Two iconic Chicago’s alcohol brands, Jeppson’s Malört and Revolution Brewing, have announced a special collaboration that the two will unveil on Friday. The makers of Malört, CH Distillery, have taken kegs used to brew Revolution’s top-selling Anti-Hero IPA to distill a special batch of Malört that gives the liquor some of the beer’s characteristics. Anti-Hero Malört will be available starting on Friday, but preorders could start as soon as Wednesday through CH’s website.
The variant Malört, which offers a bit of a hoppy bouquet, will also be available for Grubhub delivery or curbside pickup at Revolution’s Logan Square brewpub. Revolution Brewing is Chicago’s top-selling craft beer sold at stores in Illinois. Malört is Chicago’s legendary spirit made popular at dive bars. Primarily consumed as a shot, the bitter taste either allures or repels. Drinkers pick a side. It’s just like rooting for the Cubs or White Sox — there’s no middle ground. Malört’s grapefruit taste should meld together with Anti-Hero’s own bitterness in the collaboration. The ABV, at 35 percent, will remain the same as the original. The bottles will retail for $25.
Bars across the country have remained closed since mid-March as elected officials try to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. Though bars could sell growlers of beer to go, those sales hardly compensate for the draft beer sold under normal circumstances. Beer’s being dumped. During the pandemic, Illinois lawmakers have allowed bars to return unused cans, bottles, and kegs to their manufacturers as a cost-saving measure for bar owners. Revolution has seen many of its Anti-Hero kegs returned as the beer makes about 40 percent of the company’s sales, according to a brewery spokesperson.
Revolution’s co-founder Josh Deth and CH Distillery’s owner Tremaine Atkinson on Saturday will also host a live video call to talk about their new creation. The Zoom meeting starts at 4 p.m. Saturday and will be held in conjunction with the Chicago Brewseum which continues to search for a place to build its museum of beer history.
Revolution and CH Distillery are also tying a charity component to the new product, donating $5,000 each to a fundraiser benefitting hospitality members who have been affected by COVID-19. Support Staff, a charity founded by Chicago bartenders, has established the Comp Tab Relief Fund. The fund has raised more than $21,000.
The new Malört will also be available at Binny’s liquor stores, but buyers should take caution. The 750 ml bottles, color of the liquor, and main body label are the same as original Malört. The only visible different is a sticker on the neck feature Revolution’s label, so keep an eye for that. This initial batch of Anti-Hero Malört will be 1,300 bottles yielded from 160 beer kegs.
Malört has done some special one-offs with other breweries but hasn’t bottled them. Three Floyds Brewing has taken its wildly popular Dark Lord imperial stout barrels to distill Malört and offered at bars, such as Kaiser Tiger in West Loop. Since CH Distillery purchased Jeppson’s Malört in 2018, they’ve made travel-sized Malört bottles, branded hand sanitizer, and created a Jeppson’s-branded bourbon.