For the first time, Scratch Brewing Co. is bringing its bottles to St. Louis.
The acclaimed southern Illinois brewery recently sent a shipment of about two pallets of its 500ml and 750ml format bottles, along with a palate of draft beer, to shops, bars and restaurants around Missouri through its distributor, Craft Republic. Co-owner Marika Josephson says that although Scratch has brought its beer to St. Louis for festivals and events, this is the first time the beer will be available for sale in Missouri. And for locations farther west, this might be the first time beer-drinkers will be able to enjoy Scratch's brews.
"This is definitely a little bit of a COVID pivot, I would say," she says.
Generally, Scratch tends to just sell its beer in and around its home of Ava, Illinois. The microbrewery brands itself as a destination brewery, given that Josephson and co-owner Aaron Kleidon have worked hard to develop a beautiful outdoor drinking space that is pleasant even on cold days. And given that Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker has ordered all bars and restaurants to end indoor service and limit groups of visitors to six or fewer amid rising COVID-19 cases, sending beer to Missouri became a clear additional revenue stream.
"We've been thinking about St. Louis for a long time," Josephson says about distributing in the city. "This just seemed like the right time to do it, knowing that this winter, I think, a lot of people are probably going to be staying home and not traveling as much."
Scratch is making no official announcement on exactly where you'll be able to find their beers over the river, but Josephson recommends calling your favorite bottle shop to check. One place that will have draft beers for certain, though, is Rob Connoley's Bulrush, with whom Scratch is hosting a collaborative beer dinner and launch party for Missouri distribution. For $30, diners can get a carryout box to enjoy at the restaurant at take home, which includes roast chicken with paw-paw mole and a draft beer from Scratch. Tickets are available online for the dinner, which also gives guests access to carryout some of Scratch's bottles.
As for which of the brews you'll be able to hunt down, Josephson says that Scratch sent out bottles of its basil IPA, barrel-aged cedar oak, barrel-aged apple ale, dandelion-ginger tonic and barrel-aged mum. And for those who don't want to make the trek to Illinois, you might want to move quickly; the brewery has not yet decided if it will distribute any more of its beer in Missouri after this shipment, but keep tabs on Scratch to look for future news of distribution.
Editor's note: This post has been updated to add information about the collaboration dinner between Scratch Brewing Co. and Bulrush.
Scratch Brewing Co., 264 Thompson Road, Ava, Illinois, 618.426.1415, scratchbeer.com