There’s no question that New Zealand’s Epic Brewing gets marketing. We couldn’t help but be impressed by the press release we received with their latest new product, Larger. In addition to playing with the clever name, they managed to also remind us how successful their existing lager is, highlight the changes to latest release of Mash Up, and point out that they are celebrating their 6th birthday on 15 December. Usually in marketing, it’s a good idea to stay very focused, but this seemed pretty good bang for one launch buck.
The beer itself, we’re told, is designed to slot into the successful niche created by Hop Zombie, and then left vacant due to a shortage of the US hops it depends upon. (Shall we point out the irony of the company once claiming to single-handedly cause a hop shortage getting bitten by a hop shortage?)
An 8.5% lager is a tricky beast. As one friend said “Why Imperial Pilsner? What are brewers thinking when they try to get more from a beer essentially designed to taste like nothing?” But, after tasting this one, he admitted it started to make sense, if you want easy drinking high alcohol beer. Epic warned us that the bottles should taste better in a week, but for now it has a pretty assertive hop character that overwhelms any noticeable malt flavours.
We aren’t sure if there is a market segment that will pay Epic prices for that, but they’ve crafted a good enough product to find out.