Tag Archives: Victory Brewing Company

Craft Beer Mergers

Over the past 10 years craft beer has been experiencing an incredible renaissance. The beers that were once novelty items relegated to obscure shelves at the local grocery or liquor store now occupy an entire section of the beer section at many stores. But, just like in the stock market, with such phenomenal growth comes the inevitable correction. That means that, because of economic factors some breweries will likely close or seek out other options to remain viable. Today, it is quickly becoming the norm for craft brewers to form coalitions, merge with other breweries or get bought by the big breweries.

Greg Koch, the outspoken craft beer advocate and owner of Stone Brewing Company in San Diego, Calif., secured $100 million in April from a group of “independent investors,” that will be used to acquire “minority, non-controlling” stakes in craft breweries. His finance platform called “True Craft,” is designed to help craft breweries avoid being bullied into selling to the big breweries.

“They can make their own decisions about their future,” Koch said in an article in industry magazine Bevnet. “They can stay independent. They can get financing and flexibility that they need to flourish, while keeping their soul and control.”

In March, Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewing Company used a similar tactic to add Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing Company to their portfolio. Through a Boston private equity firm called Fireman Capital Partners, Oskar Blues has been able to bring Cigar City under the same umbrella as Perrin Brewing, and the Utah Brewers Cooperative outfit that includes the Wasatch and Squatters brands. The coalition strengthens each brewery individually and allows them to retain their own unique presence while providing an influx of financial security and access to surplus production facilities at Oskar Blues’ Colorado and North Carolina breweries.

In February of this year, two prominent East Coast breweries, Southern Tier and Victory announced that they were merging breweries under the title Artisanal Brewing Ventures. Under the new arrangement, both breweries will retain their own identities and creative control, but will join forces for marketing and distribution.

“Like-minded brewers,” said Victory Brewing founder, Bill Covaleski in an interview on, “Such as Victory and Southern Tier can preserve our character, culture and products by standing together. Allied we can continue to innovate and best serve the audience who fueled our growth through their loyal thirst.”

Finally, there is a growing presence of the big beer brewers in the world of craft beer. And this is a point of much consternation to many craft beer drinkers who fear that “Big Beer” will ruin the innovation and imagination found in many craft breweries. Breweries that do sell to Big Beer are often reviled by many in the craft beer community. But, despite the shouts of “Sellout!” that permeate the Internet when another craft brewery sells, beer connoisseurs still line up for beers such as Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout. Goose Island sold to Anheuser-Busch/InBev in 2011. Since then there has been a slew of craft brands bought by non-craft breweries such as Constellation Brands’ purchase of Ballast Point Brewing, Heineken’s purchase of a 50% stake in Lagunitas Brewing Company and, most recently, MillerCoors’ purchase of Terrapin Beer Company in Athens, Ga.

How will all this buying and selling within the confines of craft beer affect the overall industry? The jury is still out, but for the short-term it does mean that brands will be more available to more beer-lovers. And, how could easier access to good beer be a bad thing?


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Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Beer, Beer News


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Ancient German Gose beer style making a comeback

VictoryKirschGoseAs the craft beer movement spreads and becomes more and more popular, brewers are always looking for different styles of beer to introduce to American palates. One style that has begun to appear with more frequency is the German Gose (pronounced go-zuh) style. With its slightly salty and tangy flavor, Gose is a bracing and interesting addition to the portfolio of craft beer styles that begs the question, “Why make a salty beer?”

As a style, Gose originated over 1,000 years ago in the German state of Lower Saxony specifically in the town of Goslar through which the brew’s namesake river — the Gose — flows. About 100 miles west of Leipzig, Goslar rose to prominence in the 11th century, not only as one of the wealthiest and most important copper, lead, zinc, salt, and silver mining towns in the German Empire, but also as a brew center. The naturally saline water of the aquifer in and around Goslar was renowned for its high mineral content and lent that saltiness to the beers brewed in the region.

By 1738, the mines in the Goslar began to deplete causing the population to shift to Leipzig. Along with the population, the breweries followed. Gose production quickly grew in Leipzig until it became the predominate style in the city and region. By 1826, Gose production in Goslar had fallen to such a small amount that the city council decided to abolish production. Gose’s popularity rose so much that by 1900 there were more than 80 licensed Gose houses in Leipzig.

Because of wars and communist occupation, during the 20th century Gose slowly disappeared and became an extinct style. BUt, after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 the style made a comeback due in great part to Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof (Gose Brewery Bavarian Station), which opened its doors in 2000.

Now, Victory Brewing Company has tackled the style producing the distinctly flavored Kirsch Gose. Read the press release below for more information abut this new brew and the Gose style.

Downingtown, PA, April 7, 2015Victory Brewing Company (Victory) announces Kirsch Gose, its first endeavor incorporating natural fruit juices, which add subtle flavors over a unique tart and salty finish. Gose is a German-style brew that takes its name from the salinic river Gose. Promising to excite with the sharpness and sweetness of fresh cherries, Victory puts a modern twist on an old-world, time-honored process to bring a distinct and refreshing session ale to market.

Kirsch Gose was borne out of the passionate artistry of Victory Brewing Company’s brewers and blends a variety of wheat malts, Czech-grown Saaz hops and cherry juice to create a distinctly bracing, light-bodied pleasantly sharp beer with a nod to European tradition while featuring American ingenuity. With an ABV of 4.7% and exciting flavor profile, Kirsch Gose invites fans to ‘Taste Victory.’

Available throughout Victory’s 35 state distribution footprint, Kirsch Gose’s suggested retail price for a 12 oz. four-pack is approximately $9.99, but varies upon location. Use Victory’s Beerfinder to discover a nearby location, or download the free Victory Mobile app for Android or iPhone.

Goses, which are traditionally brewed to be slightly tangy and salty, have a longstanding German history since the 16th century. They are brewed using both malted barley and wheat to provide a bit of sharpness and a smooth mouthfeel. After the brewhouse additions of spices such as coriander, the style is then fermented with wild, top-fermenting yeast to produce a dry, bubbly, puckery product. Interestingly, because brewing goses required more wheat than the standard lager beers then in vogue, they fell out of production as post-World War East Germany (where it was primarily brewed) needing to ration their supply for bread making as opposed to beer making.  The demolition of the Berlin Wall, in combination with the booming North American craft beer movement in the late 80’s, encouraged the gose resurgence in Germany with local Leipzig brewers and provided a canvas of endless creative possibility for North American craft brewers.

“At Victory, we rely on our German training to keep the best brewing traditions alive, while incorporating inspiration from the wide world of flavor possibilities, ” said Victory’s President and Brewmaster, Bill Covaleski. “Kirsch Gose is a slightly different, definitely delicious sensation that we hope our fans enjoy as much as we enjoyed creating it.”

About Victory Brewing Company

Victory Brewing Company is a craft brewery headquartered in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Founded by childhood friends, Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet, Victory officially opened its doors in February of 1996. In addition to the original Downingtown brewery and brewpub, Victory recently opened a second state-of-the-art brewery in Parkesburg, PA to expand production capabilities and serve fans of fully flavored beers in 35 states with innovative beers melding European ingredients and technology with American creativity. To learn more about Victory Brewing Company visit us on the web at

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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in Beer Styles


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Victory Brewing Company Moonglow Weizenbock now available

moonglow-featuredWeizenbock is a rich flavorful German beer style that is very much at home during the autumn season. The style is made with as much as 60% to 70% wheat malt, but never less than 50%. It is a rich brew with full-bodied mouth-feel and a satisfying malty finish. Victory Brewing Company of Dowingtown, Penn. has announced the release of their weizenbock called Moonglow.

Last week I received samples of the luscious brew from the folks at Victory and, after quaffing a bottle ! can recommend it as a fine example of the weizenbock style.

Read more about the brew in the company’s official press release below:

DOWNINGTOWN, PA, September 4, 2014 –Victory Brewing Company® (Victory) is pleased to announce the release of  Mooonglow Weizenbock, a bottle conditioned German style ale, rich in malt tones, spicy fruit aromas and warming flavors which combine to create the perfect autumnal elixir.

Originating from German brewing tradition, this ‘bock’ beer utilizes German hops and a strain of ‘weiss’ (‘wheat’) beer yeast, which plays a major role in charging the ale with flavors reminiscent of clove, vanilla and honey. As per traditional German style conventions, it is comprised of two different types of malted wheat totaling nearly 60% of the grist among the seven varieties of malted grains employed. This recipe, with its historic roots, revitalizes a refreshing, well-made style of ale that is rare today.

Drinking a Moonglow Weizenbock is much like traveling back in time, due to the strict, age-old, quality controlled brewing process it adheres to. Simultaneously, the brew stands out amongst the current trend of hoppy, American ales with a fresh, exciting flavor profile, driven by malt and yeast. Harvest fruit flavors conjuring fresh apple and pear lead into notes of caramel and toffee, resolving into spicy characteristics that leave a satisfying impression comparable to frothy banana bread in this tempting ale.

Moonglow Weizenbock, has an ABV of 8.7% and is available at craft beer bars, bottle shops, beer distributors and major gourmet grocery stores throughout Victory’s 35 state distribution footprint, with a suggested retail price of $9.99 and will be sold in 12 ounce 4 packs. Use Victory’s Beerfinder to discover a nearby location, or download the free Victory Mobile app for Android or iPhone.

“This beer is a vivid example of what our company is all about – the exploration of German brewing traditions combined with our individual creative ingenuity,” said President and Brewmaster, Bill Covaleski. “Whether clearing new paths or rediscovering old roads via glow of the autumnal moon, this is a product that celebrates the spirit of that journey.”

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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Beer Styles


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Victory Brewing Tasting at Engine 15 a Real Winner

Victory Brewing Company

Image via Wikipedia

A common theme in the beginnings of many breweries is the owner’s disillusionment with the corporate world, the rat race, the cubical life. Many brewers learned their craft by experimenting with home brewing and honing their skills in local beer competitions. Because, as many of you know, once the craft beer hook sets into you, there is no squirming free. The hook just sets deeper and deeper, like the hook in the mouth of a marlin on a deep-sea fishing excursion. Only, most of us who have been hooked don’t want to squirm off like the fish, we want it to go deeper.

Such is the case with the owners of Victory Brewing Company in Downington, PA. Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski, friends since the fifth grade, became more and more disenchanted with mind-numbing corporate life and began to explore the rewards to be had in the world of craft beer. Having learned to brew by challenging each other in friendly competition, Ron and Bill honed their skills.

In a bold move, Ron exited the rat race as a financial analyst and started an apprenticeship, working under a Dutch-born and German-trained brewer. The goal was to earn the necessary experience to move on to study at the Technical University of Munich at Weihenstephan.
When Ron departed for Germany, Bill took over his emptied role in Baltimore. While Ron was enhancing his German brewing knowledge, Bill was expanding the line of beers produced at the brewery to include several German specialty beers, many of which went on to win multiple awards at the Great American Beer Festival. After putting in time at the brewery, Bill completed his brewing studies by traveling to Munich, Germany to attend Doemens Institute.

Old Dominion Brewing Company in Virginia took Ron in upon his triumphant return to the states. In his four year tenure as the brewmaster there, he helped to increase production ten-fold from 1,500 barrels annually to nearly 15,000.

The two friends came back together again in 1995 and began working out a plan for a brewery of their own. The result was Victory Brewing Company opening its doors in February of 1996 in what was once a Pepperidge Farm factor. The brewery boasted a142-seat restaurant and a 70-foot-long bar to compliment the full-scale brewery. The original lineup of Victory beers was HopDevil Ale, Victory Festbier and Brandywine Valley Lager. Last year, Victory brewed 58,850 barrels of beer.

On Wednesday evening, Pearl Harbor Day, I trekked out to the beach and Engine 15. There I met Scott Russell of North Florida Sales. He had had an idea of how to honor the memory of the brave men and women who were lost on that fateful day in December of 1941 when Japan struck Pearl Harbor without warning and without mercy. His idea: a tasting of Victory beers to commemorate the eventual triumph of the United States over Japan.

At the tasting, Scott brought several excellent brews as well as one very rare one. The lineup was:

Hop Wallop: Bitter with citrus notes, this brew lives up to its name. But, if this great-tasting beer did not have enough going on, Scott master-minded a plan to run it through a Randall stuffed with Hawaiian pineapple that added a whole new dimension to this already satisfying treat.

Moonglow Weizenbock: At 8.7% ABV, this amber wheat brew packs a wallop of its own. But, its flavor will definitely keep you ordering more. The nose hints to bananas and apple, as well as spices and malt. The flavor suggests mild toast and spices and a touch of the banana from the aroma.

Dark Intrigue: This is the rare and special brew I mentioned earlier. It is an Imperial Stout that has been aged in bourbon barrels. It displays impressive hops to the nose along with bourbon, and dark chocolate. The taste reveals dark chocolate, vanilla, and oak. If you have not already purchased a bottle of this, you had better hurry. The brewery only produced a limited number and North Florida only got ten cases.

Another welcome sight at the tasting was Regina – the Jax Brew Bitch and her husband Whit. We all had a blast tasting Victory beers, pouring occasionally when Scott walked away, and generally shooting the breeze on a chilly, misting December evening. What more can a beer-lover ask for than good beer, good conversation, and good friends?

A quote from a rather famous Francis Ford Coppola movie comes to mind: “I love the smell of beer in the morning, it smells like… Victory.” OK, so I paraphrased a bit.

Until next time,

Long Live the Brewers!


Marc Wisdom

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Posted by on December 10, 2011 in Beer, Craft Beer Brewery, Events, Holidays


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The Super Bowl Cometh!

All throughout the history of the Super Bowl, beer has played a central role. According to, 51.7 million cases of beer are sold during the days that lead up to the Super Bowl. That’s more than 50 cold brewskis for every person who lives in the greater Jacksonville area! And most of those are from the big guys like A-B, Miller, and Coors. Pity. Beer advertising, to some, is as important as the game itself. And, in some years, the ads were more exciting than the game. In 1989 Anheuser-Busch, the iconic St. Louis brewer now owned by Belgian/Brazilian beer conglomerate InBev, launched Bud Bowl. This stop-motion animated series of commercials featured A-B products playing football against Bud Light bottles. The advertising campaign was wildly popular and for several years became a stalwart part of the Super Bowl experience.

This Sunday millions of people around the world will tune in to one of the most watched events in television history. They will huddle around small black and white televisions in poor, Third World countries. They will watch in bars, hotel rooms, and on the Internet. They will gather at massive parties, with television screens in every room and mountains of food. They will watch from hospital beds, military bases, and prison cells. Since January 15, 1967 when the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, the world has stood still on Super Bowl Sunday to watch the pageantry, the gladiatorial games, the wardrobe malfunctions.

But, clashing and clinking glass bottles were not the only successful beer advertisements. Other favorite ads run by A-B during the Super Bowl included the Budweiser Frogs (BUD – weis – errrrrrr!), the young Clydesdale learning the ropes, and the iconic “WASSUP?!” ads. Miller Brewing Company famously tried to belittle their rival in a notorious ad depicting the famous A-B Clydesdales and a defecting Dalmatian. Miller also ran what is most likely the shortest ad in television history with a one-second spot during the 2009 game.

I told you when I started this column I would not focus much on the big boys. So, in keeping with that promise, let’s move on to the beers we all love here – crafts and micros! While the masses are guzzling up the flavorless national brands, you my friends, should look to a more satisfying brew to quench your football fueled beer fever. Why not feature beers from the two team’s regions? Or, fill a few growlers of some of the superb local brews available right here in Jacksonville. Below are a few suggestions that are sure to tickle your buds – taste buds, that is.

There are many great beers that can be found locally which are brewed in either Wisconsin or Pennsylvania.

Wisconsin brews to try are:

Sprecher Brewing Company
Abbey Triple

Abbey Tripels are, as the name eludes, triple fermented ales first concocted by those crazy monks in Belgium. But, I suppose being locked in a monastery for years wouldn’t be so bad if got to brew beers like these all day long. This beer, Sprecher Brewing Company of Wisconsin is a faithful reproduction of the style that pours a hazy pale orange-amber topped by a the finest of laced foam. When you put your nose to it – yes, you can smell beer just like wine – you’ll detect banana, clove, orange zest, and black pepper.

Now, take a sip, the taste should reveal the same flavors you smelled with the addition of ginger, coriander, and a pinch of nutmeg. The body is a light medium, with a moderate carbonation and an almost dry finish. Go easy on this one though; at 8.41% ABV it only takes a few to make you feel like you just got hit by a Packer linebacker.

Lakefront Brewery
Lakefront IPA

The aroma is grassy and piney, backed by a balanced and not overwhelming malt backbone. The taste is spot on. The caramel backbone is noticeable, but the bitterness from the hops shines. Pine and floral notes also come through. A likeable, drinkable IPA that is pretty much par for the course.

Classic Amber

A nice amber color just as the name implies, this beer produces a nice two finger white head that fades to a thin layer and a slight amount of lacing.

You will smell lots of sweet malts and grains with a small amount of hops detected at the end.

Just like the nose, sweet malts make their presence known up front when you first sip this brew. Lots of hoppy bitterness at the end, more than the nose belies. Pretty hoppy for an amber but it will grow on you.

Pennsylvania Brews you should consider:

Weyerbacher Brewing Company

This easy drinking beer is another Belgian style. Pour this beauty into a glass and you’ll be rewarded with a cloudy, golden yellow hue. On the nose (there I go with the snooty wine-tasting terminology) you should pick up toasted malts, straw, and grains. You will also notice light, earthy hops, a floral characteristic, and the faintest hint of lemon.

The taste reveals a light, sweet citrus, wheat, and maybe a little apple. At only 5% ABV you could drink several and still be able to enjoy the antics of the other party-goers (you know, like that crazy neighbor Dave showing everyone how many brats he can shove in his mouth at once).

Erie Brewing Company
Misery Bay IPA

For those who enjoy a hoppier beer, try this brew from Erie Brewing Company. When poured into a glass you should get a pleasant grassy/citrusy aroma and an appealing golden-copper color. Your firs sip should let you know it’s an IPA with pleasant, but not overpowering, bitter hops and a sweet undertone of maltiness.

Victory Brewing Company
Victory Lager

For a taste all your friends will enjoy – even those who drink the big boys – try this easy drinking lager.

Crisp, light malts and sharper citrus aromas hints of leafy, spicy hops greet your nose.

Smooth light malt flavors kick things off in your mouth on this one and are joined quickly by bright citrus flavors – more lemon rind than anything else. It’s like drinking the feeling of a Steelers touchdown!

Local Brews

Locally brewed, fresh beer goes great with your Super Bowl food spread. Swing by Intuition Ale Works and tell Lindsey, Robbie, Cari, or whoever happens to be pouring quality beer on the day of your visit to fill your growler up with an I-10 IPA, Willow Branch Wheat, or People’s Pale Ale. Or visit Brian and the gang at Bold City for a growler of fresh Killer Whale Cream Ale or Duke’s Brown Ale. Going local is always a great choice with these kinds of choices!

So, on Sunday as you prepare for the gridiron clash of Packers against Steelers, toss aside those dull flavorless beers and pick up something with a little more taste. True, they don’t have clever commercials, but they will make your party stand out. And, we won’t tell if you watch and enjoy the commercials anyway.

Long live the brewers!

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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Beer, Local Brewery, Team Hopheads


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