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Craft brewer ABC partners with Chinese brewery on special beer

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Joe Finkenbinder, owner of Bionic Brew, teamed up with Appalachian Brewing Co. to craft a Fortune Cookie Ale.
Joe Finkenbinder, owner of Bionic Brew, teamed up with Appalachian Brewing Co. to craft a Fortune Cookie Ale. - (Photo / )

The makers of a new craft beer hope to prove that fortune cookies can do more than just accompany the check at a Chinese buffet.

Looking to have a little fun and maybe find some good fortune, Harrisburg-based Appalachian Brewing Co. recently collaborated with a Chinese brewery, Bionic Brew, on a Fortune Cookie Ale.

ABC plans to release a limited batch of the beer in early September.

"This beer will have a slightly creamy toasted flavor reminiscent of the fortune carrying cookie we are all familiar with," ABC said in its description of the beer.

The brew was made with the help of about 2,000 individually wrapped fortune cookies. When it's released in the brewpub, beer glasses for the ale also will be garnished with fortune cookies, according to ABC.

Bionic Brew is owned by Joe Finkenbinder, a Carlisle-area native who graduated from Big Spring High School in 1998. He said he doesn't expect the collaboration will lead to any uptick in business for his small brewery, which is in Shenzhen, China.

"I just thought it would be interesting to try," he said. 

Finkenbinder was in the U.S. for a few weeks to visit friends and family. In advance of the trip, he reached out to some local breweries about possibly collaborating.

ABC and a second brewery agreed and went to work on recipes.

Bionic Brew is  working with Molly Pitcher Brewing Co. in Carlisle on a beer infused with green tea, according to the company's Facebook page.

"The collaborations are fun," Finkenbinder said. 

Bionic Brew got its start about three years ago. Finkenbinder had been working part-time at a brewery in Beijing, and he had been homebrewing.

Bionic Brew was the first craft brewery to open in Shenzhen, he said. Since then, others have followed, but there is still not enough supply to meet the demand, he said. Shenzhen has more than 15 million people, is surrounded by other large cities and is next to Hong Kong.

Finkenbinder also owns a beer distribution company that is focused on helping small Chinese craft-beer producers. As he grows, he said he would like to help small U.S. beer companies, likely on the West Coast, who want to export beer overseas.

He also hopes to attract investors who are interested in helping him expand his operations.

"There is way too much demand and not enough supply," he said.

In the future, Finkenbinder said he hopes to collaborate with other regional breweries, including Troegs Brewing Co., the midstate's largest beer producer.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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