Hoppy Ending & Barely Legal Coming to Whole Foods

For those out there who have tried and enjoyed Palo Alto Brewing Company’s signature beers the Hoppy Ending Pale Ale and the Barely Legal Coconut Porter, they will soon be available in the bottle at Whole Foods Markets.

According to Kasim Syed, the brewer, sales representative, delivery guy, for the company, which is owned by his parents, all the approvals have gone through. Within a couple of weeks, he believes people will be able to find the company’s brews in several Whole Foods stores in the Peninsula including Palo Alto, San Jose, and Santa Rosa.

However, that doesn’t mean fans of the beers have to wait a couple of weeks to grab a six-pack. The company’s distinctive labels have made into about 30 stores in the past two months Syed said including Mollie Stone’s markets, Piazza’s Fine Foods, City Beer Store and the East Bay’s Beer Revolution.

Back in February Palo Alto Brewing Co. hit a milestone in its year-long effort to expand beyond the confines of its two to three regular taps at Palo Alto’s local beer pub the Rose and Crown when it received its license to sell its beers by the bottle at retail stores.

Syed, who owns and manages the Rose and Crown said, “We sell so much here; they’re in our top-sellers, and people started to ask where else they can get it.”

Despite the relative success the company has had at smaller craft stores, getting the beers into larger more mainstream outlets has proven more difficult.

“If you’re not talking to a craft beer place then they want to keep with the same stuff they’ve always had,” Syed said.

Getting the beers into Whole Foods, for example, Syed said, meant talking to about seven to eight beer buyers in different stores throughout the region, and convincing them to say to the regional beer manager that they want to stock the product.

Another obstacle, besides jumping through larger corporate hoops with the big chains, has been a moderate amount of balking by mainstream stores, most notably BevMo, at the beers’ edgy labels and names. The Hoppy Ending features a long-haired buxom cartoon woman massaging a very content looking cartoon hop, and the Barely Legal Coconut Porter cartoon girl mirrors the Britney spears Catholic school girl look- bare-midriff, cleavage, pigtails, and all.

Syed isn’t too concerned though. “Our target age is 21 and over,” he said with a little chuckle, “We like to have a sense of humor.” One concession the company has had to make recently, however, was agreeing to change the name of the Barely Legal to the “Barley Legal” Coconut Porter.

Palo Alto Brewing Co. also has an IPA, a bourbon barrel aged version of its coconut porter, and a barley wine, but for now only the Hoppy Ending and the original Coconut Porter will be sold in bottles. That way, Syed said, they can keep brewing in small batches and make sure that the bottled beer stays fresh. The rest of the beers will be available from time to time in the Rose and Crown and possibly on tap at other specialty brew pubs.