Looks like Old Style wants to be more than just Chicago’s favorite heritage brand.
Old Style announced a new beer option today for a few Great Lakes states this spring and summer. Meet their new “Cooler By The Lake” Radler.
According to Old Style’s Facebook page, the new 4.2% ABV blonde lager “is brewed with refreshing citrus flavors, easy to drink and finishes clean on the palate.” 4-packs of 16oz. cans will be rolling out to Chicago and throughout Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Sorry, Michiganders.
This is the first new Old Style beer since 2016, when they introduced their Oktoberfest. It was the first new OS beer in 15 years, notable also because it was brewed at LaCrosse Wisconsin’s City Brewery — originally the G. Heileman Brewery where the brand was born.
(Fun fact that I just learned from Wikipedia: Heileman also created LaCroix sparkling water, which they created in 1981.)
Pabst Brewing Company owns the rights to make and sell Old Style which they acquired in 1999. In addition to the namesake PBR, the company is also known for their work revitalizing heritage brands. In 2015 they brought back Ballantine and made a big splash in Detroit in 2016 by brewing Stroh’s in the city for the first time in decades.
The move to add a new trend to an old brand is Pabst Brewing’s “Local Legends” play, as outlined in this AdAge story. As part of the Rainier revival in the Pacific Northwest they added a “Rainier Pale Mountain Ale.” They recently made news for sending a label to the TTB for a Stroh’s IPA. Of course, they also opened their Pabst Innovation Brewpub in Milwaukee last year as well.
An Old Style Radler goes hand in hand with that type of heritage innovation.
Back when we interviewed an Old Style brand rep in 2014, we actually asked about just this kind of thing:
GDB: Would Old Style ever jump on the bandwagon of the IPA or the Radler and come up with something similar, or is it strictly lager for you guys?
BC: It’ll probably always be strictly lager. As far as ownership is concerned and our brewmasters — those are always things that people have talked about, and I can’t say down the road if there isn’t a …you know, signature or a line extension. […] That’s not to say that it can’t ever be done, or that it won’t be done. But that would definitely be something that is down the road.
Looks like “down the road” turned out to be March 2018. We’ll happily try this new Old Style option and report back when we do. Old Style’s sold-out Pizza Summit at Thalia Hall takes place in about a month. I wonder how this pairs with a classic sausage & giardinara thin crust party cut?