The Port Townsend Brewery showed up at the Green Frog last night, with our long-time Pepsi distributor, Walton Beverage, delivering the kegs. Ryan from Walton told me that as traditional soft drink sales have been stagnant or slightly down (who would guess it from that great halftime Super Bowl show they put on), the company decided, about six months ago, to add alcoholic beverages to their trucks. They are carrying Port Townsend, Anacortes Brewing, and Birdsview Brewing in our town, as well as seven wineries and a distillery. They are expecting to add one of our Bellingham breweries, one currently self-distributing, to their lineup soon. Walton has been around our town since 1931 and all their soft drink people I have met have been straight-up good folks.
As I wrote recently, finding a distributor can be one of those limits to growth a craft brewer may run into. The A-B house can handle only so many craft beers, as can the Miller/Coors house and the rarer indie wholesaler like Click and Dickerson. So, getting a pop distributor into the mix is a good sign for the brewers.
Port Townsend Brewing sees this arrangement as a big plus. Kim Sands, the brewer and owner, said she has added several bigger fermenters to the 15-bbl plant, so they can double- and triple-batch popular brands like Hop Diggity, the IPA. I was tickled to see Yoda Green Tea Golden Ale in the lineup last night, and to have a chance to urge Kim to make this delicious brew all the time or at least in more seasons than summer. Kim just smiled and said "maybe, someday." They had only made a batch in midwinter because James, the Green Frog owner, is just as fond of it and insisted they bring some.
My second pint was the Peeping Peater Scotch Ale, 6.6 % abv. The name is a sly reference to the bit of peat-smoked barley in the mash. The result is not the intensely smoky flavor of the smoked porters like Alaskan's or the German rauchbiers, but it does leave a little hint in the malty (25 IBUs) flavor. I'd try it again.