Stone goes low-carb

Justification Ale arrives just in time for April 1

Apr 1, 2004 - Stone Brewing Co., which has a history of making major beer announcements on April 1, today indicated plans to release a low-carb beer called Stone Justification Ale. The brewery describes the beer as being a full-flavored, full-bodied, specialty low-carb light beer.


"In Stone Justification Ale, we have created a beer with an extraordinary depth of flavor lightness," said Stone Brewing Co. CEO Greg Koch. "One might think that the near-nonexistence of carbs in the beer would lead to a similar non-existence of flavor. However, we're going to tell people different. In fact, much of the deep, rich, satisfying flavor of Stone Justification Ale comes from the way we describe it, which adds no carbs at all! In our promotional materials we describe it as having significantly more character than it actually has — which is nearly none. The preponderance of the American public will perceive the beer in the way we tell them to perceive it."

Low-carb beers are the fastest growing segment of the beer market, with Michelob Ultra claiming a 2.1% share of supermarket sales in its first year. That has led to the release of other low-carb beers, most recently Aspen Edge from Coors.

A Stone press release states: "People are going to choose fat, calorie, and carbohydrate-laden foods no matter what. Stone Justification Ale helps them to feel better about those choices, and better about themselves as a result. Holding a Stone Justification Ale sends the message that you are taking care of yourself and that you are on your way to shedding those unsightly pounds. You can fake that you are enjoying the beer, but you can't fake how others see you. They have to do that themselves.... The fact of the matter is that it is much easier for us to fool ourselves than it is to fool others. Stone Justification Ale is your partner in doing both. Don't want to go to the gym today? Have a Stone Justification Ale! Over did it at lunch? Have a Stone Justification Ale! Don't want to do anything other than sit on the couch, munch on empty-calorie snacks and watch games on TV all day? Have a sixer, or more, of Stone Justification Ale!"

Stone is not the first specialty brewer to enter the low carb arena. Matt Brewing in New York has introduced Accel with 2.4 grams of carbs and 89 calories in a bottle, and Sleeman Breweries in Canada sells Sleeman Clear (2.5 carbs, 90 calories).

A label for Stone Justification list 2.5% alcohol by volume, but the company did not provide information about the calories or carbs in the beer. One industry observer questioned whether Stone will be able to market Justification to customers who expect bigger, bolder beers from the brewery. Could the venture into the low-carb area be an expensive detour for brewery? "Perhaps before worrying about that you should doublecheck the date on their press release," he said.

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