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Apparent death of Santa Claus

On December 6 (St Nicholas' Day) there will be a day of mourning over the decision to end production of Samichlaus ("Santa Claus", in Swiss-German), the world's best-known Christmas lager. This extremely strong (14 per cent), creamy, peppery, warming, brandyish, chestnut-coloured was launched in 1980 by the Hurlimann brewery, of Zurich. The beer has since been brewed on the saint's day every year, and released 12 months later, with a "vintage" date on the label.

In 1996, the brewery was acquired by a rival, Feldschlosschen, in the spa town of Rheinfelden, near Basel. Wishing to concentrate on its mass-market beers, Feldschosschen has decided that the batch of Samichlaus brewed in 1996 and released in 1997 will be the last example of this speciality. They claim that sales are uneconomically low - although it is widely celebrated by beer-lovers outside Switzerland. At least one other brewer in Switzerland would like to revive Samichlaus, but no agreement has been reached.


Published: DEC 1, 1998
In: Beer Hunter Online

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