The Seattle Seahawks will be playing for a trip to the Super Bowl when they square off Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game, but win or lose, the season is a success for one Seattle brewery.
Hilliard's Beer, a 2-year-old brewery with six full-time employees, has scored big with the release of 12th Can, a beer named in honor of Seahawks fans, who are so loud they are referred to as a "12 man" on the field.
Hilliard's The 12th CanSource: Hilliard's
The idea for 12th Can started when a local radio station put out the call for a Seahawks-themed beer.
"There's always a fine line between 'what's a stupid idea' and 'wait, no that's brilliant!' We try to be open to good ideas," said Hilliard's co-founder Adam Merkl. The brewer decided to answer the challenge.
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"The general theory was, when you think of the Northwest, you think of craft beer, and in Seattle, you've got the Seahawks, shouldn't there be a craft beer for the Seahawks?" added co-founder Ryan Hilliard.
Released in September, the brew has succeeded Hilliard's wildest expectations. Nearly 300,000 cans were produced, or about eight times the brewery's original plan. During one stretch, Hilliard's was brewing from 4:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. each day to crank out the beer.
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"It got really crazy for awhile. It was trial by fire for us and it was a good demonstration to our guys here that we could kick out that much beer," said Merkl. "We built the brewery on the idea we should be able to ramp up our production easily, and we did."