A candy-inspired beer is the latest brew from the Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain.

By Mike Pomranz
September 11, 2020
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For generations, Pennsylvania’s strict alcohol laws essentially prohibited the sale of beer at convenience stores. But over the past decade, those rules have continued to relax, and now, not only do the state’s two largest convenience stores—Sheetz and Wawa—sell beer at some stores (Sheetz at over 100 locations, Wawa at only a couple), but both brands have also gotten into the business of making beer, too. Wawa introduced its first beer back in 2018 before rolling out three more last year. Then, Sheetz began playing catching up—introducing their own coffee beer in May 2019 and quickly following that up with a blueberry muffin beer in August and a purposefully absurd hot dog beer earlier this year.

Credit: Sheetz

Now, Sheetz is back to even up the score in PA’s convenience store beer rivalry—and the Altoona-based brand is once again going the extreme route: a watermelon wheat ale made with Sheetz watermelon gummy rings. But here’s some bad news for Pennsylvanians: For the first time, this new beer will be sold outside of PA and won’t even be available in the Keystone State.

For Sheetz fourth beer, the company choose to work with a fourth brewery and, though the first three brewers were all PA-based, this time—for the chain’s first non-PA brew—Sheetz has moved on to the well-regarded Virginia brewery, Hardywood Park. (Adding to the intrigue, Hardywood Park also worked with Wawa on one of their beers, but hey, not everything is about rivalries.)

The new beer, Sheetz Project Watt-Ahh-Melon Ring, is debuting today and will be available only while supplies last at “select Sheetz stores across Virginia and North Carolina” starting a 4 p.m. ET. (The chain asks that “customers adhere to all CDC guidelines including maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask” when rushing to buy this new brew.)

The final 5.3 percent ABV product is billed as “a light and refreshing tart watermelon wheat ale” brewed with “over 100 pounds of gummy rings” creating “the perfect complement to the heat.” Four-packs of sixteen-ounce cans have a retail price of $7.99.

“We are thrilled to partner with Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, a beloved brewery and destination in the heart of Virginia, to create this limited-edition craft beer,” Ryan Sheetz, AVP of brand at Sheetz, said in the announcement. “Our first-ever craft beer release in Virginia and North Carolina, this beer is the perfect way to cap off the end of summer.”

Meanwhile, Hardywood’s brewmaster and cofounder Patrick Murtaugh addressed the idea of making a beer from watermelon candy. “When Sheetz came to us with the concept of making a beer that would not only pay homage to their signature gummy watermelon rings but actually use them as an ingredient, we jumped at the opportunity!” he said. “At Hardywood, we have a deep affinity for pushing boundaries and creating bold and complex flavor and aroma profiles in beer that create memorable experiences for our fans.”

Sheetz says you can find a full list of participating locations at sheetz.com/beerproject.