Big Kate the Great News!
For Immediate Release: 1 April 2011
Brews More but Only for Belgian Sales.
The Portsmouth Brewery is excited to announce that 200 barrels of its popular Kate the Great Russian Imperial Stout is currently aging at sister company Smuttynose Brewing Company and will be released one year from today, exclusively through the Struise Yeast Shop in West Flanders, Belgium. All purchases must be made in person and buyers must complete a questionnaire before being allowed to buy the beer.
Head Brewer Tod Mott was exuberant that ownership finally capitulated to years of him begging for a break from brewing Kate. “That beer ties up so much tank space in our small submarine of a brewery. Now that it’s been contracted out, I can get back to brewing Cream Ale the way it should be brewed, with ale yeast and lager yeast.” Mott also cited a desire to have Kate named the #1 Beer in the Planet in BeerAdvocate magazine as a prime motivation behind the decision.
Owner Peter Egelston said the decision came naturally after reflecting upon the 2011 Kate release. “Everything ran so smoothly with the scratch ticket system; lines were well behaved and the beer ran out around 6pm like it always does. We also need more tank space and have no good way to expand the brewery space at Portsmouth Brewery. This was clearly the best option.” The growing European popularity of American craft beer was also a driver in the decision.
Brewing the Russian Imperial Stout at Smuttynose for export to Belgium was no small feat Portsmouth Brewery had to file alternating premise paperwork with the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) who handles all licensing for alcoholic beverage production. The beer’s prestige and acclaim made it easy to find a European importer (Mott had previously worked with Struise on the Kabert collaborations beer), but working through European Union paperwork proved very difficult until Egelston remembered Smuttynose’s National Accounts Manager, Robby Brondolo is from Italy and “knew a few people.” After a few phone calls, everything was smooth sailing.
The beer will be packaged in 11.2 ounce bottles and the labels have all been hand-stamped by Mott himself. While no small feat, it was worth it to the brewing legend who said he was just happy to get back to brewing “normal beers” again.