First, on the subject of the Winter’s Bourbon, I had sent in several questions (via email) as a sort of mini-interview. Here it is (forwarded to/from their brewmaster):
Florian Kuplent, Brewmaster, Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
For how long is the Cask Ale aged in the bourbon barrels?
Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale is matured on bourbon casks for several weeks. [Emphasis theirs]
Is the ale yeast used of a particular style, or a proprietary strain?
We don’t comment on the strain of yeast that is used – it is a strain from our vast collection of yeasts that we selected to create the flavors that we were looking for in this beer.
Has A-B been seeing success in the marketplace with this beer? (Difficult to gauge success against the A-B mainstream beers, I know)
The sales of Winter’s Bourbon, and the entire line of seasonals, have exceeded our expectations. Each offering in the seasonal program, ever since Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale debuted three years ago, has outsold the prior offering, as well as its own prior year sales. Craft beer drinkers have let us know that they enjoy the variety this program offers and that they look forward to the return of these brands each season.
Yes, I tend to have a slant towards the brewing process when I have questions. But there’s clarification on the aging: it is on cask staves, and not in barrels, which is what I’d assumed. Makes sense in terms of volume—barrel-aging is intrinsically a smaller-volume process and the kinds of numbers A-B is producing preclude that here.
As for the "primary source" I was wondering about for more information on the Mix-It-Up program, here’s the direct quote:
This an on-premise program for our Bare Knuckle Stout brand and we feature a different Anheuser-Busch beer each month for bar tenders to layer with Bare Knuckle. The drinks are themed such as the “Snow Drift” and the “Black Pumpkin” you mentioned. That’s really all there is to it which is why there’s nothing about it on the A-B Web site. We didn’t issue a press release on it.
This is sufficiently interesting to me that I sent in a few more clarifying questions about the Mix-It-Up program. I’ll post the answers to those when I get them.