Alaskan Amber to take flight aboard Alaska Airlines; other brews to follow

Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2005

WRANGELL - Passengers aboard Alaska Airlines flights will have the option of buying a bottle of Juneau's home-grown beer starting Saturday.

Alaska Airlines and Alaskan Brewing Co. announced at the Southeast Conference annual meeting Wednesday that all of Alaska's flights will carry the company's beer for sale to passengers.

"It's a thank you to the locals who have been asking for it and a hello to our new consumers," said Cindy Burchfield, brand manager for Alaskan Brewing.

Airline Chief Executive Officer Bill Ayer said carrying the beer is a way to differentiate Alaska from other airlines.

With about 50 percent of the industry in bankruptcy, the airline is willing to try new marketing plans, Ayer said.

"This is the beginning of a long relationship with Alaskan Brewing," Ayer said.

For now, flights will carry Alaskan Amber. In the near future they'll also carry seasonal beers, such as Winter Ale, Burchfield said.

Alaska Airlines also serves Alaska salmon and chocolate, as well as bottled water from Sitka. Joseph Sprague, a vice president with the airline, said the company is thinking about forming more partnerships with Alaska companies.

The airline serves 59 cities, 20 of them in Alaska. Last year, it carried 16.5 million passengers.

Outside of Alaska, Alaskan beers are sold on shelves in Arizona, California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada and California.

"It also gives people the chance to go back home and look for it in their grocer's cooler," Burchfield said.

Burchfield did not know how many bottles will be on the planes this weekend.

She expects more jobs will be created to keep up with the growth.

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