B United Importer CT Beer

A Window To The World

You usually see the “three-tier system”, created after Prohibition, described as “Brewer, Distributor, Retailer”. However, that first tier also includes Importers, which is how foreign producers get their beer into the country. Importers face many of the same logistical challenges that Distributors do, but exacerbated by geography and border customs.

B. United International is a fairly young distributor, having been founded in 1994. They focus on both long-established classics as well as innovative, new offerings, but above all is freshness. So much so, in fact, that they bought special refrigerated tanks to transport beer & cider directly from breweries before it is even packaged!

 

Recently, some of our team took a road trip to Oxford, CT to meet their team and tour their facilities. In addition to the warehouse and barrel rooms that you may expect, they also have a small brewhouse, tasting room, packaging lines, coffee roaster, and greenhouses!

We started off sampling some fun offerings in their portfolio, such as:

 

  • 1996 Vapeur Cochon – A 22 year old vintage of a spiced saison, and one of our favorites overall!
  • Schlenkerla Helles-Märzen – This beer consists of the “non smoked” Schlenkerla Helles “aufkraeusened” with classic Schlenkerla Rauchbnier Marzen. Look for cans coming soon through the tanker truck program (see below!)
  • BAYRISCHER BAHNHOF Berliner With Oats – A classic berliner weisse brewed with oats for added body.
  • BIRRIFICIO BALADIN-Birra Nazionale – Made with 100% Italian ingredients- helped establish some of the first hop farms in the Mediterranean!
  • KIUCHI BREWERY- Anbai Ale -Anbai literally means “salty plum” and the word is also used to mean “just right” Anbai Ale is brewed based on the high alcohol version of Hitachino New White Ale, infused with locally grown green sour plum (ume) and finished with a pinch of Japanese sea salt (moshio) 

After that, we took a break for lunch and then got a tour of the facilities and grounds. One of the most impressive things was their refrigerated tanks. They have two huge ones, each with four compartments, with 3500 liters in each section, as well as some smaller 1000-liter ones. These allow B. United to import beers and ciders that they normally would not be able to. Some of the producers can’t package enough to fill a large order, or sometimes the cost of all of the bottles or kegs necessary is cost prohibitive. With these tanks, they can take the liquid directly from the source, ship it to the US in one easy container, and then can or keg it themselves back in Connecticut. 

Of course, the majority of their product arrives packaged, which is where their immense warehouse comes into play. As part of their focus on sustainability, they built it into the side of a hill, and the insulation from the earth allows them to rely solely on passive cooling! It was also great to see some of the vintage beers and sakes that they have saved.

 

There is also an experimental side to B. United. For starters, they are working on a coffee project, where they allow the beans to ferment along with some fruit, wood, and/or beer. They also house a brewery called Ordinem Ecentrici Coctores, or OEC. Focusing on wild and spontaneous fermentation, they age a lot of their beer in some of the wooden barrels that they get during the importing process, and sometimes add fruits that they grow in their own greenhouses.

 

The beer being produced under the OEC brand is some of the most experimental and thought provoking liquid that we’ve ever experienced. Halo, a 3.2% blend of Table Beer and their house kombucha was an incredibly refreshing, yet complex offering. We also got to sample Artista Zynergia: Eros, a wild blend consisting of a variety of OEC barrels as well as beer from Belgium’s Alvinne. Bracingly tart, the blend was conditioned on peaches and quince.

We cannot recommend visiting the folks at B.United and OEC enough. A trip to Connecticut can result in experiencing a very wide world of beer and other miscellaneous fermented beverages.

 

The Beer I Can’t Stop Thinking About: Berkshire – Coffeehouse Porter

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