Anyone remember the Coors Party Ball? If you were of drinking age back in the late 80's you may have encountered one at your local Frat or basic weekend bash. The Party ball was a five-gallon disposable container of beer - packaged in a box with a plastic liner (to hold ice). It dispensed the equivalent of 55 12-ounce cans. It was quite ingenious and very popular at the time.
After a few years on the market the Party Ball was found to be a contributing factor in tragic accident and was pulled from Utah store shelves (along with all Kegged beer). Eventually, legislation was enacted that limited beer container sold to the public to no more than 2 liters.
Now remember, this is Utah. Here the legal definition of beer is "a fermented beverage that does not exceed 4.0% Alcohol By Volume". Anything above that is considered liquor by the state. That's why higher alcohol beers are sold in liquor stores.
Why am I telling you all this? Well... it seems that the statutes that govern grocery store beer don't apply to Liquor store beer. The container size limitation never really applied to heavy beer!
Enter Greg Schirf. Utah's modern craft beer pioneer. Greg noticed that some wine containers in state liquor stores far exceeded the 2 liter limit. And since wine and heavy beer are considered to be the same by the state, heavy beer should receive equal treatment. The Utah D.A.B.C. agreed.
So with The DABC blessing Schirf began developing the next big thing in Utah's craft beer scene. The Chubby. Now the Chubby is nothing new. It's the same 5 liter mini keg that have been around for sale outside of Utah for years. The Chubbys come with a spout and pours from the bottom via gravity and can also be used with a low cost pressurized tap.
Schirf will debut his first Chubby sometime in September. It will contain Wasatch's newly released Golden Ale, then eventually Squatters IPA (yesssss!) and Devastator Double Bock.
If your interested in purchasing one of the dispenser units for the Chubby's Schirf is working on selling them at the Beer Store. They are also available at most retail stores like Target, Walmart etc. Pretty cool, eh?
Writing about beer is my hobby, but I'm a photojournalist by trade. Yesterday my friend and Fox13 colleague Scott McKane visited Greg Schirf and the boys at Epic to do a story on Utah's beer economy. Here's what we came up with.