Wawa taps sig­na­ture beer with lo­cal brewer

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Tustin [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com

CHADDS FORD >> Af­ter lock­ing down the mar­ket on hoa­gies, cof­fee and gaso­line, Wawa has en­tered a new fron­tier with the sale of its first sig­na­ture beer Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

Lead­ers of the con­ve­nience store gi­ant and As­ton-based 2SP Brew­ing Com­pany tapped the first keg of Wawa’s own Win­ter Re­serve Cof­fee Stout at its Chadds Ford store to kick off the first busi­ness ven­ture in selling their own spe­cialty brews.

“For Wawa, it’s all about com­mu­nity, build­ing re­la­tion­ships up with our cus­tomers and that’s what to­day’s all about. We’re de­lighted to have this launch to­day with our part­ners, 2SP,” said Wawa Chief Prod­uct Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer Mike Sher­lock.

The prod­uct de­vel­oped when Wawa was try­ing to come up with a win­ter cof­fee blend and 2SP stepped in at the same time to talk about a beer op­por­tu­nity with the com­pany.

“It seemed like a nat­u­ral fit for us and to be able to build some­thing for our brands to­gether, and re­ally part­ner two brands from Delco and sell our brew and stout in Delaware County and Philadel­phia area for a lim­ited time,” said Sher­lock.

2SP’s Di­rec­tor of Sales and Mar­ket­ing Michael Con­tr­eras said it was “a shot in the dark” chance to form the part­ner­ship.

“Bob (Bar­rar, 2SP head brewer) and I were ar­gu­ing over what we were go­ing to brew for the next quar­ter,” said Con­tr­eras. “The only thing we could agree on was our taste in cof­fee that day. I said, ‘let’s stop talk­ing, let’s hit up Wawa and see if we can brew a nice win­ter re­serve stout us­ing some of their beans.’”

Ac­cord­ing to 2SP rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the brew is cre­ated with four dif­fer­ent types of cof­fee beans from four dif­fer­ent con­ti­nents that Wawa was us­ing for their win­ter blend. Wawa Prod­uct Devel­op­ment Man­ager Michael McLaughlin said the key fla­vors from the beans in­clude dark cho­co­late, gra­ham cracker, some spice and fruit.

Bar­rar used an oat­meal stout as the base for the beer which adds a nice “creami­ness and sweet­ness” to the beer.

“We wanted the sweet­ness in the beer to bal­ance out the cof­fee char­ac­ter,” said Bar­rar.

Hun­dreds lined up around the store lead­ing up to the first pub­lic taste test­ing at 4:30. Wawa was of­fer­ing 300 tast­ing tick­ets for cus­tomers to get one of the first sam­ples and to grab their own four-pack of cans on the go.

How­ever, those tick­ets were al­most gone by 4:25.

Only 1,000 cases will be sold of the win­ter re­serve stout in the Philadel­phia area start­ing Dec. 10. Origlio Bev­er­age will be dis­tribut­ing the beer to bars bot­tle shops and dis­tributers.

The selling of their beer within Wawa stores is lim­ited to their Chadds Ford lo­ca­tion lo­cated at 721 Naa­mans Creed Road. This lo­ca­tion be­came the first, and to date only, Penn­syl­va­nia store in the com­pany to sell beer start­ing in Fe­bru­ary 2017.

Sher­lock said the com­pany is all about evolv­ing, and a con­tin­ued fu­ture in cre­at­ing their own beers and open­ing more stores in the Philadel­phia re­gion with the avail­abil­ity to sell it is some­thing that will be looked into.

PHO­TOS BY PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Wawa Prod­uct Devel­op­ment Man­ager Michael McLaughlin and 2SP head brewer Bob Bar­rar tap the Wawa Win­ter Re­serve Cof­fee Stout Thurs­day at the con­ve­nience store chain’s Chadds Ford lo­ca­tion.

Joseph Hig­gins of Glen­moore holds his four pack of Wawa Win­ter Re­serve Stout.

Hun­dreds stood in line to get their lim­ited edi­tion Wawa Win­ter Re­serve Cof­fee Stout.

Wawa Prod­uct Devel­op­ment Man­ager Michael McLaughlin pours the first glass of Wawa Win­ter Re­serve Cof­fee Stout.

PHO­TOS BY PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Hun­dreds stood in line to get their lim­ited edi­tion Wawa Win­ter Re­serve Cof­fee Stout.

Va­lerie O’Brien, of Wawa store 862 in Delaware, waits in line to buy a four pack of Wawa Win­ter Re­serve Stout.

Ruth Thu­man of Pasadena, Md. was the first in line for the lim­ited edi­tion brew. She drove two hours with her hus­band to pick up a pack for a present for her son-in-law.

Mike Con­tr­eras, di­rec­tor of sales at 2SP Brew­ing of As­ton, speaks about the cof­fee stout his com­pany com­pany brewed for Wawa.

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