Beers for New Years

It doesn’t seem like it should be New Year’s already.  Where has the year gone.  This year has seen some radical changes in the alcohol industry.  Beer in cans has exploded.  Mixed drinks in cans by local distilleries has done the same.  Rosé is taking over the category by storm.  Pink is delicious, some sweet, some dry, some right in between.  Rosé is available from local wineries, in box wine options and now in cans.  Can wine, watch out, here it comes.  Great packaging and great product.  More on this later.

So, how best to cheer in the old and new year?  We have some wonderful ideas.

One of our top selling 3 beer items, Founders All Day IPA.  This beer keeps selling at a frenetic pace.  People love this brand and they love this beer.  It has all the flavor of an IPA but has great malt balance to attract the more timid palates of the world.  This beer is the definition of session beer and has started the revolution of session beer items that everyone seems to be making and matching.  This great tasting IPA has only 4.7% ABV with 42 IBUs.  This is a great item to offer your guests that come over to your party or to bring to a party.  A very good beer! Available in all VG's Grocery stores.

A local newcomer is Old Nation out of Lansing, MI.  Their new M43 New England style IPA has slammed the local market and has caused many beer companies to mimic this style of IPA.  Customers love it!  This IPA is a beer that non-IPA lovers will drink.  To me, it is an amazing balance of malt and hops that provide flavors of pineapple, mango, and grapefruit with a smooth finish.  This beer is hazy that is not a result of the yeast, but the “lipids form the malted oat oils and acids in the hand selected dry hops.” This beer lands at a 6.8% ABV and 65 very smooth IBUs.  A wonderful addition to your New Year’s celebration. Available in Michigan stores.

You need a sparkling for your celebrations.  One of the most popular sparkling is the sub category of Prosecco.  It used to be Asti Spumante was all the rage, but Prosecco has taken over this style.  Prosecco is also an Italian product and is made less expensively than champagne by utilizing the charmat method of sparkling the wine.  The charmat method has the secondary fermentation occur in stainless steel tanks versus each individual bottle.  This keeps the price reasonable.  The wine typically has a lower ABV than champagne as well.  Prosecco is used by many mixologists in their recipes that call for a dry sparkling wine.  We have La Marca Prosecco.  Aromas of white flowers, honey, and citrus couple with flavors of light grapefruit, green apple, and lemon.  La Marca Prosecco is our best-selling Prosecco at Family Fare. Available in all VG's Grocery stores.

How about Rosemount Estates Traminer Riesling?  I asked you to remember this wine for Thanksgiving back in September.  This wine is 79% Gewurztraminer and 29% Riesling.  It has a great balance of dry and very floral flavors from the Gewurzt blended with sweetness and acidity of the Riesling.  This wine spends 5 months in stainless steel and has a great aroma and flavor.  This wine is a perfect pairing with your new year appetizers.  It also is a great pairing for chips and cheese with salsa and guac.  Tacos or slightly spicy Asian fare pairs well with Traminer.   Great for sipping as well. Available in Michigan stores.

If a mixed drink is more your fancy, then I recommend our bestselling Michigan spirit which is New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon.  New Holland is the largest distiller in the state of Michigan.  This particular bourbon is first aged in new American oak barrels.  It is then finished in barrels that aged Dragon’s Milk Stout.  Dragon’s Milk is New Holland best selling beer at Family Fare.  A delicious stout that is aged in bourbon barrels.  So, if you are following this, you have a bourbon that is aged in beer barrels that were bourbon barrels.  The combination is a unique and delicious marriage of bourbon, oak, and stout.  The proof is 80.  It is made with 70% corn, 25% barley, and 5% rye.  You will be happy to get this as a gift or to sip in your armchair at home, reading a good book. Available in Michigan stores.

Gin is making a comeback.  We have a great local gin made by Gray Skies with a unique twist.  This gin was aged in barrel and has a beer hop, Citra, that is introduced in the botanical load of the gin making process.  This gin has a hint of grapefruit versus the traditional juniper.  The wood aging adds smoothness.  Try this with a splash of Simply Limeade from our dairy department.  You will be amazed and delighted with the result. Available in Michigan stores.

In our other markets we are really excited about Joia Spirit Craft Cocktails. Amazing mobile vodka cocktails combining fruit, herbs and spices, they’re all natural with no artificial anything and they’re lower in sugar and calories for a just-right, not-too-sweet taste — a fresh twist on classic cocktails. Three refreshing flavors, Sparkling Greyhound, Sparkling Moscow Mule and Sparkling Cosmopolitan. 6-7% ABV.  Not Available in Michigan.

With so many options, the hardest part will be choosing just one for that special toast at midnight. Have a happy New Year!


Greg Vanoverloop Beer Wine Spirits Category Manager

Greg VanOverloop, Beer & Wine Specialist

  • Started in the Grocery business bagging at D&W in 1975.  Worked at D&W for 30 years in various departments.
  • Worked at SpartanNash for 11 years.  Currently the Category Manager for Wine/Beer/Spirits for SpartanNash East.
  • Have been a category manager since 1990 and a category manager of beer  since 1997.  CM of wine and spirits since 2007.
  • Have travelled extensively which provided the opportunity to taste many foods and beverages from Hong Kong to Caribbean, from California to Maine.
  • Love to cook, grill, and bake, snow ski, sail, and read books.    Best baked item – a bourbon pecan pie with rum crust.  Best grilled item – salmon with blueberry onion wine sauce and goat cheese.  Best cooked item – Squash Apple soup with bourbon.  Best ski slope – Go Devil at Keystone.  Best book – Wonder.
  • 1 wife, 3 children, 7.3 grandchildren.