Talking Craft Beer with Craft Manager Bill Neville

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What is your name and position with Euclid Beverage?

“Bill Neville, Craft & Import Manager”

How long have you worked for Euclid?

“I’ve been with Euclid for sixteen years, I’ve been in this position for four years.”

What’s hot in craft beer?

Firestone Walker Flyjack

Firestone Walker’s Flyjack low-cal Hazy IPA perfectly fits Bill’s assessment of what is in demand right now.

“Right now, what’s hot are the Hazys. Hazys and milkshake IPAs. Everyone’s loving a big, orange, juicy beer at the moment. They fly off the shelves, but we carry a lot of them. Sierra Nevada makes a really good one, called Hazy Little Thing. I think the Hazy Hero from Revolution is dynamite. And then the Gummy series from Noon Whistle. That’s just a few examples. And for milkshake IPAs, Brickstone has a great series of those right now. There are no bad options. Everything hazy flys off the shelves, so craft brewers are really focused on them. Their popularity might be peaking right now, but I don’t think the category is going to go anywhere.”

“Another category getting big right now is the low-cal IPA. Slightly Mighty IPA from Dogfish, 805 and Flyjack from Firestone Walker, those are big, for good reason. They’re great, crushable, low-cal beers. It’s all driven by the under-40 buyer, your millennials that are always looking for great products in the ‘Better-For-You’ category.”

What are some of the local craft breweries everyone should know?

“Our area is filled with them. Revolution, Brickstone down in Bourbonnais, Tangled Roots out of Ottawa. Really big right now is Noon Whistle in Lombard and soon Naperville, you definitely want to check them out. They’ve been blowing up for about two years now. Also Alarmist and Finch in Chicago, and Scorched Earth out here in Algonquin.”

Your best advice for selling beer?

“Never forget that every beer drinker has a different palette. You have what you like and what you know is good, and that’s important, but everyone has a different palette, so it’s important to carry a full range of styles to satisfy your customers. Sours are a great example. Some places hesitate to carry sours, but that palette is out there now. People that never drank sours before have discovered them and are drinking them.”

“Something else I say a lot, don’t sleep on your bigger craft breweries. A lot of people stray away from the big breweries nowadays, but they’re making really good beer. New Belgium has grown a lot and so your craft-focused buyer might overlook them, but Fat Tire is a phenomenal beer. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the best pale ale you’re ever gonna have. It’s possible that nothing will ever be a better example of a pale ale. So the best retailer knows not to overlook those great beers.”

What’s in your fridge right now?

“Right now in my fridge I have Miller High Life, always. I have some Paulaner Grapefruit Radler. I’m trying to mentally look in my fridge right now, picture it. I have some Dogfish SeaQuench Ale that I’ll definitely be drinking this weekend. Rev Hazy Hero is in my fridge right now, and Noon Whistle Hop Prizm.”

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