensory panels at each of OB’s three breweries.

“The traditional hops beat out some newer, experimental varietals this year, which surprised many of us  here at OB,” said Tim Matthews, Head of Brewing Operations. “But the hops just spoke to the nearly 100 employees that participated in GUBNA hop selection and we must obey the rub.”

GUBNA clocks in at over 100 IBUs and at 10% ABV it’s a beer that you better sit down to drink before it sits you down. Expect big zesty lime and orange flavors, with a spicy/herbal sweet aroma and all the dank you’d expect from the intense hop load. The GUB, as always, sits on a base of Rye, North American Pale, and Munich malts, which offers a smooth and flavorful backbone to support the gargantuan load of hops.

In an effort to preserve GUBNA’s finest quality, the freshness of its hops, the imperial IPA, previously featured nationally in cans, will switch to a draft-only offering across the country. 12 oz. cans will only be available for to-go purchase in the Colorado and North Carolina Tasty Weasel taprooms.

Free-flowing GUBNA goodness will be available nationwide on draft in bars from March to May while supplies last. Use our Beer Finder at http://www.oskarblues.com/beerfinder to load up.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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Green beer’s dubious beginnings

Green-BeerGreen beer has become a staple of many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations all across the United States. But, who came up with the original idea and why would someone take a perfectly good beer and turn it a most unnatural shade of green? By most accounts, the story of green beer goes back to New York City 102 years ago.

In the mostly Irish neighborhoods of the New York City borough the Bronx, a coroner and toastmaster by the name Dr. Thomas Hayes Curtin – himself an Irish immigrant — debuted his invention at a social club during a St. Patrick’s Day feast. Guests at the feast were astonished and delighted at the wondrous beer before them.

“No, it wasn’t a green glass, but real beer in a regular colorless glass,” wrote syndicated columnist, Charles Henry Adams in his column New York Day by Day, March 26, 1914. “But the amber hue was gone from the brew and a deep green was there instead.”

When pressed for the detail of how he had created the deep green brew, Adams reported that Curtin was reserved in his response. He would only say that the effect was achieved by adding a single drop of “wash blue” – an iron-based wash additive used to whiten clothes – to a certain volume of beer. He did not divulge the exact amount of beer he added the toxic substance to change it green but it was presumably a large enough volume to dilute the poisonous effects of wash blue.

But, another newspaper, the Spokane Press, also made mention of a green beer in 1910. Under a headline proclaiming, “Green Beer Be Jabbers!” (be jabbers is apparently an excited swear) the newspaper relates an account of a local bar pouring green beer. But, the beer did not get its color artificially.

“It is a regular beer,” the paper reported. “Apparently it has not been colored locally. It tastes like beer and looks like paint, or rather like the deep green waves in mid-ocean with the sun striking them through.”

The article went on to say that the bartender was the only person that knew how the beer had turned green and he was not revealing the secret.

“All day he has been drawing from one of the regular taps,” the article said. “And no one has seen him dump in any arsenic.”

A comforting thought, that.

The idea of serving green beer itself may have come from an old Irish tradition called “drowning the shamrock.” Men were said to have dropped a shamrock into their whiskey after parades and special events. The custom was meant to bring good luck to the imbiber because of the holy meaning ascribed to shamrocks.

Legend has it that St. Patrick himself used the abundant shamrock as a prop to explain the concept of the holy trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost — to King Laoghaire of Ireland in the early days of the Catholic church. The holiday now celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day began as a holy fest day to honor Patrick’s death on March 17, 461. Because the feast day falls in the middle of Lent when Catholics are supposed to practice abstinence from meat and alcohol, the church lifted the restrictions giving rise to over-consumption since Lent had several weeks left.

Whether green beer began in New York or Spokane, one thing is certain, there will be plenty of green beer flowing from taps next week for St. Patrick’s Day. Though now beer is tinted green with food coloring rather than poison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in Beer, Beer history

 

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Hunahpu’s Day 2017: A long road to perfection

Hunahpus-Day-2017-Tease-300x300Back in 2010, Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout made its debut in the beer scene. The decadent stout aged on cacao nibs, Madagascar vanilla beans, ancho chilies, pasilla chilies and cinnamon garnered Cigar City a gold medal at the 2010 and 2011 U.S. Open Beer Championships catapulting it to the national beer scene’s attention.

In that first year, Hunahpu’s release day was a relatively small event held in the brewery tap room. Several hundred beer-lovers gathered to taste and purchase bottles of the beer with little fanfare. But, as word of the beer spread through the beer community, demand began to grow. The beer became a hot commodity on many beer trading websites and, as bottles became more scarce, demand grew to a fever pitch.

Taking notice of the demand for the beer, the brewery planned a bigger event for the second release date. Dubbed Hunahpu’s Day, in 2011 guest breweries were invited to bring their rare and specialty beers, set up tents and offer tastes of their beers on a pay-per-pour basis. Crowds were heavy, but manageable. Except for a few scuffles over line position, the event went well enough for Cigar City to plan the same type of event for the next year.

By 2013, the hype of Hunahpu’s Day had built to such a level that hundreds – perhaps thousands — of beer aficionados queued up to get their allotment of the brew. The line was so long that the line ran several blocks up the street from the brewery and into a nearby shopping center parking lot. Rabid fans began lining up as early as 8:00 p.m. the night before, camping out at the gates of the brewery in order to be one of the first to sample the cornucopia of rare beers brought by breweries from all over the country. Many brought coolers and shared beer as a way to whittle away at the time.

Complaints of long lines began within the first hour or so of the event. Crowds crushed in to lines at the most popular tents creating waits of more than an hour. Often, unscrupulous guests would cut the line and walk right up to the front much to the ire of those who had been waiting in the hot Florida sun. To make matters worse, a staffing agency had been hired to provide servers who had no training on how to pour beer causing even longer waits.

After the event was over, it was estimated 9,000 guests passed through the gates at Cigar City leaving over-flowing port-a-lets, mounds of trash and myriad complaints from guest who were unable to get beers they had set their minds on drinking. But, due to some quick thinking by Cigar City owner, Joey Redner who reduced bottle purchase limits from three per person to two, anyone who wanted a bottle of Hunahpu’s was able to purchase one.

The massive crowds of the past led Redner and Cigar City Brewing President Toni Derby to change the format to a ticketed event in 2014. It was also decided that the event would be limited to 3,500 attendees. Ticket holders were entitled to unlimited tastes of guest beers and guaranteed an opportunity to purchase an allotment of three bottles. When the tickets went on sale on Eventbrite, they sold out in less than two hours. In theory, by limiting the number of guests, the brewery would be better able to plan for the event and insure that there would be plenty of beer for everyone. Further, guests were to be issued a silver wristband upon entry that would be removed when they had purchased their bottles of beer. Guests were told that they could purchase their allotment of bottles any time during the day, but that at 4:00 p.m. remaining bottles would be available for purchase without limit.

Because of the popularity of the event in the past and the speed at which tickets sold out, a lively secondary market for ticket sales popped up on other online outlets such as Craigslist. Since tickets purchased on Eventbrite can be printed at home, at least one – and likely several – purchasers made copies of tickets and sold the copies online. As the counterfeit tickets began appearing at the festival gates, arguments between duped guests and ticket-takers broke out. The line to get into the event began to grow and tempers flared. A snap decision was made to open the gates to everyone. The influx of bodies filled the brewery parking lot to capacity and beer lines grew longer and longer.

Then, at 4:00 p.m. when open bottle sales began the crowd shifted from the tasting lines to the purchase lines. Thousands crowded in, vying to get extra bottles.  Many purchased the 22-ounce bottles in cases of 12. But, as the feeding frenzy escalated, it became apparent that there were many guests who still had their silver wristbands and had not been able to purchase their promised three bottles. Clashes broke out between those buying extra bottles and those trying to get their allotment.

By 5:00 p.m. the bottles sold out. Redner, looking frazzled, put his hands into the air and announced that there were no more bottles to sell and police officers moved in to close the metal bay doors. The crowd became even more agitated with several banging on the doors others chanting, “Cigar City sucks!” To many caught in the middle of the crowd, it looked as if a riot could break out.

In the end, the festival was concluded early and, as the dust settled, Redner made an apology and a promise to get Hunahpu’s to any who did not get their allotment. Later, in a statement, he said, “I am acknowledging defeat. That was the last Hunahpu’s Day. The beer will go into distribution next year and hopefully spread out among many accounts, it will get to consumers more fairly.”

But, though it looked as if Hunahpu’s Day would never happen again, Cigar City surprised consumers and announced that there would indeed be a Hunahpu’s Day 2015. But, the event would be a strictly controlled, ticketed event limited to 2,000 attendees with a ticket price of $200. Each ticket included four bottles of Hunahpu’s to be handed out as guests left the festival. They also included food and unlimited tastings of guest beers.

The event went off without a hitch.

Then, in 2016, the brewery decided to take its show on the road and hold the event at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park on Tampa’s waterfront. The change of venue allowed the event to stretch out a bit and kept it from feeling so crowded. It also allowed the event to grow to include more brewers and that meant more exceptional beers to taste.

This year, Cigar City’s Hunahpu’s Day will once again occupy Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park with even more brewers than 2016. The lineup includes such luminaries in the brewing business as Anderson Valley, Black Project, Crooked Stave, Firestone Walker, Fremont and Toppling Goliath. In addition, there are 16 breweries from 13 different countries as far flung as Russia, New Zealand and Sweden that will afford beer lovers tastes of beers they may never otherwise be able to try.

The 2017 edition if Hunahpu’s Day takes place Saturday, March 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, 601 Old Water St., Tampa, Fla.

Cigar City advises all attendees to plan on taking Uber to the event.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2017 in Beer, Beer Festival, Beer Releases

 

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Beer and baseball; a match made in St. Louis

browns_beerAs Spring Training hits its stride, I thought you might enjoy reading a bit about how two of America’s summertime favorites came together. Originally published in my Folio Weekly column Pint-Sized last summer, this piece explains the magical marriage of beer and baseball.

Baseball is a game steeped in nostalgia. Every crack of the bat hitting a ball evokes memories of sluggers from the past like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Lou Gehrig. The cheer of the crowd mingles with the smell of popcorn and hot dogs. And, perhaps the most important part of the experience is the shout of vendors announcing, “Cold beer here!”

Beer and baseball are a given today. The beverage is so entrenched in the game that its absence would seem odd. But, the love affair of beer and baseball was not always so fervent. In the beginning the National League did not want beer in its ballparks when it debuted in 1876. It took the American Association’s entry to bring beer to the game.

In 1882, the AA came to the realization that baseball should appeal to blue collar workers as well as the upper crust. To draw more of the working class to games, the AA lowered ticket prices, scheduled games on Sundays and offered alcohol for sale at the games. This approach appealed to the marketing gurus at breweries so much that many of the teams were backed by them. But, the AA could not sustain operations and folded after the 1891 season. Players were absorbed by the NL and, because of its popularity, alcohol sales became the norm in NL ballparks.

One of the earliest instances of a team embracing beer in the ballpark is the case of the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The team, later to be known as the Cardinals, was owned by Christian Friedrich Wilhelm Von Der Ahe a saloon owner who noticed that business in his bar increased on game days. With this information, Van Der Ahe surmised that spectators would likely enjoy a few brews during a game and he installed a beer garden at the team’s home, Sportsman’s Park. The idea was a hit.

Over the years, beer has grown to be inextricably associated with the game. Breweries took notice of the popularity of baseball and began to formulate marketing campaigns. In 1941, Falstaff began sponsoring Dizzy Dean’s radio broadcasts of Browns games and 30 years later sponsored Harry Carey’s “Holy cow!” punctuated broadcasts.

Brewers began positioning themselves with local baseball teams and formed relationships to be the official beers of teams and stadiums. In New York, the Yankees became associated with Ballantine and the Mets sidled up to Rheingold. Beer was so popular in baseball that Milwaukee, a bastion of German beer production, named their team the Brewers. The big beer producers became almost synonymous with baseball with advertising in stadiums, sponsorship of broadcasts – both radio and television – and stadiums named for brands.

Today, with the craft beer revolution in full swing, ballparks are adding locally-brewed beers to their lineup. In Jacksonville, our minor league team the Suns, serve several local brews from Intuition Ale Works, Bold City and more as well as a selection of craft beers from brewers outside the area.

As an experience, sitting in the stands of a stadium, watching the heroes of the diamond gracefully make plays would just not feel complete without a hot dog in one hand and a cold beer in the other. It’s perhaps the most perfect way to spend a balmy summer evening – and perhaps the most American.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2017 in Beer, Beer history

 

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World of Beer Drink It Intern returns for second year

wob_intern_01-625x352If you missed your opportunity to become a World of Beer intern last summer, worry not because the beer bar franchise is repeating the program again this summer. Three lucky beer-lovers will be chosen to spend three months on the road drinking beer, meeting the people who make it and reporting back through a variety of media.

If you think you have what it takes — and can take three months off of work — to drink, mingle and report, check out all the details in the official press release below.

Tampa, FL (March 1, 2017) — World of Beer (WOB) is on the hunt for three interns to travel the country this summer and live, drink and share the best of the beer world with brew lovers everywhere. With more than 70 locations, WOB is the perfect place to gather, drink, eat and explore beer, and its mission is to share beer and beer stories with its customers.

For the second year in a row, the Drink It Intern program seeks beer fans to travel and showcase awesome beer communities big and small, while sharing the stories of everything they experience along the way.  Whether you’re a photographer or writer, social media maverick or beer blog surfer, WOB is looking for you. Adventure seekers and storytellers, beer experts or novices, brewery nerds and foodie fans are all open to apply. So if you want to learn about beer, travel, drink and tell your tale to the world, get ready to apply for the chance to share your experience as a Drink It Intern.

Internships run May through August and interns will capture content that gives beer fans a behind-the-scenes look at the fan-favorite brews and share the untold stories of beer communities that make up the country. Free beer isn’t the only perk in this job— each intern will be paid $12,000, plus travel expenses.

“World of Beer was established with the belief that great beer and beer stories have an inordinate ability to connect people, establish community and create lasting memories,” said World of Beer CMO Terry Haley. “Our Drink It Interns embody this belief as they document their journey through craft beer culture, to offer a fresh and highly personal perspective to the craft beer community, while gaining career and life skills along their journey.”

The selected Drink It Interns will be World of Beer narrators, capturing content from around the country and the world and sharing it back via WOB social media channels to fans, bringing fresh stories and new insights in the world of brew traveling. The interns will be reporting on a behind-the-scenes look at the beer industry, covering brewery and WOB events, while gaining real-world experience in a professional field that offers limitless possibilities.

“The 2016 Drink It Interns traveled to some of the most iconic beer communities across the country and around the world. This year, we are again looking forward to our interns highlighting amazing breweries, big and small, that make up the fabric of the beer community,” said World of Beer Director of Brand Marketing, Hannah Davis.

For a taste of the Drink It Intern experience, view the 2016 intern journeys here.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted online March 1 – March 26, 2017. Whether you’re a college student, new graduate or a working professional in need of a sabbatical, all beer lovers of legal drinking age are encouraged to apply.

Application Process:

Round 1: Submit your application online from March 1 – March 26, 2017, and share a one-minute video that shows your passion and interest in the position. The videos should help us get to know you better. Your most epic beer memory, best trip you’ve ever been on or an ode to your favorite beer are all fair game. Pay attention to the entry requirements — all videos must meet the approved criteria to be considered.

Round 2: In-Person Interviews in a WOB Near You
The best applicants will move on to Round 2 and be asked to come to one of the WOB locations below on April 8, 2017, for a live interview with a panel of beer-lebrity judges. Candidates should be ready to show us their true personality, wow us with their social media and creative prowess, impress us with their passion for beer and food, and own the stage in front of our panelists and customers.

Locations:

  • Henderson, NV
  • Ft. Worth, TX
  • Tampa International, FL
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Cambridgeside, MA
  • Columbus – High St., OH
  • University – Gainesville, FL
  • Rockville, MD
  • St. Paul, MN

Customers who didn’t apply are encouraged to come out to watch the live interviews. During this round, WOB guests can participate in the fun — a vote for their favorite candidate in-tavern will result in a free beer (where legal).

Candidates must be 21 years old to apply and will need to be available on a part-time basis from May 2017 – August 2017. Candidates must be open to travel and able to work on deadline. The Drink It Intern program is open to applicants in all 50 states. For more details and to apply, visit www.worldofbeer.com/drinkitintern.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2017 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Guinness launches “Give a ‘Stache” campaign

guinness_logoIt is no secret that Guinness has been and continues to be a huge part of nearly all St. Patrick Day celebrations. This year the iconic Irish brew wants to give back. See all the details in the official press release below.

Above the Upper Lip, USA (February 23, 2017) – Once a year, as the cold begins to thaw and the first hints of spring are in the air, St. Patrick’s Day comes along to give us a reason to celebrate – and especially right here, right now, it’s time we celebrate what brings us together. The Guinness brand is synonymous with this holiday, and now more than ever, it’s up to us to help start great conversations, and to show that St. Patrick’s Day can bring out the best in all of us.

It’s no secret that each pint of Guinness stout, when enjoyed slowly, leaves behind a foam mustache after the first sip. This year, the ‘Stache will be the brewer’s overarching symbol for building the bonds between us, encouraging all of us to come together, no matter our backgrounds, beliefs or political leanings. In that spirit, from now through March 19, 2017, adult beer lovers can share photos of their ‘Staches – self-grown and groomed, drawn-on, or Guinness-enhanced – on social media. For each photo tagging @GuinnessUS and using #StacheForCharity, Guinness will donate $1 (up to $100,000) to the Guinness Gives Back Fund*, which supports nonprofits that contribute to the common good in our communities.

“Let’s face it, now’s as good a time as any to raise a pint,” said Guinness Brand Director Emma Giles. “We need to reconnect with what can bring us together as family, friends, coworkers, Americans, and most basically, human beings. St. Patrick’s Day is almost here and few, if any, holidays are as unifying or as celebratory.”

The symbol of the ‘Stache will appear alongside Guinness brand activity, including at bars and restaurants, throughout the St. Patrick’s Day season. To spread the word about the good a ‘Stache can do, the brand is releasing digital content that shows people of all backgrounds sporting ‘Staches, thus turning the brand’s iconic foam into a symbol for unity. A separate video series will follow a Guinness ambassador around town, where he finds the Guinness spirit in the unlikeliest of places.

“There’s just something about the Guinness ‘Stache that makes you crack a smile,” Giles said. “What better symbol this time of year for unity, communion and giving back?”

To keep an eye on everything the Guinness brand is doing and to get in on the ‘Stache action, follow @GuinnessUS on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Whether you’re having a Guinness Draught and getting your ‘Stache, or ordering up any other Guinness beer this St. Patrick’s Day, please respect the beer and drink sensibly.

* The Guinness Gives Back Fund is a corporate donor advised fund administered by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Beer, Imports

 

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