(Bloomington, IN) – The growth of local beer in Indiana in recent years is a great cause for celebration, but local beer is not something new; in fact, it is our heritage. Though most of us are not old enough to remember the last time that the beer in someone’s hand was brewed just down the street, beer was once the sole province of local breweries. Though the craft beer movement might seem new, it is actually as much about looking to our past as it is moving into the future.
“We’re heading into our 15th year of operation on the heels of a massive brewery expansion, and the next few years are going to be very exciting,” says Upland’s President, Doug Dayhoff. “But we think the best way to celebrate the success that local breweries like us are having is by paying tribute to Indiana’s most successful local beer in history.”
Champagne Velvet is a German-inspired lager that was the flagship of the Terre Haute Brewing Company during its heyday, from the turn of the 20th century until the late 1950s. If you were living in Indiana during this time, it was the beer you and your friends would raise to celebrate the end of the work week, that you’d take with you on a weekend fishing trip, and that you’d serve at holiday get-togethers. Champagne Velvet defined beer in Indiana for over fifty years before the Terre Haute Brewing Company fell victim to the rampant practice of consolidation that characterized the brewing industry in the latter half of the 20th century. CV lost its home and identity, and eventually fell out of production altogether.
But that was not the end for Champagne Velvet. Inspired by the hand written brewing notes of the Terre Haute Brewery’s assistant brewer, Walter Braun, dated to 1901, the brewers at Upland Brewing Co. are resurrecting Champagne Velvet, much as it might have been in its early pre-prohibition years. The men and women of Indiana will once again taste the smooth and flavorful lager that is their heritage in bottles and on draught beginning in April 2013.
And Upland wants you to be a part of the revival. “The Champagne Velvet Heritage belongs to everyone,” says Dayhoff, “so we want to let everyone be a part of this process.”
The branding, of Champagne Velvet changed during its 50+ years as Indiana’s favorite beer, and Braun’s recipe notes are intriguingly incomplete, giving Upland’s brewers the opportunity to get a little creative. They want your help in deciding exactly what the beer should look and taste like.
The first step is deciding on the look. To help with that, go to the CV Art Survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/cvart) between December 5th and December 8th and have a look at several CV labels from different periods in its history. Rank them in order of preference, and Upland use the winning label as the foundation for the new CV artwork.
CV also featured a number of slogans during its first life, and the Upland team has come up with a few new ones we like as well. Help them choose which one to use during the week of December 17th (details coming soon).
The final – and most important – step is the recipe. The brewers are making several pilot batches based on Braun’s recipe, and they want your help deciding which one will ultimately go in the CV bottle. By participating in either of the surveys mentioned above, you will enter yourself in a random drawing to be part of the CV Tasting Panel. If you win, you will receive email, and in January 2013, the Panel will gather at the Upland Brewery in Bloomington, IN to taste the different pilot batches and decide the future of CV.
The Upland team is looking forward to a great 15th anniversary and celebrating Indiana’s brewing heritage with local beer lovers.
For more information about Champagne Velvet, visit www.champagnevelvetbeer.com.