Tag Archives: Atlanta

SweetWater vs. Sam Adams Super Bowl match-up

superbowlWith the Super Bowl just a few days away, the smack is running fast and hard. The New England Patriots will battle the Atlanta Falcons for the ultimate title of Super Bowl LI Champions. But, there is another rivalry brewing between Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Company and Boston’s Samuel Adams brewing. 

It began last week when Browns Bridge Exxon Station in Gainesville, a suburb of Atlanta, posted a sign on their beer cooler informing buyers, “We will not be selling any Sam Adams beer until after the Super Bowl!”

The statement was followed by the hashtag #riseup.

To spread the word even further, store manager Viral Chhadua, posted to the store’s Facebook page that they would be promoting local, Atlanta brewery SweetWater.

“We’re promoting your ATLANTA based beer instead,” Chhadua wrote. “So if you guys want to send us to the Super Bowl we wouldn’t hate ya for it.”

The gas station’s ban of Sam Adams went quickly went viral and sparked a good-natured Twitter war between the two breweries. In the end, a wager was struck with the loser agreeing to rename one of their beers to honor the winning team.



According to a report on WSB-TV 2 in Atlanta, Chhadua says the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s been positive from the Falcons’ fans and of course not so friendly from the Boston fans, but they’ve been good sports. They’re laughing at it and enjoying the banter,” he said.

Jim Koch, the CEO and founder of Boston Beer Company, also known as Samuel Adams Brewing Company, took the ribbing in stride.

“We know what it’s like to be superfans of your hometown football team, so there’s no hard feelings,” Koch told the Boston Globe. “This isn’t the first time we’ve been banned before the big game (ahem, four rings), and we hope it won’t be the last. We’ll be toasting our hometown team with Sam Adams alongside New England fans everywhere.”

Who will come out on top and win bragging — and beer naming — rights? Only time will tell. One thing is certain, fans on both sides of the game can look forward to a good game and more smack talk tweets in the next few days and during the game.

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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Beer, Beer News


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SweetWater 420 to be served on Delta flights to NYC

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If you are flying from the Southeastern United States to just about anywhere else chances are you will have a stop at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Located seven miles south of downtown Atlanta, Hartsfield has had the distinction of being the busiest airport in the world since 1998. Nearly 95 million people pass through the concourses of the airport every year to board nearly 1 million flights. By any accounting, that is a lot of traffic.

Hartsfield-Jackson is also the central hub for one of the nation’s largest airlines; Delta. With almost 1,000 flights per day Delta ushers over 59% of their passengers through the airport. And it is because of those numbers that Delta’s new partnership with another Atlanta icon; SweetWater Brewing Company.

In an announcement made through Facebook in Thursday, March 27, SweetWater announced that cans of their flagship 420 Pale Ale will be stocked on all Delta flights bound for LaGuardia Airport in New York beginning April 1, 2014.

Prior to just a few months ago, it was impossible for SweetWater’s beers to be made available on flights because they were only packaged in glass bottles. With the higher precautions do to the events of 9/11, glass and airplanes just doesn’t mix. But, cans are perfectly acceptable for aircraft.

420 is one of the first craft beers to make it on to Delta’s in-flight menu and the brewery could not be happier. In an article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, SweetWater founder Freddie Bench said, “Our new cans eliminate the glass restrictions that previously held us back from offering our beer in great spots like airplanes, stadiums, beaches and more.”

In March, the brewery began canning 420 using a special can-conditioning process that produces a stable beer with a longer shelf life. The process is similar to the used by many brewers to “bottle-condition” beers. A small amount of sugar and yeast is added to the bottle before it is sealed, as the yeast eats the sugar it also removes any oxygen that may be in the can. By removing oxygen, the bane of all beer, the brewery extends the beer’s shelf life.

Delta will also serve SweetWater 420 on flights from Atlanta to Denver April 7-9 during the Craft Brewer’s Conference.

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Posted by on March 27, 2014 in Beer Cans, Beer News


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SweetWater 420 Festival moves to Centennial Olympic Park, unveils musical lineup

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Festival season is in full swing here in the Southeastern United States and SweetWater is gearing up for one of the biggest and best. This year marks the 10th year for the annual SweetWater 420 Festival named for their popular flagship beer SweetWater 420. And, with a decade of partying in the can, comes a new venue. This year the event will be held in the heart of downtown Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park. The weekend-long event celebrates Earth Day with music on two stages, a comedy tent, local artist market, KidZone, EDM stage, food trucks, the SweetWater craft beer experience tent, Planet 420 non-profit and environmental village and plenty of SweetWater brews.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe event is known far and wide for the outstanding musical talent it attracts. And, while final details are being worked out on the main stage two headliners, festival goers can expect to enjoy headlining artists and local favorites like: Steel Pulse, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Galactic, Dirty Heads, Eoto, Conspirator, Anders Osborne, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Kung Fu, Honey Island Swamp Band, Wesley Cook, Music Matters Rock U Kids Bands: In Trouble, and The Endless Energy.

“SweetWater 420 Festival is an unbelievable opportunity for us to bring all of the brewery’s passions together in one great festival environment,” said Director of Marketing at SweetWater Brewing Company, Steve Farace in a press release. “As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we are laying the foundation of the festival’s future in our new home at Centennial Olympic Park, and we are looking forward to what’s in store.”

While music plays a huge role in the weekend, the festival provides many more experiences than just good jams. Making a return this year is the SweetWater Experience that brings together beer-lovers with beer industry experts for panel discussions, specialty brews and displays with a look at the culture, beliefs and history of the brewery. Last years’ Experience featured discussions with brewery owners, beer bloggers and other experts designed to round out the craft beer experience for guests and perhaps spark a deeper desire to learn about the industry movement.

Along with having a good time, giving back to the community has always been an important part of SweetWater’s culture. To that end, the festival will once again offer a variety of social and eco-friendly events and activities for guests of all ages. Planet 420 returns, housing dozens of non-profit and environmental organizations offering exhibits and workshops promoting green practices for the home.

Festival attendees can also expect to find an artist market showcasing creations from some of the regions’ most-talented craftspeople. More athletically and competitively inclined guests can participate in the SweetWater 5K run that ends at the festival site, along with Gas South’s cornhole tournament playoffs on festival grounds.

For the youngsters, the festival will provide a KidZone presented by Chipotle Mexican Grill Saturday and Sunday that includes sustainable crafts, gardening workshops, farm to table food preparation, Circus Camp activities, moon jumps, a musical instrument petting zoo and much more.

Those in need of a chuckle can slip in to the 420 Comedy Tent that will feature live comedy shows and improv workshops throughout the weekend. And, to keep things family-friendly, the laughs will be tame during the day. But, when the sun goes down, adults can enjoy full-on unfettered comedy mayhem.

This year the SweetWater 420 Festival will take place Friday, April 18 through Sunday, April 20. Tickets range from $10 for a single-day general admission pass to $18 for the entire weekend. For those who want more access and perks, VIP passes are available for $60 per day or $135 for the weekend. For more information, please visit, follow SweetWater on Twitter and Instagram @420fest, or become a fan on Facebook at

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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Beer, Beer Festival


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5 seasonal beers that are sure to bring out the holiday spirit

holiday_beersWinter is typically a slow time for the beer industry. Over the years brewers here in the United States have begun falling back on the traditions of their European forbearers and started creating special seasonal brews to not only spur sales, but to show off their brewing skills. The beers that begin appearing on store shelves in November are a collection of specialty spiced beers, imperials, stouts, and winter warmers.

No holiday season would be complete without sipping one or several of these spectacular brews that will only be on the shelves for a short time. Some of my favorites are highlighted below. Try them or search out favorites of your own to create a holiday tradition. But, whatever you do, grab these brews while you can because after the first of the year they will be much harder to find.

Accumulation White IPA – New Belgium Brewing Company, Ft. Collins, Colo.

Smooth and sweet, this IPA was created using four varieties of hops; Centennial and Target in the boil, then dry-hopped with Amarillo and Mosaic. It has a bite just like the winters in Colorado, but the addition of wheat to the mix rounds out the bitter edges and makes this a winter IPA worth seeking out.

Winter Solstice – Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Rich and malty, this brew features a smooth and creamy mouthfeel that rewards the drinker with flavors of toffee, spices and caramel.  The hops character of this Winter Warmer may be low, but the toasty malts make this a brew full of cold weather goodness perfect for sipping with a hearty holiday meal.

Cold Mountain Winter Ale – Highland Brewing Company, Asheville, North Carolina

Cold Mountain is flavored with vanilla and hazelnut for a rich, full flavor redolent with sweet malts and seasonal spices. Boasting a creamy mouth feel, this dark ale is supremely sessionable because of its lower alcohol. Share a pint with your favorite partner while cuddled in front of a roaring fire in the backyard firepit.

Festive Ale – SweetWater Brewing Company, Atlanta, Ga.

This sweet and spicy dark ale is a favorite around my house. It contains a heavy dose of cinnamon and mace – a seasoning similar to nutmeg, but without nutmeg’s overpowering nature – for a satisfyingly feisty punch that is sure to warm your bones. For a twist on how to serve it, try drizzling the inside of the glass with honey before pouring then garnishing the full glass with a cinnamon stick.

Delirium Noel — Brouwerij Huyghe, Melle, Belgium

Belgians are known for their love of the holidays and beer to go along with the season. Delirium Noel exemplifies the Belgian holiday spirit with a high alcohol brew with aromas of honey, apples and gingerbread. Flavors like toffee, figs and holiday spices flood the senses  in each sip of this exuberant holiday beer.

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Posted by on December 18, 2013 in Beer Styles


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Tenacity secret to Terrapin Beer Company success

terra1The drive from Atlanta to Athens, Ga. usually takes about 45 minutes. However, when the weather turns bad, it can take much longer. That is why, on a drizzly morning, we woke up early in our Atlanta hotel to make the trek to the college town to the east. Our destination was the Terrapin brewery where we were to meet up with Brian “Spike” Buckowski, brewer and co-founder, for a tour of the facility and a chat about how it came to be one of the quintessential breweries of the south.

From the outside, the brewery building gives little clue of what happens inside. It is situated on a road with other industrial buildings just outside of Athens. We pulled in and dashed through the heavy mist to the reception area terra2where we sat with a rather friendly brewery cat and waited for Spike to arrive.

Minutes later, Spike passed through the front door, coffee in hand and greeted us warmly. Spike and I had met several times before, but I got the feeling that he just genuinely likes meeting with and talking to people, particularly if it is about his beer.

After a few pleasantries, we donned safety glasses and walked into the mammoth brewery space. Production was busily going on as bottles were filled and palletized. We were treated to a tank-top view of their 100-barrel brewhouse and the control room where Spike works his terra3magic. Along the way, John Cochran, president and co-founder of Terrapin joined us. Spike and John met in 1997 while working at a brewery in Atlanta. The two became friends and, while working together, came up with the beginnings of what would become the Terrapin Beer Company.

“When we started it was really kind of a joke.” Spike said.

The story begins with Spike and John attending an Opening Day Atlanta Braves baseball game with their manager from the brewery. On the following day the manager was given a tongue lashing from the brewery’s owner for leaving work early to go to the game. The three were given penance of using rollers to tar the company parking lot. While working on the parking lot, Spike and John began talking about opening their own brewery.

Spike, being a huge fan of the Grateful Dead, tossed out the name Terrapin for the group’s album Terrapin Station.

“It’s slow, it’s steady, it’s a turtle, and it rolls of f the tongue,” Spike said of the name choice. The name stuck, but at that point that is all the two friends had.

Around that time, John found a book about how to write a business plan. He began working on the plan for their dream as he read through the book and completed the exercises it contained.

“We didn’t know what we were doing,” John said of writing the plan. Nevertheless, for a year and a half he plugged away at it until finally it was done.

John decided to leave the brewery where he and Spike had met and learn another aspect of the beer business. With that, he began working for a distributor in North Georgia. The experience paid off by providing him with a foundation for marketing and distribution of his brand.

Spike went to work for an upstart brewery in the heart of Midtown Atlanta called Black Bear Brewing Company. He approached the owners with the idea that he and John could contract brew at their brewery to help them keep their tanks full and operate more efficiently and cost effectively. Unfortunately, a month before the brewery was set to open, Black Bear ran out of funding and closed up shop. Soon after that, 9/11 happened and the friends were left without a brewery for their beer.

“Every hurdle that could possibly happen to us, happened,” Spike said of the situation.

But, they did not let these set-backs slow them. The two worked out a deal with Dogwood Brewing Company in Atlanta and began contract brewing their beer for draught only distribution to Athens. Their first beer was their Rye Pale Ale. The brew, developed by Spike, was entered into the Great American Beer Festival judging and came away with a gold medal. The young company’s first beer, in its first year had won one of the most prestigious awards in brewing.

“So,” Spike said. “We were like, ‘Wow, we did something right!”

With that things began to take off. Demand rose stretching the capacity of Dogwood to the limit, so the search was on for another contract brewer. They found Frederick Brewing Company in Maryland in 2004. Production chugged along and Spike came up with Extreme Cream Ale and entered it in the World Beer Cup. The brew won the silver medal but, since no gold medal was awarded that year, “Technically,” Spike said, “We brewed the best cream ale in the world.”

The next year, in 2005, Georgia dropped its restrictions on brewers that limited them to beers with an ABV of less than 6 percent. That year Terrapin introduced a number of new brews including Wake ‘N’ Bake the pitch black coffee oatmeal stout made from a premium blend of Costa Rican, Guatemalan, and Zimbabwe coffee beans. The beer weighed in at 8.1 percent ABV and delighted both beer and coffee lovers throughout the the brewery’s distribution area.

In 2006, the operation was moved back to Atlanta where they took over a defunct brewery not far from another Georgia beer icon, Sweetwater Brewing Company. The company continued to grow and the search was once again on for larger facility, this time back in Athens where there beer was well established and in high demand.

As was normal for the duo, adversity once again raised its head.

“We were sitting in this very room,” John said referring to the conference room we were in, “And the guy from the Department of Revenue was sitting right were you are. He said to me, ‘Why did you do it?’ Well, we did not know what he was talking about, we said because we love beer. But, he was referring to the press attention we had brought regarding the state’s position on tap rooms.”

At that time in Georgia, the state was trying to limit tap rooms to be able to serve on one ounce samples during brewery tours. Samples of that size were barely enough to taste a beer and breweries like Sweetwater, Red Brick and Terrapin mounted a campaign to sway the decisions of the law makers.

“When he told us what he meant we sort of looked at each other,” John continued. “He began pulling out pikes of papers we had to fill in. They wanted histories of our investors and their families. It was crazy.”

It took months and months before the state finally granted a license to the brewery. But, in 2007 Terrapin was up and running in their Athens, Ga. brewery. Today the brewery produces 20 to 23 different beers a year including their seasonals and special releases.

As our conversation wound down I asked the two Georgia brew barons their thoughts on the future of craft beer.

John said, “The way I see this industry growing… I think there is plenty of room for more smallr breweries.”

But Spike sees it a little differently. “I see a shakeout coming in 2015,” he said. “Local is everything and I want to drink local, but I want to drink good local beer.” He mentioned that superior brands like Sierra Nevada were losing tap handles to inferior local brews simply because they are local. He also thinks that price wars are not far off either. When a local brewery has to compete with larger national craft breweries the economy of scale is difficult to overcome.

The hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity of the pair has paid off. In June 2013 Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s #43 and host of Beer Sessions Radio on Heritage Radio had this to say on where he listed the brewery as fifth on the list of the top 25 breweries in the nation:

“…Terrapin is the result of a truly innovative spirit as well as a genuine love for beer. While they’re on the small side, the Athens brewery is growing-and fast. They’re expansion is owed in part to buzzed-about beers like Hopsecutioner IPA and Wake ‘N’ Bake Coffee Oatmeal Stout, but it’s how these flavorful beers consistently live up to their name that’s made this brewery a household name across the east coast, and even further.”

We could not agree more.


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Posted by on September 13, 2013 in Beer, Craft Beer Brewery


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