Best known as the parent company behind St. Louis' oldest craft beer brand, Schlafly Beer, The Saint Louis Brewery recently debuted a sister brand. Saint Louis Crafted Cocktails is a new line of malt beverages inspired by classic cocktails, ranging from a toffee-forward White Russian Wheat Ale to a tart, salty Paloma Gose. Although the cocktail-inspired beverages aren't made with spirits, they're a far cry from Schlafly’s brews – and they look the part, packaged in four-packs of 330-milliliter apothecary-style bottles. Here, Schlafly lead brewer Jared Williamson and head of marketing Wil Rogers explain how the line sets itself apart.
Why did you decide to launch these beverages under a new brand name? We wanted it to feel like something different, because that’s what it is. It’s a line of cocktail-inspired [drinks], so it’s different than your typical Schlafly Pale Ale. We felt like it just needed its own look and feel, and that’s where Saint Louis Crafted Cocktails came from; it’s a whole departure from what we’d been doing. –Wil Rogers
What’s the difference between a malt beverage and a beer? It’s kind of like whiskey and bourbon: All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. All beer is a malt beverage, and really, it comes down to the intent of the brewer. Schlafly has always been about classic styles, and these beverages – which are deconstructed cocktails – kind of blow that apart. They have certain essences to them that harken to certain beer styles, but we really were inspired by the cocktails and developed new [drinks] around them that didn’t fall into any true style guidelines. –Jared Williamson
How did you begin making the cocktail-inspired beverages? The Kentucky Mule Ale [which was released under the Schlafly label a few years ago] is kind of where this whole thing started. We were at a music festival in Kentucky about six years ago, and it was blazing hot outside. I had a Kentucky Mule [cocktail] and it just blew me away. I thought, “Man, I could really turn this into a beer.” In the past few years, we’ve really figured out how to deconstruct things that aren’t typically a beer. We’ve done that with some desserts, like our Sticky Toffee Porter. We know how to make beer, but for these, we were really inspired by those cocktail ingredients to make something different. –J.W.
What other releases can we expect to see? We have two more releases planned for the year. The next is a Bellini, which will feature a much higher carbonation level, so it’ll be very bubbly, effervescent and Champagnelike. Then, our take on the Old Fashioned will have some heavy bourbon overtones, orange and a little cherry note. –J.W.
Saint Louis Crafted Cocktails, instagram.com/stlcraftedcocktails