Regardless of the merits of organic ingredients, if upstate New York’s Smart Beer didn’t taste good, it wouldn’t warrant coverage. The company’s debut product—an Organic Golden Ale—tastes refreshing and zesty. It’s lighter bodied but not too light, carries 5.5% alcohol, and delivers a well-balanced bite. Smart Beer is easy to drink but offers enough nuance (hailing from orange peel and licorice root) to hold up in a very competitive craft brewing culture. And then, remarkably, it is the first organic beer, USDA-certified and GMO-free, to come from New York.
Five years ago the idea struck Gabriel Heymann, Smart Beer’s founder who was once a musician touring the States (and a yoga instructor, as well). He spent years developing a team that could help produce an organic beer, touring breweries and locking down the relationships required to make it happen to his standard. Something he noticed early on, while naming his company, is that, “People have trouble remembering the crazy names of certain craft beers,” he shares with CH. “Smart Beer, however, brings our concept together. I didn’t see a beer that spoke to me in that way, from ingredients to values and packaging. Out of the simple idea of creating a great tasting refreshing beer that reflected a healthier lifestyle, Smart Beer was born.”
As for why their first offering is a golden ale, Heymann says, “We create beers that we like. I enjoy drinking more refreshing beers and I thought there was a real need in the market for a crisp craft beer. That’s why I started with this style. It’s almost like a lager, but with even more taste.” He notes that the craft industry has been very IPA-oriented of late, but that Smart Beer wanted to start with something distinctly likable and easily consumed. Further, they didn’t want to release a series of products at once, rather they wanted to launch with just one they had perfected. That said, 2016 will be a year of expansion and more styles are already in development. Altogether, the team started off aggressively, delivered a reliable product and have tapped into two growing markets in the food and drink world.
Smart Beer’s store locator will continue to update with retail locations. Additionally, they have just begun rolling out to Whole Foods locations in NYC.
Images courtesy of Smart Beer