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This Essex County brewery's doughnut-flavoured beer usually sells out in minutes

An annual release, this doughnut-infused beer brewed in Kingsville, Ont., often sells out in minutes, and is set to drop for the third year in a row this week.  (Josiah Sinanan/CBC - image credit)
An annual release, this doughnut-infused beer brewed in Kingsville, Ont., often sells out in minutes, and is set to drop for the third year in a row this week. (Josiah Sinanan/CBC - image credit)

For the third year in a row, a special release, doughnut-flavoured beer is expected to send residents of Essex County, Ont., into a frenzy.

And though the brewery responsible for Colasanti's Donut Beer has increased the batch every year, it is known for selling out completely, in mere minutes.

"We knew it was going to go fast and we knew people were going to like it, but we had no idea it would sell out that quickly," said Rick Santarossa, the marketing manager at The Grove Brewing Company in Kingsville, Ont., which produces the once-a-year special brew.

The first year it was only available online, a batch of around 2,000 cans sold out in four minutes. Doubling the batch the following year and making it available in-person bought them a bit more time, but it was all gone within fifteen minutes, according to head brewer Donavan McFadden.

The Grove Brewing Company in Kingsville, Ont., brews and cans a large selection of beer, including the annual Colasanti's Donut Beer.
The Grove Brewing Company in Kingsville, Ont., brews and cans a large selection of beer, including the annual Colasanti's Donut Beer.

The Grove Brewing Company in Kingsville, Ont., brews and cans a large selection of beer, including the annual Colasanti's Donut Beer. (Josiah Sinanan/CBC)

"For all of the significant things we've done over the years, I didn't think a doughnut beer was going to make us notable and noteworthy," said McFadden.

"We hope that everyone gets to try it this year."

This year's drop happens Thursday, and beer lovers are keeping their eye on the prize to secure their share.

Head brewer Donavan McFadden with The Grove Brewing Company, who conceptualized and then brewed a doughnut-infused beer.
Head brewer Donavan McFadden with The Grove Brewing Company, who conceptualized and then brewed a doughnut-infused beer.

Head brewer Donavan McFadden with The Grove Brewing Company, who conceptualized and then brewed a doughnut-infused beer. (Josiah Sinanan/CBC)

One local resident who stocks up every year says he'll be waiting in line and have his spouse at home with her finger on the mouse, ready to order. Eric Hodgson lives in Kingsville, but often takes a few of the specialty beer up to his brother-in-law in Norfolk County, around three hours away.

"He's already got some reserved, it'll be in the truck next time I head up," said Hodgson.

"The flavour is so unique, you can't find this anywhere else in Ontario. It's like a doughnut in a can."

Eric Hodgson, a Kingsville resident who anticipates the release of the doughnut-flavoured beer every year.
Eric Hodgson, a Kingsville resident who anticipates the release of the doughnut-flavoured beer every year.

Eric Hodgson, a Kingsville resident who anticipates the release of the doughnut-flavoured beer every year. (Josiah Sinanan/CBC)

Santarossa says that there's been a fair share of disappointment in years past when the stock runs out.

Rick Santarossa is the marketing manager at The Grove Brewing Company, who also designed the can for this year's Colasanti's Donut Beer.
Rick Santarossa is the marketing manager at The Grove Brewing Company, who also designed the can for this year's Colasanti's Donut Beer.

Rick Santarossa is the marketing manager at The Grove Brewing Company, who also designed the can for this year's Colasanti's Donut Beer. (Josiah Sinanan/CBC)

"This poor woman came all the way from Chatham [last year]. She was about 10 minutes late, and was so distraught. We just had to tell her, 'hopefully next year.'"

McFadden says the limited release is intentional, a way to bring a "spark of joy" into an otherwise dreary time of year.

And the frenzy doesn't stop in Ontario, either. The Grove has shipped cans as far as Alberta and British Columbia in the past.

The beer is inspired by the legendary cinnamon-sugar doughnuts sold at the restaurant, garden and petting zoo known as Colasanti's. The roadside attraction has been an Essex County staple for generations.

"We have people who've been visiting us for decades. We feel like we're bonded with the community," said Terry Colasanti, the current owner.

"I've been eating these doughnuts for about 50 years now, and I consider them a health food. We have the secret recipe that we don't share with anyone."

Terry Colasanti and daughter Ashley Colasanti, who run the popular roadside attraction Colasanti's in Essex County, Ont.
Terry Colasanti and daughter Ashley Colasanti, who run the popular roadside attraction Colasanti's in Essex County, Ont.

Terry Colasanti and daughter Ashley Colasanti, who run the popular roadside attraction Colasanti's in Essex County, Ont. (Josiah Sinanan/CBC)

Colasanti's daughter, Ashley, has taken some of the reins as the fourth generation to run the establishment, and she says that secret doughnut recipe hasn't even been shared with the brewery for this beer.

"We're really lucky to be invited to partner for this exciting doughnut beer," she said.

"We're really hoping that those interested will have a chance to try it this year. But there is something about our hot doughnuts, with cinnamon and sugar. It's something special."

As far as the taste of the actual beer, the Colasantis say the taste is quite similar.

The Grove Brewing Company in Kingsville, Ont., brews all of their craft beer in-house.
The Grove Brewing Company in Kingsville, Ont., brews all of their craft beer in-house.

The Grove Brewing Company in Kingsville, Ont., brews all of their craft beer in-house. (Josiah Sinanan/CBC)

McFadden shares that it's an infusion of specialty fresh dried cinnamon, lactose, brown sugar and and high-end bourbon-grade vanilla that makes the beer hold a distinct taste.

But the collaboration with a local staple is what keeps people coming back.

The limited release beer is available tomorrow at The Grove Brewing Company in Kingsville, Ont. or online, starting at 11 a.m.