NB Liquor is holding a lottery giving people the chance to buy 12 bottles of very rare — and very strong — beer from Boston brewery Samuel Adams.
The 54-proof Samuel Adams Utopias is among the strongest beers in the world. One 24-ounce bottle packs as much alcohol as a 12-pack of Bud Light.
At about $130 per bottle, this is a beer designed for people on more of a champagne budget. The beer is non-carbonated, made from a blend of several types of beers and aged in bourbon and port casks.
Marcelle Saulnier, with NB Liquor, said hundreds are vying for the chance to buy the specialty brew.
"We've had a great uptake. As of [Friday] morning we're nearing 300 and we expect that to rise," she said.
Andrew Estabrooks, head brewer of New Brunswick-based beer company Picaroons, said Utopias — and craft beers in general — take a long time and effort to brew.
"They age it in barrels, usually for at least a year. So it's a lot of processing and they use very good ingredients in it," he said.
Utopias is not for the faint of heart. An average bottle of beer is five per cent alcohol. This specialty beer is 27 per cent alcohol by volume or 54-proof.
"There's so much booze that it would just take over everything. So the key, the art, to it is to make it taste good and still be drinkable," said Estabrooks.
Not everyone is willing to pay a triple-digit price tag for a single bottle of beer.
"130 bucks for one bottle of beer? I suppose it’s a collector's item. So, well maybe. Some people have more money than brains and they might be interested," said Mike Price.
"We’ve got specialty made beer about two blocks from here, I’m happy with that," said Mike Hutchins.
Estabrooks said there is a market in the province for this type of product.
"I think as craft beer is gaining some credibility [like] the wine world or of that mentality. There's no harm in cellaring some beers and having some keepers that you open up, two, three four years down the road," he said.The first ever beer lottery at NB Liquor closes May 25.