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The Evolution of Dragon's Milk

by Lisa Diggs

To many beer connoisseurs, Dragon’s Milk is the nectar that truly put New Holland Brewing Company on the map. The West Michigan-based company opened its doors in 1996, and in 2001 a “legend” was born. The release of the first batch of the stout known for its roasty malt character and deep vanilla tones, was a gamechanger.
 
The name was derived from a story told in medieval times in which a knight’s reward for slaying a dragon was the treasured “milk of the dragon.” While it may have been an old tale that inspired the name, it is an old liquid that infuses the flavor. Dragon’s Milk is said to be one of the earliest bourbon barrel-aged stouts in the country. It began as a single-batch annual release, then grew to become New Holland’s largest selling year-round beer. No wonder they brand it as legendary.
 
What do you do when you have a big hit on your hands? Figure out a way to capitalize on its popularity by creating new products and enhancing the image. That is precisely what the brewery has done. Building on a brand repackaging initiative from 2016, late last year, New Holland introduced a separate marketing strategy for its popular family of stouts. In addition to the company having its own website to showcase a variety of products and locations, Dragon’s Milk now has a site of its own at www.dragonsmilk.com. Fans are encouraged to interact with the brand as @dragonsmilkstout on Instagram and to share their own triumphant tales using the hashtag #ShareALegend.
 
Like All In The Family, Law & Order, and CSI, the success of the bourbon barrel stout has lead to several spin-offs. A Dragon’s Milk Reserve line was created to introduce unique new flavor profiles each year.  The available roster currently includes Banana Coconut, S’Mores, and Orange Chocolate. The intriguing nature of each 2019 flavor is self-explanatory from the title.
 
“We are excited about our new line-up that focuses on innovative recipes that we feel are really going to strike a chord with our customers,” said Joel Petersen, Vice President of Beer Sales.
 
The latest addition to the brand’s story is Dragon’s Milk White.  Release parties are taking place in February and March to welcome the white knight to the fold. The full-flavored stout has strong notes of vanilla, cocoa, coffee roast, and of course, oak from the bourbon barrels. It is designed to provide a lighter stout drinking experience, and has a hazy, golden hue. This new brew can even be found in 12-oz cans.
 
Search New Holland’s beer finder to locate a Dragon’s Milk option near you.

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