Savoring the Olympics, cup by cup

Local companies produce torch wine and coffee

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2002

When the Olympic torch is paraded through Juneau for the first time ever, it's too big a marketing opportunity to pass up.

Both Heritage Coffee Co. and the Alaskan Brewing Co. are taking advantage of the torch being here Jan. 24 to produce limited-edition beverages.

Heritage Coffee is roasting and bagging The Torch Blend, a combination of Central American and Indonesian beans, said company President Grady Saunders. "It's a medium-dark roast so it has been 'torched,' so to speak," he joked. He described it as having "a velvety body, mildly nutty with fruit and caramel nuances."

The coffee will appear in bags marked with a special sticker, available on local grocery store shelves Tuesday. "It will be priced the same as all other (Heritage) coffees, no additional cost," Saunders said.

"It will be kept in the stores as long as it sells," Saunders added. Heritage previously has created special blends for Juneau Jazz and Classics, the Alaska Folk Festival, and, most recently, 1,200 pounds of one to raise money for the World Trade Center Relief Fund.

Fifty cents from each pound of The Torch Blend sold will be donated to the Special Olympics, Saunders said.

Alaskan Brewing is producing Ol'ympian, a barley wine, in a very limited edition as part of its ongoing Rough Draft series, said Kristi Monroe, public relations director for the 15-year-old company.

"Traditionally barley wines are always named 'old' something, like 'Old Knucklehead' or 'Old Foghorn,' " Monroe explained, which is the reason the company coined the pun on the first syllable of the name of the world-famous athletic contest.

"Essentially it's a style of beer that is made in the winter," Monroe added. "It's very warming, a little bit higher in alcohol (about 9 percent by volume) than other beers."

Ol'ympian will be available at the Hangar on the Wharf only, beginning Jan. 22. It's being made in a batch of just a couple of kegs.

Alaskan's ESB and Alaskan Stout both had their beginnings in limited-edition runs, so if you like Ol'ympian, let the brewhouse know, and it could become a regular fixture on the brewery's production line. Alaskan Brewing considers its limited editions "educational experiences" for the whole crew.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at

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