Batch 19 breaks out with cans in return to retail

Batch 19 is back.

After a 5-year absence on retail shelves, the beloved pre-Prohibition lager brewed by AC Golden Brewing Co. is marking its return to retail outlets with the debut of striking black cans.

The beer, in rotation from 2010 to 2015, was reintroduced to draft lines in Colorado and Wisconsin last year. Six- and 12-packs of the 12-ounce cans are now available statewide in Colorado and will launch this summer in southeastern Wisconsin.

“The number one question we get on the (Coors) Golden brewery tour is, ‘What happened to Batch 19, and how can we get it back?’” says Meagan Nelson, marketing manager for AC Golden. “Seeing the success of its return to draft, and still hearing the off-premise demand for Batch 19, we decided to bring it back.”

Well balanced with just the right amount of hops bitterness to malt sweetness, Batch 19 pours a dark copper color with a full white head. Noble hops give it a spicy, herbal nose, along with a biscuity aroma from two malts that balance its hoppiness with subtle caramel flavors. The 5.5 percent alcohol-by-volume beer is naturally filtered and unpasteurized. At 26 IBUs, it’s more bitter than most modern American lagers, while retaining a smooth, medium body with a crisp finish.

Batch 19 was originally sold in bottles, true to its pre-Prohibition roots. But Nelson says the time was right to bring the brand back to market in cans.

“Cans are what consumers are looking for when they go shopping, and what they’ll find on the shelf. If we really want Batch 19 to be successful, that’s the way we want to go,” Nelson says. “We felt like it’s an everyday great beer, and I think the versatility of a can in terms of being able to take it to a backyard barbecue, or camping or hiking, makes it fit our drinkers’ lifestyles as well.”

As for the timing? Strong consumer demand answered the question of whether to launch during a pandemic, Nelson says.

“We actually had several conversations about pushing back the launch, just given the state of the world right now,” Nelson says. “But we went to our distributors, as well as our key retailers, and they said, ‘We’ll take it and we want it.’ They’ve been so excited for this to come to packaging.”

Batch 19 is brewed by AC Golden, a craft brewery inside Molson Coors Beverage Co.’s  brewery in Golden, Colo. AC Golden, which sits under Molson Coors’ U.S. craft unit Tenth & Blake, also makes beers including Colorado Native’s array of ales, lagers and sours, and serves as a small-batch testing ground for craft innovations.

Batch 19 exploded onto the market in 2010 with a viral origin story: the recipe, once lost to time, had been discovered in one of Adolph Coors’ logbooks. AC Golden brewers made the beer for themselves and loved the bold, hoppy taste. It was introduced to the public with subtle packaging that called to mind grainy black-and-white photographs of the pre-Prohibition era.

However, as company priorities shifted, in 2015 Batch 19 was again returned to the brewery archives. But it remained popular, in memory, at least, and AC Golden brought it back in 2019, the 100th anniversary of Prohibition’s enactment.

Now the beer that has its roots in a time before radio is showing up on video happy hours, Nelson says.