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Fruit-flavored beer: Evansville Brewing Co. brews upscale and exotic.

Just when you thought you had tasted it all--imported, domestic, light, dry--someone comes along with a different kind of beer.

In this case, it is conceptualized in Chicago and brewed in Indiana, goes by the name of Bicycle Beer, and comes in Veri Berry, Misty Lime and the soon-to-be-marketed Apricot Stone.

What? Fruit flavors? "A lot of people don't like the taste of beer," explains Terry Southerland, director of marketing at Evansville Brewing Co. "Only 40 percent of the drinking population does like the taste of beer." The other 60 percent? Well, wine, wine coolers and mixed drinks are probably more to their liking.

"What we've made is an alternative, alcoholic, carbonated beverage that fits that niche," says Joe Pickett, president of Bicycle Beverage Corp. "Basically, we've brewed the beer flavor out and brewed the fruit flavor in." Rather than adding flavoring after the beer is brewed, it's added before the brewing even begins.

Evansville Brewing is not the only Hoosier company to benefit from Bicycle Beverage Corp.'s fruity idea. The natural flavoring is purchased from Universal Flavor Corp., a food- and beverage-flavors manufacturer in Indianapolis.

For those with a palate for anything that's spicy hot, Evansville Brewing also makes Ed's Original Cave Creek Chili Beer. This beer was developed at a microbrewery in Arizona. Faced with growing demand, Cave Creek went in search of more production capacity.

"It's incredible," Southerland says of the taste. "You're not tasting beer, you're tasting a combination of beer and hot pepper juice. So it's a very spicy, hot beer--even though it's ice cold."

Each bottle of the spicy beer comes complete with its own chili pepper. Not sure what to serve with this beer? "You'd love it with pizza," Southerland says.

Besides brewing exotic beers for other companies, Evansville Brewing Co. also has started expanding its own line of labels, which include Sterling's, Cook's, Falls City, Drewry's and Wiedemann.

Birell, German for "no beer," is the brewery's premium non-alcoholic malt beverage, which has won several awards in Europe. It also is that continent's largest-selling non-alcoholic brew. And why not? The recipe was created in Switzerland and is now brewed under Swiss supervision in Evansville. The method by which Birell is brewed gives it a full-flavored beer taste without the alcohol.

Evansville Brewing Co. has produced Gerst Amber Lager on draft since 1989, when it acquired the label. Its overwhelming popularity prompted the brewery to bottle it. Since 1992, beer drinkers have been able to pick up a six pack to "Gerst their thirst" at home.

The newest addition to Evansville Brewing Co.'s list of beers is John Gilbert's Riverboat Brand. An all-malt, all-natural beer, John Gilbert's hit the shelves in April. In keeping with the riverboat theme, John Gilbert's can be found only in Ohio River Valley markets such as Cincinnati, Louisville and Evansville.

Though Evansville Brewing already had a good-sized selection of its own labels, the company decided expansion into more premium products would be a wise business move. Southerland explains, "You've got to have a big palette of products to please people."
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Gilbert, Jo
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Jun 1, 1993
Previous Article:Hoosier Magazines.
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