One Small Town’s Cereal Shortage and the Man Behind It

A brewer's cereal confession solves a spooky mystery in Fort Collins, Colorado.

BySUSANNA KIM
October 21, 2014, 1:35 PM
PHOTO: A small brewery in Fort Collins, Colo. is using Count Chocula cereal in its beer.
A small brewery in Fort Collins, Colo. is using Count Chocula cereal in its beer.
Amazon

— -- Call him a "cereal killer."

A small Colorado town's grocery mystery was solved when it was discovered a brewery, not a cereal-loving vampire, had bought out boxes of a spooky, seasonal favorite to create a Halloween-themed beer.

As a result, there is a shortage of Count Chocula in Fort Collins, Colorado, where Black Bottle Brewery is using it as an ingredient in a small-batch beer.

The brewery's Cerealiously beer series has previously used cereal including Golden Grahams, Reese's Puffs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, for a "milky stout," the Coloradoan newspaper reports.

PHOTO: Black Bottle Brewery co-owner Sean Nook said about the Count Chocula-inspired beer, “We literally open the boxes and put them into food-grade nylon sacks and put them in the fermenter for a week."
Black Bottle Brewery co-owner Sean Nook said about the Count Chocula-inspired beer, “We literally open the boxes and put them into food-grade nylon sacks and put them in the fermenter for a week. And all those sugars and flavor come off the cereal into the beer. And then we take the soggy cereal out and we transfer the beer and carbonate it and then keg it.”
Black Bottle Brewery

Count Chocula was sold out in a local Albertson's grocery store in Fort Collins in just two days after it received its shipment.

Black Bottle Brewery sympathized with Kristen Clark, 37, a local resident who was distraught by the cereal’s dearth. So the brewery gave her a box of it on Sunday. Though Clark, an accountant, is a vegetarian, she makes an annual exception to eat her favorite marshmallow-laden cereal, which she said she has loved ever since she was a kid.

“To me, it’s nostalgic,” she told ABC News. “I remember commercials when I was a kid. I always loved Count Chocula.”

PHOTO: Black Bottle Brewery gave a box of Count Chocula to Kristen Clark, who was distraught the local grocery store was sold out of her favorite cereal.
Black Bottle Brewery gave a box of Count Chocula to Kristen Clark, who was distraught the local grocery store was sold out of her favorite cereal.
Black Bottle Brewery

Clark, who usually buys three boxes when the cereal is released, said her family is sending a couple more boxes from Oregon.

Albertson's grocery store in Fort Collins says it won't be receiving any more pallets of Count Chocula, as it is a seasonal item ordered in the summer. But the other two "Monster" flavors are in stock, they said.

Count Chocula, a vampire who prefers chocolate to blood, was first introduced in 1971 with his famous tag line. Since 2009, General Mills' monster cereals, including Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Franken Berry, have only appeared in grocery stores for Halloween.

The brewery said it adds 40 pounds of cereal to a seven-barrel batch. Then it is steeped after fermentation.

PHOTO: Count Chocula in throwback packaging.
Count Chocula in throwback packaging.
General Mills

Black Bottle Brewery said the beer will be available Oct. 30, and there will be future Cerealiously beers, including Lucky Charms for the next St. Patrick's Day.

"Some of the snobby brewers out there think we’re stupid for doing it and honestly if they’re hating on us, then we’re doing something right," said Sean Nook, Black Bottle head brewer and co-owner with his wife. "And it’s a fan favorite. Whenever we release it, it’s pretty much gone. When we release it, it’s the fastest moving beer we have."

PHOTO: Fort Collins, Colo. is seen in this image.
Fort Collins, Colo. is seen in this image.
Google Maps

"We’re pretty off the wall anyways. We have a lot of fun with everything we do. A lot of our beer names are silly and even though we’re wild, we’re still good people and we reached out to her," Nook said of Clark.

PHOTO: Black Bottle Brewery is seen in this undated handout photo.
Black Bottle Brewery is seen in this undated handout photo.
Black Bottle Brewery

A spokesman for General Mills, Mike Siemienas, told ABC News: "We enjoy seeing people create new recipes with their favorite cereal products," and the "Monster" cereals' highest volume was during the Halloween season.

PHOTO: General Mills released this photo of throwback cereal boxes Boo-Berry, Count Chocula and Franken Berry.
General Mills released this photo of throwback cereal boxes Boo-Berry, Count Chocula and Franken Berry.
General Mills

ABC News' Stefanie Tuder contributed to this report.

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