Howdy, folks. Peter E. here. A lot of people have written us with questions and suggestions for 2011’s Kate Day, the day we release our famous Kate the Great Russian Imperial Stout. This year, we’ll be managing the release differently than in years past, especially our procedure for bottle sales. 

Here are the highlights, in Q & A format:

• When will Kate Day take Place in 2011?
Kate Day will take place on Monday, March 7, 2011.

• How much Kate the Great will be brewed?
We will brew the same quantity as in years past: ten barrels, divided equally between draught and bottles. Approximately 900 bottles will be available for purchase.

• How much do bottles of Kate cost?
After holding the line on price for the last four years, in 2011 the price of 22-ounce bottles of Kate will increase to $15 apiece.

• Will growlers of Kate be available?

• What time are you going to start passing out calendar pages to people who wish to purchase bottles?
We are not going to use calendar pages this year!

• WHAT? If you’re not going to use calendar pages, how are you going to handle bottle sales?
We’re glad you asked! This year, we are going to organize bottle sales using custom-printed scratch tickets. Ten thousand tickets will be available, with nine hundred “winners” mixed randomly among them. These tickets will be sold at the Portsmouth Brewery for $2 apiece starting six weeks prior to Kate Day, until they run out. All of the revenue generated by the sale of these scratch tickets will be donated to a non-profit of our choice. 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 bought 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 7 through April 15, 2011. 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, 2011.  Any bottles of Kate remaining unsold after that date will be made available to the general public in our retail store.

• So no camping out on the sidewalk in front of the Brewery the night before?
Not for people wishing to buy bottles of Kate – that will no longer be necessary.

• How is draft Kate going to be released?
We’ve made some changes here, too, compared to years past. The Portsmouth Brewery will open its doors for business at eleven 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 12:30-ish.

So that’s the general shape of our next Kate Day. We will provide more details over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!