Green Man Brewery will release Snozzberry, its highly sought-after, oak-aged Lambic-style wheat ale, on Sunday, May 1. Bottle sales will begin at noon, with a purchase limit of two 750- milliliter bottles per customer.
The bottles will be selling for $22 apiece, a minor increase over last year’s price of $20 per bottle due to the addition of over 30 percent more fruit to this year’s batch. While no specific count has been released, when packaging was underway it was anticipated that approximately 600 bottles of Snozzberry would be available to the public.
Green Man boasts the oldest sour program in Asheville, dating back to the release of Funk 49 in early 2012. As American demand for sour beers has exploded in recent years, Snozzberry’s reputation in the beer community as one of the most coveted wild-fermented offerings produced by any Asheville brewery has ensured robust attendance at past release events. With this year’s release taking place the day after Burial Beer Co.’s Sharpen the Blades celebration of North Carolina saisons, and a day before the grand opening of New Belgium Brewing Co.’s Liquid Center tasting room, Snozzberry’s 2016 release is expected to be well-attended by both locals and visiting craft beer enthusiasts.
Sales will take place on the grounds of the newly completed Greenmansion, allowing the brewery to accommodate more customers with a simplified visitor flow. “There will be lots of signage to show people where to go,” says Elise Carlson, Green Man’s marketing director. “We’re trying to streamline as much as possible.”
Lines will begin in the alley behind the brewery, which runs parallel to Buxton Avenue, and wrap around the building to the production floor entrance nearest Dirty Jack’s. Doors to the brewery will be opened shortly before noon, and customers will be guided through a line on the production floor to a point-of-sale system where they will be allowed to purchase either one or two bottles. Customers will be given a wristband to represent each bottle secured and will then be directed upstairs to a conference room adjacent to the taproom to pick up their order. According to Carlson, the wristband system should speed up the purchasing process in comparison to previous years.
Customer experience was a paramount concern to the Green Man team responsible for planning this year’s event. In the event of rain, Green Man branded ponchos are likely to be for sale and ample space on the production floor is available for keeping large numbers of guests dry once doors are opened. Snozzberry will potentially be available on draft, and there are rumors of a special incentive in the works for attendees, although both of these possibilities are impossible to confirm at this time.
“We’ve got something cool [in development] that nobody’s done before,” says Green Man owner Dennis Thies in reference to this possible surprise. While no assurances can currently be given as to what will be pouring on Sunday, Snozzberry merchandise will definitely be available.
As with most bottle releases, sales are first come, first served, and there are no guarantees as to how long supplies may last. Those who attend are encouraged to be respectful and courteous to their hosts as well as fellow guests, and line cutting is strongly discouraged. The brewery also reminds guests that drinking on city property is illegal, as are alcohol sales before noon on Sundays. The Greenmansion and Dirty Jack’s will return to business as usual following the completion of sales.
Snozzberry bottles go on sale at noon Sunday, May 1, at the Greenmansion, 27 Buxton Ave.