The marathon-themed Sam Adams 26.2 Brew will be re-released under a new brewery banner.

By Mike Pomranz
February 27, 2019
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Samuel Adams is one of the most recognizable beer brands in America, produced in over 60 different styles. But as craft beer geeks can likely tell you, Sam Adams is technically made by the Boston Beer Company. In general, that distinction has never been particularly important: Though the Boston Beer Company also produces other big brands like Angry Orchard Hard Cider and Twisted Tea Hard Iced Tea, Sam Adams has pretty much been the company’s only brand of beer, meaning when it came to brewing, the two were essentially synonymous. But that’s about to change: The Boston Beer Company is launching a new beer brand specifically targeting health-conscious drinkers, and they’re doing it under a new “brewery” name, the Marathon Brewing Company.

During an earnings call last week, Boston Beer President and CEO Dave Burwick said the company was in the initial stages of a nationwide launch a “new” gose style beer called 26.2 Brew from the Marathon Brewing Company. Making things a bit confusing, 26.2 Brew has been released previously — as far back as 2012 — under the Samuel Adams brand. Just how identical the two brews are isn’t entirely clear, but their intent is essentially the same: Sam Adam 26.2 Brew was regularly released to coincide with the Boston Marathon; Marathon Brewing 26.2 Brew will also target runners and athletes.

So why spinoff an established Sam Adams product under a whole new banner? The beer industry has seen massive interest in beers with a better-for-you bent recently: As evidence, look no further than Dogfish Head’s push to promote SeaQuench Ale as a beer for hydration or Sierra Nevada’s recent acquisition (its first ever!) of the “functional” beer brand Sufferfest. Though Boston Beer certainly could create a subsection of the Sam Adams brand to focus on this space, apparently the company thinks it makes sense to start with a fresh brand that consumers can identify with as a health-conscious label.

“We think there’s a whole platform around this type of beers,” Burwick said according to Brewbound. “[Marathon Brewing] will be a broader platform for beers within the health and wellness space.” And that’s not it: Boston Beer is also planning to roll out a new hard tea brand with less sugar and calories called Wild Leaf Hard Tea and an alcoholic kombucha brand called Tura. Apparently, getting boozy has never been so good for you.

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