Sure, craft beer has taken off in the past handful of years, but let’s not forget that craft brewing has been around long before trademark disputes and exploding business expansion plans. Case in point: Saint Arnold Brewing Co. marked its 21st anniversary – and the 21st birthday of its flagship Amber Ale. It was June 9, 1994, that Saint Arnold filled its first kegs with Amber Ale and trucked them to eight accounts. It took six test batches to achieve the desired balance among the complex hop aroma, rich malty body and floral hop finish. The recipe has remained unchanged since 1994 and Amber Ale remains one of Saint Arnold’s top sellers.
Craft beer fans of today may have never known a world where craft beer was hard to find like in those early days. With few exceptions, taps were reserved for popular American light lagers made in factories by conglomerates. Most beer drinkers lacked the palettes to enjoy the full flavor and greater complexity of a craft beer. Saint Arnold’s production during its first year was 610 barrels (bbls).
“I imagined a time when Saint Arnold beers and craft beer in general was a niche product, but it has gone way beyond that and beyond anything I thought possible during that first decade,” said Saint Arnold Founder and Brewer, Brock Wagner. “I am as proud of Amber Ale today as the first time we delivered it to an account, poured a pint from their tap and presented it to someone who had never tasted full flavored beer before. It stands up a generation later as a really good beer.”
Today, Saint Arnold Brewing’s 16 brews are made and sold by the company’s staff of 74 dedicated employees. Ranked 46th on the Brewers Association list of top craft breweries, Saint Arnold was listed by USA Today as one of the “10 great places to see what’s brewing in beer,” and Smart Meetings magazine named it among the “Top 5 breweries to host an event.”
To celebrate Saint Arnold Amber Ale’s 21st birthday, Saint Arnold offered a lifetime tour pass to its brewery tours to anyone who shares its June 9, 1994, birthday. This offer was only good on June 9, 2015.