Submerge in Heavy Seas: Baltimore-based beer gains popularity

By Katelyn Newman

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While many may know of Natty Boh, Baltimore’s Heavy Seas beer crashed into the Inner Harbor in 2003 and has been slowly gaining headway in popularity.

After 18 years of brewing in the beer business, Clipper City Co. founder Hugh Sisson said that while he believes the creativity now falls more on the marketing side than the production team, “every day you have to wake up and slay more dragons.”

Before creating his brewing company, Sisson started Maryland’s brew pup, Sisson’s, in 1989.

“I didn’t plan this. My undergraduate and graduate degrees were in theater, but I’ve had a hell of a good time,” said Sisson, University of Virginia graduate. “If you’re not having fun in the beer business, you’re not in the right business.”

The Clipper City Co. produces Heavy Seas, the most popular flavor being its Loose Cannon.

Loose Cannon is an American India Pale Ale, getting its bitter taste from the hop plant, as well as grain, yeast, and water. It contains 220 calories and is about 7.25 percent alcohol per bottle.

Heavy Seas recently has promoted its Unchartered Waters barrels, which have a small but consistent fan base.

One beer of this series, referred to as Plank, is aged every year with a new type of wood, breaking new ground each time, said Sisson. This year’s Plank is aged with a Jamaican old spice wood.

Since the creation of the Heavy Seas brand, Sisson said his workforce is primarily focused on keeping up with the demand, which he said he believes is not a bad problem to have.



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