Originally posted by David_NYC
I quite didn't know what it was made out of until about 2001, when Guiness bought the old Schaefer brewery in Fogelsville, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania to produce Smirnoff Ice. Then it dawned on me: You only buy a brewery if you want to make something beer-like.
Yeah, I've never really discovered exactly *how* they make those "malternatives" - I, too, figured it was some sort of lightly brewed "malt beverage" with added flavorings- actually, I guess, I didn't WANT to know
But, this summer, when Boston Beer Company brewed and kegged the first trial batches of Sam Adams at that old Schaefer Brewery Jim Koch was quoted in a number of local articles (most no longer online, unfortunately) in which he praised the workers for their care in "moth balling" the actual brewhouse, etc. Several reports, in fact, even claim the brewhouse had been "shut down" since the Pabst>Diageo deal.
(Like this short TV news piece- http://cbs3.com/local/Sam.Adams.Lehigh.2.758993.html
The only written example of such quotes I can now find is this BeerYard News piece- http://www.beeryard.com/news/default.cfm?f_date=6%7C2008
with Koch quoted: "I am most happy for the people who work here, many of them from the beginning and many who returned after our acquisition. They took great care of the brewhouse when it was shut down because they believed somebody would come and make beer here again. And they were right."
Also, most reports have Boston having to spend up to $50 million to renovate the place (that's more than Schaefer spent to build it, as I recall) and tho' the brewery was listed as having a capacity of 5 million barrels as a Schaefer plant (and, indeed, Schaefer sold 4.7 million barrels of beer in '77, after they'd closed all their other breweries), now Boston is saying it's in the under 2m bbl. range.
So, it sounds as if the Diageo products weren't really "brewed" and the facility was used more for mixing and bottling, than any actual "brewing". IIRC, part of the Diageo>BBC deal has Boston continuing to make and bottle those malternatives for Diageo for a time.