Thursday, August 05, 2010

Greg Schirf Has a Chubby for You!

Anyone remember the Coors Party Ball? If you were of drinking age back in the late 80's you may have encountered one at your local Frat or basic weekend bash. The Party ball was a five-gallon disposable container of beer - packaged in a box with a plastic liner (to hold ice). It dispensed the equivalent of 55 12-ounce cans. It was quite ingenious and very popular at the time.

After a few years on the market the Party Ball was found to be a contributing factor in tragic accident and was pulled from Utah store shelves (along with all Kegged beer). Eventually, legislation was enacted that limited beer container sold to the public to no more than 2 liters.

Now remember, this is Utah. Here the legal definition of beer is "a fermented beverage that does not exceed 4.0% Alcohol By Volume". Anything above that is considered liquor by the state. That's why higher alcohol beers are sold in liquor stores.

Why am I telling you all this? Well... it seems that the statutes that govern grocery store beer don't apply to Liquor store beer. The container size limitation never really applied to heavy beer!

Enter Greg Schirf. Utah's modern craft beer pioneer. Greg noticed that some wine containers in state liquor stores far exceeded the 2 liter limit. And since wine and heavy beer are considered to be the same by the state, heavy beer should receive equal treatment. The Utah D.A.B.C. agreed.

So with The DABC blessing Schirf began developing the next big thing in Utah's craft beer scene. The Chubby. Now the Chubby is nothing new. It's the same 5 liter mini keg that have been around for sale outside of Utah for years. The Chubbys come with a spout and pours from the bottom via gravity and can also be used with a low cost pressurized tap.

Schirf will debut his first Chubby sometime in September. It will contain Wasatch's newly released Golden Ale, then eventually Squatters IPA (yesssss!) and Devastator Double Bock.

If your interested in purchasing one of the dispenser units for the Chubby's Schirf is working on selling them at the Beer Store. They are also available at most retail stores like Target, Walmart etc. Pretty cool, eh?

Writing about beer is my hobby, but I'm a photojournalist by trade. Yesterday my friend and Fox13 colleague Scott McKane visited Greg Schirf and the boys at Epic to do a story on Utah's beer economy. Here's what we came up with.  

Cheers!

30 comments:

Tilley's Mum said...

Awesome job Mikey!!! You rock :)

Thanks for posting the video, we missed it last night.

Douglas said...

Wait, I know I missed something but how could Squatters IPA be sold in Walmart? It's over 4%.

Mikey said...

Thanks T!

I forgot to mention that the Zoo Pub is tonight. Please check it out if you can.

Cheers.

Mikey said...

Wait, I know I missed something but how could Squatters IPA be sold in Walmart? It's over 4%.

Dougie, the beverage dispenser is available at those stores and others. Not the beer.

Douglas said...

OK, so I guess you buy the dispenser and then get it filled at the brewpub? So we will have Squatters IPA 'on draft' so to speak?

Anonymous said...

Dougie, These type of containers can be used in 2 different ways. The first is the beer can simply be poured via gravity from the spout at the bottom. Doing this allows outside air to enter the container. This way is fine if you plan on consuming the entire 5L in a day. The second is with a dispenser that uses disposable CO2 cartridges to push the beer out through a tap like device. This is preferable if you plan on consuming the 5L of beer over a number of days. It is not a prefect system but it does work fairly well once you get used to it.
So what I assume will be sold at "Walmart" the Beer Nut, The Beer Store..etc will be the dispensing rig. The 5L cans will have to be purchased at different locations. All and all this is very cool and I appreciate Greg for pushing the envelope so to speak and getting the DABC to follow it's own rules.
Cheers
Geoff

Ben said...

I'm trying to understand the law here. So if the loophole is that heavy beer, is not beer, so it can be sold in any size container? What is stopping the Liquor Store from carrying full size kegs, or even party balls of >4.0%abv to sell to the public?

If it is not against the law, wouldn't the market demand that stores start offering these?

Mikey said...

Doug, look at the keg that Schirf is holding. You purchase that keg full of beer. If you wish to purchase a dispenser such as this http://www.edgestar.com/products/beercooler/tbc50s.asp

You can do so or just pour from the bottom spout. I'm about to take away your "beer geek" credentials.

Ben, there is a size limit on beverage containers. Off the top of my head I can't remember what it is, but there is a limit and it's smaller than a pony keg.

Anonymous said...

Greg Schirf is a genius and a god. He must become our governor.

Ben said...

But the Liquor store still won't bring in the 5L tins that are all over the country? I'm glad Greg Schirf is making it happen!

Anonymous said...

Art at Art's home brew supplies also sells the 5L tins and taps. He's done so since the 80's

Mikey said...

If it proves successful, other local breweries may follow suit.

Douglas said...

A cool idea. I'd love to have five liters of IPA goodness on tap in my living room. How about putting the outer darkness in these bad boys! Lets do it. Cheers to the Brewers Co-op and Greg.

kent said...

Agreed this is awesome. I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

First tiny bottles, then biiiig cans. Sounds like Schirf has a bit of a personality disorder, maybe Bi-Polar?
I will never buy any of these products, in either size. Who is he marketing to? I'm a huge beer head, and I think I'll stick with good old NORMAL sized containers of beer.

Greg Schirf said...

Hey Mickey, I guess I am now bi-polar.

What is a NORMAL serving size anyway? 12 oz? 22 oz? 15.5 gallons? God I hope I never get normal. Crazy maybe. That seems clear. Starting a brewery in Utah in 1986 proved that.

I am just glad I have enough clarity left to call a spade a spade, a knucklhead a knucklehead and a thief a thief.

Anonymous said...

More options are great, more beer is better. I don't care what the size is, I like it...
There will always be haters. scew 'em. After thinking it over, Just don't release any 1 oz bottle, K? ;)
BTW, who is "Mickey"?
cheers

Greg Schirf said...

Mickey is Mikey's new nick name. I am not only bi-polar I am also a lousy typer.

Sorry Mikey.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Greg, looking forward to the chubby(Particularly of IPA)! Seems like the best card for microbreweries to play lately is the "wine card." Now if somehow we could show that wine is poured from large vessels in bars, maybe we could make the leap to having high point beer on draft...one can only dream. See you at Zoopub, Mikey! Brett M.

Ed said...

I think Geoff's post above explains really well that these are not simply giant beer cans; You can tap them with a little CO2 cartridge, and pour whatever the hell serving size you want.

Anonymous said...

are these Co2 cartridges refillable or recyclable? also if these are tapped, how long will they stay fresh?

Mikey said...

The CO2 cartridges are disposible. The dispenser units keep the beer refrigerated and have an airtight seal. The beer should last for a couple of weeks.

Anonymous said...

I might be able to get somebody to drink one of those cans in one night, n'I could drink maybe thirty six of the smallies.
All I want to know's whose the spade, knucklehead, and thief?

Matt
p.s. beer is good

Brandon Worrell said...

Hmmmm.... interesting. I wonder what the size limit really is? I was really bummed when I moved to Utah that I couldn't purchase kegs. It sucks going to Nevada, Wyoming, or Idaho to keep my home keg system stocked.

Anonymous said...

Shirf is a good business man and publicity hound, not a god. I saw the 7 oz. slammers in Provo's liquor store sitting next to a delicious 12 oz. Cutthroat. The price difference was about 20 cents. Now would a god, especially a beer god, do that to his beloved creatures?

Steph said...

I have been reading this crap for awhile now and as a woman beer drinker, I sometimes get looked down upon.
To be comepletly honest, it bugs me that the title of this post says "he's gotta chubby" with that picture.
May be I'm wrong or just too sensitive but that style of marketing does NOT work with what I want to drink and who to support.
Chubby in the head, is what I think.. Provo girl's a whore and while Men may want to drink that, I do NOT!
Whatever, get a clue.

Stephanie

Mikey said...

In Greg's defense, I took the photo and came up with the title of this post on my own, without permission or his consent.

His use of the word Chubby to describe his keg is an obvious reference to it's sqaut "chubby" appearance.

My inference of "Chubby" in the article is defiantly more comical.

It's a double entendre. Interpret it as you will. Some will find it droll others innocuous. Credit or blame in that regard is mine not his.

Anonymous said...

Please don't take this stuff to seriously. My wife and I are both beer drinkers. My wife gets looked down upon too, mostly because she is only 5'3" - not because she's a beer drinker. Shirf is only poking gentle fun at Utah's unique culture and almost unbelievable past. Even if I didn't care for the product, I love the marketing. Hey, could you imagine Warren's followers and a bunch of their wives, down in Hilldale sitting around the unfinished patio, drinking Black and Tans made from Polygamy Porter and Evolution Amber Ale - Might just prove they are one step up rather than one step down from the Chimp. Is that too mean?

Anonymous said...

whatever! provo girl is sexy! lighten up, jesus.

Anonymous said...

The party ball was not a contributing factor in the accident mentioned in the above article. The Utah legislature was a contributing factor in restricting the rights of responsible Utahns. I have gotten party balls, mini kegs, full size kegs, etc from out of state. I've brewed my own beer and enjoyed drinking it from a keg. The kegs themselves have never influenced my behavior nor the behavior of others. Furthermore, the kegs have never done anything on their own behalf - never did see one of them release the e-brake, shift the car to drive from neutral, piss on the neighbor's flowers.