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Popular Vt. brew starts bottling signature suds - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Popular Vt. brew starts bottling signature suds

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Bill Cherry started brewing Switchback beer 10 years ago.

Reporter Gina Bullard: It's like a roadmap of your career in here.

Bill Cherry: Yeah, it's true. It's very methodical of how you have to grow.

The recipe hasn't changed, but Switchback is making a switch. The ale used to be only available on draft at bars and restaurants. Now, you'll be able to enjoy a 22-ounce brew from the comfort of your home.

Gina Bullard: Did you get a lot of request for bottles?

Bill Cherry: Endlessly, daily for years and years. Now, it was that stubborn brewmaster thing of I can't do it right yet, so I won't do it.

Cherry wanted to make sure the beer on tap tastes the same as what people get in the bottle. After a year of working out the kinks, he found a machine he says will do just that. Cherry won't say what the bottling line cost, but says it's the biggest investment in the company's history.

Gina Bullard: What is it like to see this?

Bill Cherry: This is an amazing feeling actually, I'm proud.

Switchback plans to make 72,000 cases of bottles this year for sale only in Vermont. Cherry says that won't even quench demand, but he wants to make sure he's not growing too fast.

"This is a smart move," said Bump Williams, an industry strategist.

Williams says the craft beer industry is seeing double-digit growth with sales already up 12 percent in the first half of this year, and he says there is no end in sight to the craze.

"The price of craft beers continues to rise but isn't a deterrent for people because they value quality and they value the brand," Williams said.

A new twist for Switchback.

Switchback has hired two new people already to help with the new line and now has 14 employees. The bottles will be launched Oct. 22-- the date of the company's 10th anniversary. Switchback will also celebrate with a party before then. Click here for more information.

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