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Demand soars for Jai Alai IPA as Oskar Blues opens NC availability

Posted March 11

When Oskar Blues Brewery bought Cigar City Brewing last year, the company added another hugely popular hoppy beer to their already dominant lineup.

Oskar Blues, which has a brewery in Brevard, already has Dale's Pale Ale—a hop-heavy ale in an iconic blue-and-red can. When they added Tampa-based Cigar City, though, they brought Jal Alai IPA into the mix.

Jai Alai is so sought after that Jake Hogan, the central North Carolina sales rep for Oskar Blues, said he sold 500 cases of the beer in the first four days it was available in the Tar Heel State.

"Cigar City is very similar to Oskar Blues in the way that they operate and the way that they see the world," Hogan said on the 919 Beer Podcast. "So, it was a good match. It worked out. They didn't get snatched up by Anheuser-Busch—they were about to."

Being similar in philosophy made the two breweries a good match. But Hogan said Cigar City was also a good fit for Oskar Blues because it was different.

Cigar City offers beers that plug some holes in what Oskar Blues carries, like the Florida Cracker Belgian-style White Ale. Oskar Blues doesn't have a matching beer, so adding it to the cache made sense, Hogan said.

"We each help each other to kind of fill out our portfolios and be able to offer basically any customer—we can fill any need that they have as far as styles go," Hogan said.

Jai Alai, named after the hard-throwing ball game native to the Basque region of Spain, is one of Cigar City's regular beers. It's massively hoppy with flavors of clementine, Valencia orange and a hint of caramel.

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Get the inside track on all things beer in the Triangle and North Carolina from the 919 Beer blog.