National Premium starts brewing in Delaware

The first test batches of National Premium

For the first time in years, Maryland's beloved National Premium is being brewed again - in Delaware.

Tim Miller, an Easton realtor, bought the naming rights to the brand last year with plans to bring it back to the market for the first time since it was discontinued in 1996.


Last we'd heard from him he'd secured the original recipe and was looking to hire a contract-brewer.

That still hasn't happened, but for the past several weeks, he's started brewing the beer's first test batches at Fordham Brewing Company in Dover.


Miller said he still wants the beer brewed out of Maryland, and preferably within Baltimore's city limits - earlier this year he made light of Natty Boh for being brewed out of North Carolina.

But, he's found out difficult to find a state brewery that has the capacity to accomodate him. Most state craft breweries are fully busy with their own product, which has grown dramatically over the past year.

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Fordham has been brewing the test batches for the past several weeks. Miller said he's not committed to the Delaware company and has not signed a contract.

Miller said that if the test brews are satisfactory, the beer could be in the market as early as in six weeks. But he said it's a big if - more realistically, National Premium could be in bars and liquor stores by March.

He has checked off some other obstacles: the designs for labels, as well as the six-pack cases and the tap handles, are almost finished. He also said he's been courted by several distributors.

The biggest hurdle of all remains finding someone to make the beer for him.

And, finding an audience for his nostalgia beer, a trend that has been on the wane.

At least, Miller's project is getting some publicity. In a press release last week, Miller said the episode of "American Pickers" that features him is airing December 19 on the History Channel.


The show tours his family's old oil distributorship, a kind of "petroliana" museum, that he opened up to raise money for the National Premium revival.