By Andy Young
James Squire will be releasing its summer ale, The Swindler, in pack nationally from 1 February 2016.
The beer launched on tap last October and following its success on-premise, Lion is now making the beer available in the off-premise.
Malt Shovel head brewer Chris Sheehan told TheShout that The Swindler is distinctive, but approachable and that it is a beer that can welcome mainstream beer drinkers into the craft beer category.
"The summer ale style is very popular at the moment and our brand is centred in welcoming people into craft," Sheehan said. "We make absolutely no qualms about that. Some people think that it's a big secret, but what we want is to get more mainstream beer drinkers to try something new.
"In terms of the summer ale style, it's pretty broad; you can see it interpreted in many different ways. We've kept it as a really distinctive but accessible summer-style beer by a controlled and distinctive use of the hops and that's where the El Dorado and Calypso come in."
According to Iri data from June 2015, Summer Ales now account for 3.1 per cent of craft beer volume in Australia and Lion’s craft and cider marketing director, Gordon Treanor, said that given the beer’s on-premise performance so far, the company has high hopes for the move to off-premise.
“Based on tap performance to date, we are really excited about what The Swindler will do," Treanor said. "With only two months in trade we are ranged in over 500 tap venues nationally and it is already one of our top three tap brands in the James Squire range, just shy of The Chancer Golden Ale.”
“Feedback to date from our tap customers has been really encouraging and with the addition of our packs hitting the market in February, this brand is well on track to be one of our top sellers.”
The Summer Ale has a 4.2 per cent ABV and is brewed using a rare blend of Calypso and El dorado hops, which Sheehan selected for their distinctive quality and flavour.
He added: “"If people want to try something new, perhaps they are scared off by some of those really big hop beers, but this is a good way to move into craft beer. Particularly though because it's got the El Dorado in it, it is presented to be the feature in this beer. Not everyone will get watermelon out of it and that's what we like about it, is that people will get different things."
Cartons, six-pack baskets and 345ml bottles of The Swindler will be available in selected outlets from 1 February 2016.