Good afternoon,

Most of you know by now that Kate Day, the day we release our highly regarded Russian Imperial Stout, will take place at the Portsmouth Brewery on Monday, March 5, 2012. Up till now we haven’t posted many details because, frankly, we hadn’t worked them all out. I’m writing today to provide more information about this popular annual gathering, pointing out similarities and differences between the upcoming Kate Day and previous years’ events. As in the past, I’ll use a Q&A format (which will allow me to cut and paste shamelessly from my last year’s post):

When will Kate Day take Place in 2012?
Kate Day will take place on Monday, March 5, 2012.

How much Kate the Great will be brewed?
Tod and Brian have brewed a somewhat larger batch than in years past: fourteen barrels, divided more or less equally between draught and bottles.

I heard a rumor that you’ll be using different bottles this year. Is that true?
You heard right. We have decided to abandon the familiar 22-ounce “bomber” bottle and have chosen instead to use the classic “Steini,” a  bottle most commonly associated these days with beers such as Duvel and Piraat.

But don’t Steini bottles hold less beer than bombers?
I’m glad you asked. Yes they do – 11.16 ounces versus 22, to be precise.

Does that mean you’ll be offering more bottles for sale?
Another great question! Yes. This year we will make 2,000 bottles available for sale. More than double the number from years past. (Yes, sometimes less truly is more.)

How much will these new, smaller bottles of Kate cost?
Last year we raised the price of 22 ounce bottles to $15. This year we have pro-rated the price to account for the smaller bottle and will charge $8 apiece.

Will growlers of Kate be available?

Last year you switched from using calendar pages to a lottery system using scratch tickets as a means of distributing bottled Kate. Do you plan to use scratch tickets again this year?
Understanding that no system is perfect, we really like the way the scratch tickets worked last year. It is an equitable way to distribute a limited number of bottles where demand greatly exceeds supply; it reduces the crowds forming on our doorstep and down the block on Kate Day, which keeps our neighbors and the local constabulary happy; and it enables us to raise a significant amount of money for local non-profits. Consequently, we WILL be using scratch tickets this year, as well. Here’s how it will work:

– 15,000 tickets will be available, with 2,000 “winners” mixed randomly among them.
– These tickets will be sold at the Portsmouth Brewery for $2 apiece starting ABOUT three weeks prior to Kate Day, until they run out.
– 100% of the revenue generated by the sale of these scratch tickets will benefit five non-profits, including the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire. (For the curious, the Portsmouth Brewery does not take a tax deduction for these funds.)
– Sale of scratch tickets will be limited to ten per person per day.
– Scratch tickets must be purchased in person at the Brewery. None will be sold by mail.

• If I don’t live near Portsmouth, how will I be able to purchase a ticket?
This is where you become resourceful and ask your Aunt Tillie in Kittery or your BA trading partners to help out and buy tickets for you.

• So I’ve got a winning scratch ticket, now what to I do?
A WINNING SCRATCH TICKET HAS NO CASH VALUE – it merely entitles the bearer to purchase a single bottle of Kate at his or her convenience any time from March 5 through April 15, 2012. An individual can purchase as many bottles of Kate as he or she has winning scratch tickets. Winning scratch tickets become invalid after April 15, 2012.  Any bottles of Kate remaining unsold after that date will be made available to the general public in our retail store.

• When and how will people be notified when scratch tickets go on sale?
We’ll post on our Facebook page and send out a tweet the morning they go on sale, ABOUT three weeks before Kate Day.

• How is draft Kate going to be released?
We plan to use the system we employed last year: the Portsmouth Brewery will open its doors for business at 11:00 am on Kate Day. We will let people into the building in groups of 50, spaced 15 minutes apart, until the restaurant is fully seated. This is to assure that service (and beer) flows smoothly, enabling us to provide the best hospitality throughout the day. The official tapping of Kate will take place around 11:30 am.

• If I come with a large group of friends, will we all be able to sit together?
We’ll do our very best to accommodate groups of all sizes on Kate Day, but we can’t make any promises.

• Will we be seated with people we don’t know?
Perhaps. In order to make sure that all of our guests are seated and served as expeditiously as possible, a certain amount of communal seating is required. Kate Day is probably not ideally suited for a romantic date, but it is a great opportunity to make new friends!

We will provide more details over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Please keep in mind, the purpose of Kate Day is to have fun, to celebrate good beer and gather with friends, old and new. At the Brewery we try to do our best to deliver on that. We look forward to serving you. 


Peter Egelston