When Oskar Blues opened its doors in 1997 in the tiny burg of Lyons, CO, just north of Boulder, it was just a place to get some great Southern style food and listen to the best offerings from the local music scene. That all began to change when Oskar founder Dale Katechis began brewing beer in 1999. In November 2002, Oskar Blues produced its first microbrew in a can, an event that has since been dubbed the “Canned Beer Apocalypse.”
The arrival of Dale’s Pale Ale turned the bottle based craft beer industry on its head. “We thought the idea of our big, luscious pale ale in a can was hilarious,” says Katechis. Cans have other benefits as well. The lighter, more durable containers made Oskar beers much more portable, an essential ingredient in outdoors-crazy Colorado. Can liners also lock in brew freshness and prevent the aluminum from affecting taste.
Soon microbrew aficionados from all over the U.S. were picking up on the Apocalypse that had taken place in Lyons. In addition to Dale’s Pale, Oskar Blues’ Old Chub Scottish Ale, Gordon Imperial Red, and Mama’s Little Yella Pils Malt Pilsner have all earned accolades in an impressive collection of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Beeradvocate.com.
Oskar Blues canned microbrews are now available in 25 states, and production is humming along with a new brewing facility and taproom in nearby Longmont, CO. The canned beer revolution started here has since spread to other well-known Colorado microbrews, but Dale and his team take special pride in turning non-believers on to the benefits of full bodied beer in cans.
“We’re in this to have fun and put some extra joy on the planet,” Katechis says. “We love the way people’s heads spin around after they try one of our four-dimensional canned beers. ‘That came out of a can?’ We hear it all the time.”
If you’re interested in carrying Oskar Blues “Liquid Art in a Can” in your establishment, contact Wayne at wayne[at]oskarblues[dot]com.