HEY BEER! Do We Call It Mixed or Variety Pack?

mixed pack from Left Hand

I like to get deep into the weeds (or wort) with little nerdy beer questions on this blog. This one is no exception and it’s a really dumb question but one that has been bugging me for some time and I need to deal with it.

Is it Mixed Pack or Variety Pack?

When a brewery distributes and is big enough, they can start making mixed packs or variety packs. But which is it? This is super important guys! {insert your eye-roll here} I need to figure this out for some reason.

Let’s break down some of the heavyweights in Craft Beer and see what they call their packs. Maybe we can filter out some stuff.

Sierra Nevada Brewing:
Both. They use both. There is a 4-Way IPA pack of their own IPAs called a VARIETY pack. But most of their standard packs are called MIXED.

Modern Times:
Mixed. This one is maybe my favorite because it has the fun little window that shows you the rotating can from their MIXED pack.

New Belgium:
Sampler. Variety. Colab. They seem to use all terms BUT mixed.

Sam Adams:
Variety pack.

Upslope Brewing:
Mix box.

Stone:
Mixed pack.

Firestone Walker:
Mixed pack.

Left Hand Brewing:
Mixed pack.

Deschutes:
Variety pack.

Avery Brewing:
Variety pack.

Ska Brewing. They call theirs a Mixed Up Variety Pack. Woah. Mindblow. They use both. Now I’m thoroughly confused.

Beers Of The World: This was the original for me. So exotic these packs we would get (still I guess) from Cost Plus World Market. But they don’t call it mixed or variety.

Oscar Blues: “Cannundrum” is called a Variety Pack. But get this: their CANarchy pack is called a MiXED pack.

Maybe we have stumbled onto something here. The CANundrum is a pack with all Oscar Blues beers. The CANarchy is a pack that features beer from different breweries.

Variety Pack: Same brewery.
Mixed Pack: Different breweries.

Wait, what am I saying? I have already cited, in this post, examples of mixed packs with beers from the same brewery. Dummy,

It all comes clear. Or is it as clear as a juicy hazy IPA?

Gail Zack from Zack’s Brewing came up with a good suggestion the other day. Maybe it’s Variety when it’s different styles and mixed when it’s the same style.

Oh ok, this sounds right. Except, Sierra Nevada calls it a mixed pack whether its all IPAs OR the styles are mixed up. DAMMIT! So close.

Then I thought maybe the answer lies outside of beer. What about the big bags of the little bags of chips? The ones you get for your packed lunch or soccer snacks. Well a lot of them are called variety packs.

Then Frito Lay, as if to screw with me, calls them Mix Variety Packs.

Solved not solved.

Mixed or variety? There is no definitive rule. Guess we are left to wander around calling one thing two things.

This just in: Some people call them Sampler Packs. Oh fuck.

Cheers!

-Mikey

Before you go

If you would like some further talk on the subject, we discuss this topic in a VARIETY of ways on The Perfect Pour podcast, in particular during episode #277 “Have We Reached Peak Haze?”

Author: mikeytoppour

Lover of Indie Beer, blogging and podcasting. Star Wars is pretty cool too.

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