Westmalle goes big; Stone goes small

New packages for popular beers:

Merchant du Vin announces that Westmalle Dubbel will be available soon in a 750 ml bottle with a cork finish. The Trappist beer currently is sold in 330ml bottles (and still will be). For many, Westmalle Dubbel personifies (if a beer can have a personality) the dubbel or “double” style. The monks at Westmalle began brewing a dark beer in 1836, and in 1922 were the first to use a dark sugar syrup in their beer to make the beer stronger (the Dubbel is 7.3% abv) without bloating the body. That has become a hallmark of the style.

Stone Brewing Co. announces that its Ruination IPA, previously available in 22-ounce bottles, will also be sold in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles. From the press release:

One of the most bitter beers in America, ringing in at over 100 IBUs (International Bitterness Units), Stone Ruination IPA was first released in June of 2002 and has since become one of the best respected beers in the “Double IPA” style category. Many brewers across the nation have even argued that “San Diego (Style) Pale Ale” is a more fitting name for this category, due to the origination of the style in the San Diego County region. Stone Brewing secured its position in that legacy at the very beginning by releasing some of the very first Double IPA’s in the world: the Stone Anniversary IPAs (1998 to 2001), followed by the release of Stone Ruination IPA in 2002. These beers were an instant hit with fans, many of whom are unapologetic “hopheads” (i.e., people who enjoy very hoppy, bitter beers such as India Pale Ales.) In fact, much of the initial prompting for Stone Ruination IPA, one of the first year-round bottled double IPAs in the world, came right from the fans themselves.

“Regardless of whether or not Stone Ruination IPA and the Stone Brewing Co. created ‘firsts,'” says Stone CEO Greg Koch, “the more important factor is that the beer has maintained its position as one of the principal leaders of the category. And now it leaps forward as being one of the first Double IPAs to be released with year-round availability in 12-ounce six packs.” So, why the change to smaller bottles? Since the beer is not only bitter but also quite strong (7.7% abv), it makes sense to have it available in conveniently sized 12-ounce bottles in addition to the 22-ounce “bomber” bottles (which will still be available). And if fans still want more? Well, there’ll still be five bottles left! Lucky them.