New cocktails at The Glass Jug Beer Lab. Photo by Samantha Ward.

In line with national trends that show slowdowns in craft beer sales and heightened demand for mixed drinks, The Glass Jug Beer Lab will make draft cocktails a permanent fixture on its menu starting in December, the Durham brewery announced this week.

“Craft beer is maturing,” says Glass Jug owner Chris Creech. “It’s flattening out. Whereas you’re seeing more of the newer, younger drinkers picking up cocktails or hard seltzers or ready-to-drink packaged cocktails. That segment is growing, so we don’t want to ignore it.”

The cocktails at Glass Jug, which has taprooms in downtown Durham and Research Triangle Park, will rotate seasonally and feature spirits from local distillers. The first slate includes a Moscow mule with vodka from Aristotle Spirits, a ginger rum punch with Southern Star Standard Bourbon, and rosemary foghorn with Conniption American Dry Gin.

Each drink will also incorporate splashes of Harper’s Real Ginger Beer, an alcoholic ginger beer brand that Glass Jug launched last year.

Creech says he put thought into executing the cocktail program in a way that makes sense with the brewery’s brand.

“I’m not Shannon Healy, I’m not Sean Umstead,” Creech says, referencing the owners of popular Durham craft cocktail bars Alley Twenty-Six and Kingfisher. “Also, we’ve hired a staff of people who want to work in a brewery. They did not want to work at a place that was mixing lots of cocktails. So what we ultimately decided was, well, we’re a taproom—let’s do cocktails on tap.”

Glass Jug’s expansion to cocktails comes in the wake of a recent North Carolina law change that opened the door for breweries, wineries, and distilleries to obtain mixed beverage permits for their retail locations. Previously, only restaurants and private clubs could apply for the permits.

“That was really the catalyst that’s allowed many breweries to add mixed drinks,” Creech says.

Glass Jug will host a party at its downtown taproom from 5 to 10 p.m. on December 1 to celebrate the launch of the new cocktail program. Coincidentally, the party also marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of Durham’s social drinking district, the Bullpen.

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