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Ruby Red Kolsch makes an early return 

Genesee Ruby Red Kolsch is the brewery's best selling seasonal beer.


Genesee Ruby Red Kolsch is the brewery's best selling seasonal beer.

Rochester isn’t out of winter’s clutches yet, just take a look at the dreary, drizzly forecast for next week. But the Genesee Brewery is kickstarting summer anyway by releasing its locally beloved seasonal Ruby Red Kolsch to stores next week.

This is the earliest the release has been rolled out, as it’s typically sold during the late spring and summer months. It’s expected to have an extended stay though. “Kolsch season” will run nearly half of a year before Genny rolls out its mainstay fall seasonal Oktoberfest in late August.

In 2020, Ruby Red was the best selling beer in Rochester and Buffalo, according to data from industry analysis company IRI.

“We’re really on fire with our seasonals,” said Inga Grote-Ebbs, brand director for Genesee. “Spring Bock stocks are low, so instead of having another run of Bock, which would put us over (season), we decided to move ahead with Ruby Red Kolsch.”

Ruby Red Kolsch was first introduced in 2018 and was immediately a brewery best-seller, selling out in a matter of weeks. Social media sites were awash with people desperately searching for the citrusy, low-alcohol brew.

Since then, the brewery has consistently upped its production of Ruby Red to keep cans on the shelf, boosting its output more than sevenfold from 2018 to 2019. This year, there will be eight production runs of the beer throughout the newly-extended season.

Ruby Red Kolsch has traditionally been launched in April, though in 2020 the release moved to early in month instead of the middle or end.

The beer itself lands at a modest 4.8 percent alcohol, and pours a clear, clean straw color. It's flavor of a light lager is complemented by notes of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.

“I think it’s a sign of summer,” Grote-Ebbs said. “Or, in this case, hopefully spring.”

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or
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