Soda a Sweet Complement to Beer for Craft Brewers

This is how many brewers made it through Prohibition…-PGA

Among craft beer fans, Sprecher Brewing Co. might be best known for its Sprecher Amber — or perhaps its Black Bavarian.

But the Glendale-based brewer’s most popular brand, by far, is one with a sweeter taste: Sprecher Root Beer.

Sprecher Brewing sells around three times as much root beer and other sodas as beer. And, while that’s unusual within its industry, Sprecher isn’t alone among U.S. brewers that also sell soda. The dual beer and soda makers include other smaller Wisconsin brewers, as well as Chicago-based MillerCoors LLC, which has a sideline business in root beer tucked among dozens of large brands that include Miller Lite and Coors Light.

To be sure, most of the nation’s brewers, including more than 2,700 craft brewers, aren’t in the soda business. And some, such as Chicago-based Goose Island Beer Co., owned by industry giant Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, have sold their soda operations to better focus on the growing thirst for craft beer.

But, for other brewers, sodas remain a lucrative venture.

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