The first retail packages of Brewery Ommegang’s Neon Rainbows beer are hitting Wegmans stores in New York this week.
Neon Rainbows, a New England-style India pale ale, is the first product to be produced at Ommegang’s new canning facility at its brewery in Cooperstown, N.Y. Ommegang was co-founded by and is now owned by the Belgium-based brewer Duvel Moortgat.
Photograph courtesy Brewery Ommegang
Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans said Neon Rainbows packages would be delivered by distributors to Wegmans stores from Sept. 27 to Sept. 29, or within three days of leaving the new Ommegang canning line. In a blog post, Wegmans likened the Ommegang deal to partnerships with local produce suppliers delivering in-season fruits and vegetables directly to its stores.
“Freshness isn’t just for the perishable departments anymore,” the company said.
Several retailers are partnering with local craft brewers to drive differentiation and local positioning. Earlier this year, select New York Wegmans stores were the first retail outlets to carry Ommegang’s Hopstate IPA, a limited release featuring New York-grown barley and hops. And Food Lion partnered on a limited run of "Lion Series" beers by New Sarum brewing in North Carolina.
Canned beer is quickly growing in popularity among brewers and consumers, particularly among craft brewers, Wegmans said, owing in part to sustainability concerns and also to improved technology. Previous Ommegang beers available in cans were outsourced to a canning operation at the FX Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, N.Y., according to Ommegang.
“Having a smaller canning line enables us to produce small runs and to experiment with a variety of beers in this packaging format,” said Rick DeBar, technical manager for Ommegang. “It also helps us ensure that cans will always be fresh since there won’t be large volumes sitting on shelves.”