Clown Shoes Beer, a Massachusetts brewery known for stirring up a little controversy with its labels, is moving into Ohio this month.
“We knew for the last couple of years that there was already some demand within Ohio for the beers that we do and we were just waiting to have the capacity to brew enough beer for our current market as well as Ohio,” said Matt Smith, marketing and compliance manager with the brewery.
Clown Shoes has moved into a new brewery with a 30-barrel brewing system and larger fermenters, allowing it to expand its distribution footprint. The brewery produced between 5,000 and 6,000 barrels last year, and is expected to do about 10,000 this year.
The initial Ohio launch will focus on Cincinnati, with the beer hitting store shelves and bars and restaurants late this week or early next week. The Columbus market is coming next. Clown Shoes should be in the Cleveland area toward the beginning of November, Smith said.
The following beers, distributed by Premium Beverage Supply, will be rolled out initially, with more hitting next month:
• Hoppy Feet, a black IPA.
• Muffin Top, Belgian-style tripel IPA.
• Galactica, a double IPA.
• Chocolate Sombrero, a Mexican chocolate stout.
• Genghis Pecan, a pecan pie porter.
• Tramp Stamp, a Belgian-style IPA (draft only).
Clown Shoes has 10 year-round beers, with many other seasonal and limited release brews. Its flagship beer is Clementine, a Belgian-style white ale.
The brewery sells some of its beers in 12-ounce four-packs, while others are in 22-ounce bombers.
One of its more interesting beers is Vampire Slayer, a smoked imperial stout that contains real holy water. Clown Shoes tried to get a priest to come and bless the water used for the beer, but none would visit the brewery. So Clown Shoes orders holy water online.
“We add a little bit of holy water to every batch we do,” Smith said. “People get a kick out of the holy water.”
While beer geeks may be familiar with the Clown Shoes brand, regular craft beer drinkers in Ohio likely are not. Clown Shoes built up its brand name during a label controversy in June 2011 when Beer Advocate Events Director Candice Alström criticized its labels for Lubrication, Tramp Stamp and Brown Angel.
Clown Shoe fans then fiercely defended the brewery. For a recap on that issue from Beer Pulse, click here.
“That gave us a lot of publicity and it worked very well for us and spread the word about what we’re doing,” Smith said.
As for those controversial labels, he said the brewery tries to have fun with its brand.