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TheStreet Open House

9 Holiday Beers Already On Shelves

PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- To any of you who feel the need to complain about the fact that you're seeing Christmas decorations in your local home and garden stores or holiday wrapping paper in the aisles of your big box store of choice, just zip it.

Compared with beer lovers, who've been seeing winter beers on the shelf since August, the average consumer's concerns about holiday creep sounds trivial. "Oh, the lawn reindeer offend my eyes!" Spare us. Those little baubles are just replacing displays of grills and lawn furniture that absolutely nobody wanted to buy anymore.

Holiday beers are nudging in on shelf space that should rightfully be occupied by Oktoberfest, pumpkin beers, harvest ales and the occasional fresh hop offering -- you know, beers people want to drink around this time of year. But we also realize that brewers have to get these varieties out so there aren't a bunch of spicy ales and reindeer labels hanging around in January when nobody's interested. We're also know that beer shipments that exceed 15 million barrels during peak summer months slowly trickle to about 12 million barrels in December and slightly less during the Thanksgiving holiday season in November, according to the Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

That said, brewers playing it close to the margins want to be ahead of changing tastes as much as possible. About 92% of American holiday consumers added food and beverages onto their holiday shopping in 2012, but spending on that holiday party cheer rose from $86 per person in 2008 to nearly $110 last year. That's a difference of almost a full case per person, and a whole lot of cash on the table for breweries trying to trudge through a slow season.

Though lots of the bigger breweries, including Boston Beer (SAM) and its Samuel Adams brand typically hold off until November before releasing winter favorites, here are nine examples of holiday cheer available this very minute:

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