Happy 25th Winter Warmer!
By: Charlie Storey, Sr. V.P. of Marketing Published:
Harpoon Winter Warmer is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Wow! It seems like yesterday when I had my first taste and was blown away by the spice flavor that I had never had in a beer before. Then again, it also seems like Winter Warmer has been part of the holidays for as long as I can remember.
25 years ago, Winter Warmer was the only New England-brewed craft seasonal. The style was based on winter warmers from England - mild ales with very distinctive cinnamon and nutmeg spicing. “Microbrews”, as they were called back then, were unusual on their own. A microbrew with spices was way out there! Many people, apparently unaware of brewing history, thought it was unholy to put spices in beer. But there were others who absolutely loved it. Each year we would hear from customers who were either heartbroken when it was gone, or who had put five or six cases in their basement so they could enjoy Winter Warmer year round. There were others who would compare the beer to the previous year’s Winter Warmer, and comment on the “new recipe” and what they liked and disliked about it. Well, in the course of 25 years we did make some changes (like lable design for instance!), but they were hardly annual. Winter Warmer gets people talking and thinking about beer.
My colleague Fitz describes Winter Warmer this way: “If you like pumpkin pie, you’ll like this beer; if you don’t like pumpkin pie, it doesn’t taste anything like it.” You’ve got to drink a Winter Warmer (or two) to understand what Fitz is getting at. Better yet, try that one out on your friends. My suggestion is to bring a few bottles to your next tailgate or your friend’s deck, and on a cold November afternoon when the light is thin and fading, crack them open to warm up. I also enjoy a glass after dinner. Winter Warmer has become a holiday tradition for me, and for many other beer lovers. If you are a veteran Winter Warmer drinker like me, here’s to 25 more years of great beer drinking. And if you are a new comer, welcome and enjoy. Happy Holidays!