The Current Gets Its Own Beer Through Schell’s Licensing Deal

The Current Gets Its Own Beer Through Schell’s Licensing Deal

August Schell Brewing Company is poised to debut a limited-edition beer named after local radio station The Current.

A 154-year-old Minnesota beer maker is licensing the brand of Twin Cities radio station The Current, and it’s set to debut a new seasonal beer bearing station’s name.

The Current—which is owned by Minnesota Public Radio and is known largely for its offerings of independent and local music—announced the arrangement on Tuesday, saying that its name will soon appear on limited-edition, 16-ounce “tall-boy” cans of beer made by New Ulm-based August Schell Brewing Company.

The Current initially approached Schell’s about a possible co-branding partnership, according to Tim Roesler, senior vice president of MPR’s St. Paul-based parent American Public Media (APM). Roesler, who was involved in forging the partnership, told Twin Cities Business that Schell’s is paying to license The Current’s brand, and the volume of beer sold will dictate how much APM receives in licensing fees.

Any profits the beer generates will then be put back into The Current’s operations. “We’d love to have it throw off funds to put back in the local music scene,” according to Roesler, although he said the partnership is largely meant to increase awareness of The Current’s brand.

More About “The Current” Beer

Schell’s makes a wide variety of beers, including seasonal and year-round craft varieties, although the Grain Belt brand, which it acquired in 2002, accounts for a substantial amount of its annual production.

“The Current” beer is a limited edition of Schell’s Zommerfest, a summer seasonal variety described as a “smooth, light Kölsch-style ale.” The new beer will be released in May, and it will appear in cans at “bars and liquor stores throughout Minnesota wherever Schell’s products can be found,” according to The Current.

A Schell’s spokesperson told Twin Cities Business that how long the beer is available will depend on consumer demand, but the brewery expects the beer to be available throughout the summer.

In conjunction with the launch of the new beer, The Current plans to market downloadable music on its website from local bands.

Schell’s President Ted Marti was not immediately available for comment Tuesday, but in a press release, he called the partnership a “win-win,” saying that “beer drinkers are looking to quench their thirst with a brew that has a good story behind it.”

APM’s Roesler told Twin Cities Business that the Schell’s partnership is the media company’s first such effort, and it plans to explore additional opportunities. “We’ll take a look at any opportunity like that through the lens of our listeners,” he said.

Schell’s has made custom packaging for its beer in the past. For example, the company created cans for the Twin Cities’ annual Zombie Pub Crawl, labeling its popular Grain Belt beer as “Brain Belt.”