Bernie Beer to be released in cans

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Bernie Beer, which was released on draft in May, will roll out in cans Wednesday morning, with a couple of twists.

Joel Sandrey of Hop View Brewing Co. in Madison said the former Browns quarterback personally will sign 100 to 150 cans before they roll out for distribution.

"Bernie is going to hand-sign those cans, and they are going to be randomly put in the canning," Sandrey said. "So if you come across an autograph, that is a hand-signed Bernie Kosar autograph."

Sandrey said, in addition to the autograph touch reminiscent of a Willy Wonka golden ticket, the canned beer will be slightly different than what the draft initially tasted like.

"We're really, really thrilled with the final product," he said. "We used the draft release to get some feedback from consumers. This (canned) beer is slightly different; we made a little tweak to it. People tried it and thought it was a little on the sweet side. So it's still a brown ale, but we pulled back on the malts and we pumped up the hops just a bit."

So the finished product will be "slightly less sweet and have a bright, clean, dry finish," he said.

Ed Thompkins, wine and beer buyer for Heinen's, said the effort to get Bernie Beer crafted, produced and distributed is about pride and collaboration.

"It's partly a Cleveland thing. John Lane (owner of the Winking Lizard) said 'You guys really have to bump up the hops'," Thompkins said.

"It shows the competency of Joel and his team," he added. "We're giving them (brewers) a road map to get to the destination, and they've been able to do it."

The beer will be available Thursday, Nov. 13, at Acme Fresh Market, which is scheduled to host Kosar from 6 to 8 p.m. at its store at 3875 Massillon Road in Green. Six-packs of the 12-ounce cans will retail for $9.99. The beer will be available at all Acme locations beginning Friday, according to a news release from the store.

All Heinen's locations will begin selling the beer beginning Thursday, Nov. 20, Thompkins said.

Early next week it goes to Columbus, said Darren Wyville of Vintage Wine Distributor, which is handling distribution, and then in mid-December he said it will be shipped to other retail locations throughout Ohio.

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