The great shandy explosion
The emergence of shandy in the United States -- it was already popular in parts of Europe -- over the last decade is in no small part due to the success of Summer Shandy. Or, in a roundabout way, the success of the 151-year-old brewery’s Berry Weiss.
“We had a summer seasonal beer called Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss,” said Dick Leinenkugel, president of Leinenkugel’s and the sixth generation of the family to run the brewery now owned by MillerCoors. “It had been our summer seasonal beer for over ten years, since 1996. We actually put it out to a vote of our Leinie Lodge members. Seventy-five percent of them said they’d like to see Berry Weiss remain year-round.”
The decision to make Berry Weiss a year-round offering left a gap in the brewery’s portfolio. “Our team was forced to come up with a new idea for a summer seasonal,” Leinenkugel recounts. “I said let’s go back to our roots. Let’s see what Germans do in the summer. We discovered they certainly drink a lot more of their lighter style beers, the Berliner Weisse, the kölsch style from Cologne. We also discovered mixing beer with lemonade. They mix it with cola over there as well, but the lemonade thing was interesting to us because lemonade is such a nice summer refresher.”