Mission Brewery in San Diego was notified that its El Conquistador Session IPA had won a tender with Systembolaget, the Swedish alcohol retail management system, choosing Mission’s El Conquistador as the U.S. import for this category.
Systembolaget is a government-owned chain of liquor stores in Sweden. It is the only retail store allowed to sell alcoholic beverages that contain more than 3.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Winning the tender is a long and comprehensive process. Product samples for each request for tender are submitted, and the final selection is made by a blind tasting panel. The product that has the highest quality that corresponds to the tasting profile requested is the product launched.
So, needless to say, this tender is a big deal for Mission Brewery. El Conquistador scored 24/25, a year’s high, even with 40 other, much larger, award-winning local and national breweries competing.
“When I got the news, I was blown away,” said Dan Selis, president and founder of Mission Brewery. “This is a real honor considering the competition and the judging criteria.”
Systembolaget has a nationwide retail network of 426 stores and had over 120 million costumers through its doors in 2013. The product range of wine, strong beer and spirits is one of the most comprehensive in the world. Mission Brewery is filling 70,000 12-ounce bottles for its first shipment to Sweden.
El Conquistador is a low-alcohol content, drinkable Session IPA at just 4.8 percent ABV with a pale golden color, soft lemon and melon esters and a bready malt body. Dry hopped with Centennial and experimental hops from the Yakima Valley, El Conquistador is available in the United States in 12-ounce six packs, 22-ounce bottles and the infamous 32-ounce “cannon.”