Alaskan Brewing Company
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|Headquarters||Juneau, Alaska, United States Coordinates:|
|Owner||Geoff and Marcy Larson|
Alaskan Brewing Company is a regional brewery in Juneau, Alaska founded in 1986. The company's beers have won awards at regional, national, and international beer competitions. The brewery was founded in Juneau, Alaska by Marcy and Geoff Larson, who are still in charge of the company. By sales volume, it is the 19th largest craft brewery in the United States, as of 2016[update].
Alaskan Brewing produces 7 year-round beers, four limited release seasonal ales and several specialty beers with limited distribution each year. The beers are available in 23 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
In 1986, 28-year-olds Marcy and Geoff Larson opened the Alaskan Brewing Company, the 67th independent brewery in the country and the first brewery in Juneau since Prohibition. Their idea was to incorporate many of the same characteristics of beers that were brewed in Alaska during the Gold Rush time period. The Alaskan Amber recipe particularly reflects some these goals, as it is historically based upon local beers from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Marcy and Geoff were drawn to the beauty and adventure of Alaska, but finding a livelihood that would allow them to stay was a challenge. “Why not start a brewery?” a friend suggested. Other than the extreme financial and logistical challenges of brewing beer in the Last Frontier, they couldn't think of why not. Maybe the idea wasn't so far-fetched. After all, Geoff was a chemical engineer and a homebrewer and was married to Marcy, an adventure-seeking accountant and aspiring bush pilot. Together they brought a unique skill set to the task of opening a brewery in Alaska.
While researching brewing in Alaska, Marcy unearthed shipping records from Douglas City Brewing Co. (1899-1907) that listed ingredients for its popular beers and a newspaper article that described the way it was brewed. Geoff homebrewed a batch of the Gold Rush-era brew and they could see what made it so popular. That beer is now known as Alaskan Amber.
In December 1986, Alaskan Brewing Co. officially began operations when Geoff, Marcy and 10 volunteers spent 12 hours hand packaging the first 253 cases of Alaskan Amber for distribution in Juneau, Alaska. From that very humble beginning, Alaskan Brewing Co. has grown to become one of the most award-winning craft breweries in the history of the Great American Beer Festival and expanded distribution into 20 states.
CO2 Recovery System
In 1998, Alaskan Brewing became the first craft brewery in the United States to install and operate a carbon dioxide (CO2) reclamation system. The system captures and cleans carbon dioxide, a natural byproduct of the brewing process. During the fermentation process the yeast creates the byproduct of CO2. Alaskan uses CO2 to package the beer and purge oxygen from holding tanks. This system eliminated the need for Alaskan to ship CO2 tank into Juneau, ultimately being better for the environment. This system lowers emissions of over one million pounds of CO2, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, from being released into the atmosphere each year. That is equivalent to preventing the emissions of using more than 45,000 gallons of gasoline annually.
Mash Filter Press
In 2008, Alaskan Brewing found a way to balance innovation, quality, and efficiency with the installation of a mash filter press. They are the first craft brewery in the United States to employ this Belgian-based brewing technology, which allows them to reduce the amount of water, malt and hops needed to make their beer, while maintaining high quality and consistency. In one year, the mash filter press used nearly 2 million fewer gallons of water and 6 percent less malt to make the same amount of beer as their traditional brewing process. The unique design of the mash filter press also reduces the moisture content in the spent grains, which further reduces the energy required to convert their spent grain into fuel to make steam in their spent grain boiler. This results in a savings of nearly 65,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year.
Spent Grain Steam Boiler
Many breweries distribute the grain left over from the brewery process, or “spent grain” to nearby farms. But there are no cows in Juneau, so Alaskan Brewing has been drying and then shipping their spent grain to farmers and ranchers in the Pacific Northwest for nearly 20 years. In 2011, they put their experience to work by developing a first-of-its-kind steam boiler fueled entirely by their spent grain. With the new system, which became operational at the end of 2012, they have a goal of reducing their overall oil use by more than 65 percent. They continue to invest in this technology, that they believe could revolutionize fuel systems used in craft brewing.
The Alaskan Brewing Company brews eight year-round beers, four seasonal beers, and several limited edition beers. The year-round beers are: Alaskan Amber, Freeride APA, Icy Bay IPA, Alaskan White, Hopothermia, Smash Galaxy, and Husky IPA. The seasonal beers are: Spruce IPA (January - April), Kölsch (May - August), Cranberry Tart (September - December) and Winter Ale. The limited edition beers are: Alaskan Smoked Porter and the Alaskan Pilot Series, which consists of beers that go through a rotation of three to four a year, as well as the Boundary Range Hop Pack.
|Icy Bay IPA||1.057||6.2%||65||9|
- Hampson, Tim (2008). The Beer Book. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 16. ISBN 978-1405333016.
- "Awards". Alaskan Brewing Company. Archived from the original on 2008-05-10.
- Berman, Abby (March 15, 2017). "Brewers Association Releases Top 50 Breweries of 2016".
- "Our Beer". Alaskan Brewing Company. Retrieved February 9, 2018.