Commercial Beer

Introducing Sabro – a new, highly anticipated hop variety

Washington Beer News - 1 hour 35 min ago

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

 

As IPA continues to grow in popularity, so does the public’s interest in hops, perhaps the most important ingredient in IPA. Today, for the first time in the nearly ten-year history of this blog, I’m sharing news about one a new hop variety: Sabro. Hop heads should keep an eye out for beers brewed with Sabro hops, a.k.a. HBC 438. This hop has a pretty cool backstory, one that is rooted in the mountains of New  Mexico.

First up, you need to know the lingo. YCH Hops is a hop supplier based in Yakima that provides hops to breweries around the world. That’s who announced the arrival of this new hop. Most breweries do business with hop companies like YCH rather than directly with the farms.

The Hop Breeding Company (HBC), also based in the Yakima Valley, is a group that develops new hop varieties. Basically, a group of really smart farmers and scientists who practice hop husbandry. (Want to know more about all this hop stuff, see the article I included at the bottom of the story.)

Haas Innovations Brewery is the beer-making branch of John I. Haas, Inc., one of the hop producers involved in Hop Breeding Company. I know it’s hard to keep it all straight. Haas Innovations Brewery gets first crack at a lot of HBC’s new hop varieties. Pro tip: Cowiche Canyon Kitchen and Icehouse (a restaurant and bar in Yakima) often features beers from Haas Innovations Brewery. It’s pretty rare to see those beers on tap anywhere else. If one of Haas’ beers is on tap, it’s probably brewed with an experimental hop.

When you come across a beer that features a hop designated as HBC XXX instead of a normal name, it is one of Hop Breeding Company’s newer, experimental hops. Eventually, if it makes it to the next level and proves itself worthy, an HBC-numbered hop gets a name. For instance, HBC 369 is now known as Mosaic™. HBC 384 is now known as Citra™. 

YCH Hops just announced the introduction of a new flavor hop bred by Hop Breeding Company. Sabro™ was previously known as HBC 438. This highly anticipated new hop features a neomexicanus heritage.

More geeky stuff. Most every hop that you know and love is of European descent. Though they are grown here, in some cases for over a century, they did not originate here. Their ancestors are not native. Neomexicanus is a genetically distinct sub-species of the hop family that has been growing wild in the mountains of New Mexico for the past million years. The official name of the sub-species is humulus lupulus var. neomexicanus.

Reportedly, Sabro exhibits an intoxicating and complex blend of fruity and citrus flavors. It is described as an intensely unique hop, notable for its complexity of fruity and citrus flavors, including distinct tangerine, coconut, tropical fruit, and stone fruit flavors, with hints of cedar, mint, and cream.

Sabro is a strongly expressive hop that translates its flavor incredibly well into beer, according to Virgil McDonald, Brewmaster at the Haas Innovations Brewery. “It gives a robust brewing performance with a versatility that lends itself to many styles, particularly hop-forward beers.”

According to the press release about this new hop, Sabro’s exceptional flavor profile has its roots in its H. lupulus var. neomexicanus heritage. Indigenous to the American Southwest, the neomexicanus “wild hops” can be difficult to breed. However, HBC’s advanced breeding program, led by breeders Jason Perrault of Select Botanicals Group and Michael Ferguson of John I. Haas, successfully harnessed the properties of the neomexicanus heritage to create this new hop variety with an incredibly unique aroma and flavor profile.

“Sabro HBC 438 is the culmination of a two-decade-long breeding effort aimed at combining the uniqueness of neomexicanus genetics into a background with good agronomics and exceptional brewing qualities,” says Perrault. “It was a long process, but the results speak for themselves.”

Alex Barth, CEO of John I. Haas, agrees, “Aside from its wonderfully complex and unique flavor profile, we also love the fact that this new hop is more genetically diverse. If part of your heritage includes the desert and mountain environments of the Southwestern US, you have a strong survival spirit in your genes – the essence of sustainability.”

Sabro joins other HBC proprietary varieties Citra® brand HBC 394, Mosaic® brand HBC 369, Ekuanot™ brand HBC 366, and Loral® brand HBC 291. Mike Smith of Loftus Ranches and Select Botanicals Group says, “Together, Citra and Mosaic comprise almost 15% of hop acreage in the US. Brewers love using these hops for their consistency, high quality, and distinct flavor profiles. We at the HBC truly believe that Sabro will quickly become another brewer favorite, from the smallest local brewpubs to the large national brands.”

Beers brewed with Sabro can be sampled at the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville next week, at both the John I. Haas booth #1112 and the Yakima Chief-Hopunion booth #824.

Here is an article I wrote for Sip Northwest magazine about hops and hop breeding that lends more insight into the fascinating world of hops.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

 

 

For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Oakshire Brewing Presents Hellshire Day 2018 on May 12th

Brewpublic - 9 hours 12 min ago
With the return of Hellshire Day 2018 on Saturday, May 12th, Oakshire Brewing will once again release its annual bourbon barrel-aged beer for the eighth year. Hellshire VIII Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, brewed with cinnamon, cocoa nibs, coffee, vanilla beans and dried peppers will be available at the 5th Annual Hellshire Day for $20 […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

The Hop Breeding Company Introduces New Sabro Hop

Brewpublic - 9 hours 47 min ago
YAKIMA, WASHINGTON, April 23, 2018 – The Hop Breeding Company (HBC), a joint venture between John I. Haas, Inc. and Select Botanicals Group LLC, is excited to announce the release of the new proprietary hop Sabro™ brand HBC 438.  Sabro is an intensely unique hop, notable for its complexity of fruity and citrus flavors, including distinct tangerine, […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

12th Annual Portland Cheers To Belgian Beers – June 1-2, 2018

Brewpublic - 15 hours 42 min ago
The 12th Annual Portland Cheers to Belgian Beers returns to The North Warehouse in North Portland from June 1-2, 2018. For the annual event that is hosted by the Oregon Brewers Guild, expect approximately 75 Belgian-style beers brewed by Oregon craft brewers. This year’s Cheers to Belgian Beers will feature two different yeast strains, Precious and Suburban […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Pelican Brewing Releases IPA Flight Mixed 12 Pack

Brewpublic - Sun, 04/22/2018 - 8:48pm
Pacific City, Oregon (April 19, 2018)—Pelican Brewing Company this month delights fellow fanatics with a special pack of IPAs to explore a delicious spectrum of hop flavors and aromas. The new Pelican mixed IPA 12-pack showcases a medley of unique IPA styles with Beak Bender Hoppinated India Pale Ale, Beak Breaker Double India Pale Ale and […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Bailey’s Taproom Hosts UKFest 2018

Brewpublic - Sat, 04/21/2018 - 8:05am
So for this year’s installment of UKFest 2018, Bailey’s Taproom once again reached out to brewers in the Pacific Northwest to brew a beer style that is from the United Kingdom… and Ireland*. UKFest 2018 will take place today, Saturday, April 21st from Noon-Midnight at Bailey’s Taproom. Its on this day that Bailey’s gives a […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

McMenamins Kalama Harbor Lodge Opens Today

Brewpublic - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 2:15am
Paying tribute to the historic architecture of the Pioneer Inn located in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, McMenamins opens its Kalama Harbor Lodge today, Friday, April 20th. Kalama Harbor Lodge is located about 45 minutes north or Portland along Interstate 5 and the Columbia River. The lodge itself overlooks the mighty Columbia and sits just south of […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Celebrate 4/20 With Lagunitas The Waldos’ Special Ale

Brewpublic - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 2:00am
Today is April 20th, the day where aficionados of cannabis celebrate nature’s most popular underground herb. It is also the day that Lagunitas Brewing has also been celebrating since 2011 with The Waldos’ Special Ale. Part of Lagunitas’ 2018 OneHitter Series, The Waldos’ Special Ale has been released every year since 2011. Dedicated to all […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Falling Sky Brewing Spring Brewer’s Dinner with Hank Shaw aka Hunter Angler Gardner Cook

Brewpublic - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 10:19pm
For its upcoming 2018 Spring Brewer’s Dinner, Falling Sky Brewing will collaborate for the first time with Eugene Meat Collective and Hank Shaw, one of the leading wild game chefs in the nation. The Spring Brewers dinner is a five-course food and beer pairing that will take place on Monday, May 7th at 7:00pm. Each […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

The Beer Here – CBD Beers, 420 Beers; Beer Events For the Week of April 19th

Brewpublic - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 1:58pm
CBD beers, Japanese beers, Hopworks beers–it’s a big beery weekend; beer events for the week of April 19th. The Day Before 20 Tap Slam 6 pm Thursday April 19, N.W.I.P.A., 6350 SE Foster Rd; Sunriver Brewing Co. are back again, after crushing last years GABF awards btw, and this time dropping their new Nelson IPA […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Brewing Eclectic IPA: Pushing the Boundaries of India Pale Ale, by Dick Cantwell

Washington Beer News - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 9:15am

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

 

Most beer lovers appreciate a good IPA. Those who don’t are often ostracized, fairly or not, for being contrarians or snobs. Why do so many breweries these days produce so many IPAs? Because breweries are in the business of selling beer and IPA is what people want to buy. If your palate is too sophisticated for IPA, then I suppose you’ll just have to suffer through these harrowing times. Meanwhile, the rest of us are enjoying the golden age of beer.

For brewers, the challenge is to make your IPA stand out in the crowd. Not an easy task. I remember when Elysian Brewing introduced Avatar IPA, brewed with jasmine flowers. That beer stood out in the crowd. At a time when IPAs had not yet grown eclectic, Dick Cantwell created one that was.

All that having been said, Dick Cantwell just published a new book that every craft brewer in America probably needs: Brewing Eclectic IPA: Pushing the Boundaries of India Pale AleIf you’ve been wondering what Dick Cantwell has been up to since leaving Elysian Brewing, well this is part of it. He’s now also one of the owners of a brewery in San Francisco (read about that).

Here’s the official blurb about the book:

Craft beer’s most popular style, India Pale Ale, is experiencing a flavor revolution. Brewers are using a wide range of ingredients, from cocoa nibs to coffee, fruits to vegetables, spices, herbs, and even wood, to push the boundaries of the style.

Explore the creative ways these flavors are included when brewing these highly-hopped beers. Try your own version using 24 recipes for contemporary IPAs designed by one of the country’s top brewers.

You can order a copy of the book here.

 

For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Bellingham Beer Week, April 20th thru 28th

Washington Beer News - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 8:39am

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

 

In recent years Bellingham, Washington has earned a reputation as a great beer town, with over a dozen breweries in and around the city. Along with that, a handful of great beer-focused bars and a beer-loving populace that has turned Bellingham into the best place in America to not find bad beer.

Bellingham Beer Week is a 9-day celebration of the city’s beer and brewing scene. This year it runs from April 20th thru April 28th with dozens of events around the city. Find out more about Beer Week and the events on the official website.

The Beer Week kickoff event is at the Local Public House (aka The Local) on Friday, April 20th. The Local Public House is Menace Brewing’s offsite taproom in heart of downtown Bellingham. For the kickoff, The Local will pour all of the Bellingham Beer Week Beers. And speaking of those, Fremont Brewing Company once again created a special beer this year, a nod of acknowledgement from a Seattle brewery that Bellingham is killing it these days when it comes to beer.

Although it may not be the official Bellingham Beer Week closing event, the whole thing comes to a crescendo on Saturday, April 28th with the 17th annual April Brews Days celebration at downtown’s Market Depot. The festival features over 70 craft breweries, food trucks, live local music, and thousands of people enjoying it all.

 

 

For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

2 Towns Ciderhouse Releases Two Thorns Specialty Rosé Collaboration Cider Honors Portland Thorns

Brewpublic - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 3:26am
With the National Women’s Soccer League back in action for the 2018 season, 2 Towns Ciderhouse offers a new cider that honors the NWSL champions Portland Thorns FC. Two Thorns is a specialty rosé cider in collaboration with the 2017 championship-winning Portland Thorns FC that features fresh-pressed Northwest apples, raspberries, and rose petals. “This year […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Cheese Wars at Hellbent Brewing on Saturday, May 12

Washington Beer News - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 9:35am

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

 

Saturday, May 12th at Hellbent Brewing in Seattle, two food trucks will compete in a Star Wars themed fundraiser. Who can make the best cheddar sandwich? You decide. Here’s the info straight from Hellbent Brewing.

Star-Wars themed food truck battle to raise funds for Seattle’ Children’s Hospital

Saturday, May 12th
2:00 – 9:00

 

SEATTLE- To celebrate Seattle Beer Week and raise money for Seattle Children’s hospital, Peach & the Pig and Wicked Good Grinders go head to head in a Star Wars themed intergalactic battle for the best cheddar sandwich.  The great people from the 501st and Rebel Legion will be rocking full, authentic Star Wars character costume and 8 Bit Brass Band will perform some of your favorite Cantina classics. A portion of every ticket sold will benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Tickets are $29.00 plus tax, and include:

A ballot to vote for your favorite sandwich,
Two Hellbent beers,
Two half sandwiches,
Two small sides (one side, one sandwich from each truck)
A small donation for Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Come support a great cause and enjoy this cheesy event!

For more information, visit

www.hellbentbrewingcompany.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/2087986234746290/

Tickets can be purchased at:

https://cheesewars.bpt.me

 

For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Pelican Brewing and The Bier Stein Collaborate On Marine Layer Foggy IPA

Brewpublic - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 6:54am
One of Oregon’s best beer bars has collaborated on a new beer with one of Oregon’s most awarded breweries. Last week The Bier Stein hosted the release of Marine Layer Foggy IPA, a beer brewed in collaboration with Pelican Brewing. Dave Stockhausen, The Bier Stein’s longtime beer buyer traveled out to Pelican Brewing in Pacific […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Pike Brewing Presents 2018 Women In Beer

Brewpublic - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 5:32am
When Seattle Beer Week returns from May 10-20, 2018, Pike Brewing will return with its 7th Annual Women In Beer. Held at Pike Brewing on Monday, May 14th from 5:00-8:00pm, Women In Beer celebrate women in the Northwest craft beer industry along with women owned and led restaurants, cideries, wineries, chocolatiers and more. Women In […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Schooner Brewing reopening its remodeled, rebranded taproom on Monday, April 23

Washington Beer News - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 3:03pm

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

 

A few months ago we told you about big changes at Schooner Exact Brewing in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. Today we share news that the revamped taproom is ready to reopen. In addition to that, they’ve opened a new business next door, Schooner Provisions.

That’s the Beer Hall’s bar and barback pictured above.

First up, the taproom, now branded the Schooner Beer Hall, opens for business on Monday, April 23rd. It is still kid-friendly and will still serve food. Next, the owners are now referring to the company as Schooner Brewing, as you’ll see in the press release below.

The new Schooner Beer Hall features “modern updates such as contemporary light fixtures, fresh artwork, a salvaged wood accent wall behind the bar, a custom-built shuffleboard, and an updated food menu serving snacks and dinner daily, with weekend brunch.”

Monday’s opening will feature a lot of the Schooner regular lineup you’re accustomed to (King Street Brown, 3 Grid IPA, etc) , but also some new creations from Head Brewer Joel Stickney. Also, they’ll be pulling out some sour beers.

The Washington Beer Blog intends to get down there soon to take some pictures and check the place out.

Next door, Schooner Provisions is already open and is set up as a deli to provide lunch to the working folks down in SoDo.

Here’s the press release:

SCHOONER BREWING OPENS NEW DELI AND RENOVATED TAPROOM IN SODO

Schooner Provisions offers new lunch counter adjacent to newly renovated Beer Hall.

SEATTLE—April 16, 2018—Schooner Brewing will re-open its doors in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood on Monday, April 23rd with a new Beer Hall and a full lineup of house-brewed beers. Additionally, Schooner Provisions, the new deli and lunch counter next to Schooner Brewing, is now open serving lunch Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Schooner Brewing’s new Beer Hall features modern updates such as contemporary light fixtures, fresh artwork, a salvaged wood accent wall behind the bar, a custom-built shuffleboard, and an updated food menu serving snacks and dinner daily, with weekend brunch.

Schooner Brewing’s re-opening beer list will feature more than 15 tap handles with old favorites such as Hopvine IPA, Evergreen IPA, King Street Brown, Profanity Hill Porter, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter and more. Additionally, head brewer Joel Stickney has created new beers for the grand re-opening along with releasing sour beers from their extensive sour program.

“We’re thrilled to be re-opening Schooner with a refreshed look, lunch counter and beer hall this spring,” said long-time Schooner Brewing owner Ray Spencer. “Our guests can once again enjoy their favorite Schooner beers with us along with more food options and fun interior updates like a huge window that looks into the brewery.”

Schooner Provisions is now serving made-to-order hot and cold sandwiches that guests can eat in the casual dining area with a Schooner beer or take to go. A sampling of Schooner Provisions’ menu includes:

  • Italian Stallion – House-roasted turkey, ham, salami, provolone, pepperoncini, garlic aioli on a Macrina roll
  • Illadelphia – Thin-sliced beef, cheese spread, spicy peppers, grilled onions on a Macrina roll
  • Don Corleone – House-made meatballs, marinara, parmesan on a Macrina roll
  • Hummus Amung Us – House-made hummus, cucumber, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onion, greens on toasted pita

The new dinner menu showcases a variety of small plates and shareable appetizers such as Chicken and Turkey Bahn Meatballs, Beer Cheese Dip, a Bavarian Meat Platter and a Build-Your-Own Dirty Fries menu.

Dinner entrée highlights include:

  • Chicken & Waffle Sandwich – Beer brined and battered chicken, cornmeal waffle, maple bacon jam, apple slaw
  • Beer Battered Fish & Chips – Fresh Alaskan cod, seasoned beer batter, house-made tarter, fries
  • King Street Brown Ribs – Slow cooked St. Louis style ribs, signature King Street Brown-Espresso BBQ sauce, honey apple slaw
  • Schooner Burger – 6oz beef patty, aged cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, garlic aioli on a Macrina bun

Happy hour is Monday-Friday 3-5 p.m. and features $3 select pints and $2.50 King Street Brown Ribs. Schooner Brewing’s weekend brunch will be served Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and offers dishes such as Biscuits and Gravy, Loaded Toast, and Eggs Benedict, Fresh Veggie Scramble and Seasonal Danish.

Schooner Brewing Beer Hall remains kid friendly with a kid’s play area complete with a brand-new train set available from 3 p.m. to close Monday-Friday and all weekend long. The brewery will continue its Evergreen Mug Club welcoming current and new members to receive special promotions, limited release beers and new merchandise. Members receive a personalized engraved mug that is prominently displayed behind the bar.

Schooner Brewing and Provisions is located at 3901 1st Avenue South in Seattle. Schooner Provisions is open Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The Beer Hall will be open Monday-Thursday 3-9 p.m., Friday 3-10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Weekend brunch is served Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Happy hour is Monday-Friday 3-5 p.m. To learn more visit www.schoonerexact.com or call 206-432-9734.

 

For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Black Raven Brewing Flock Party, one of the best beer events of the year – Saturday, May 5th

Washington Beer News - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 1:59pm

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

 

It’s just another brewery anniversary celebration at its core, but Black Raven Brewing always outdoes itself at the annual Flock Party, this year held on Saturday, May 5th. The brewery and taproom in Redmond is turned into an indoor/outdoor beer drinker’s Disneyland for one day a year. In addition to food trucks, live music, and beer-friendly patio games the event features an absurd collection of beloved mainline beers, specialty beers, one-off beers, barrel-aged beers, and more.

Simply put, it’s one of the Seattle area’s best beer events of the year.

The event goes from Noon until 8:00 PM. Dogs yes, children no. Grownups only.

Draft List:

  • Westland Barrel-Aged Feather Weather Mocha Stout
  • Westland Barrel-Aged Frost Beak Doppelbock
  • Westland Barrel-Aged Double Dry Hopped Wisdom Seeker…
  • Peated Westland Barrel-Aged NITRO Morrighan Dry Irish Stout
  • 2012 Old Birdbrain Barrel-Aged Barleywine
  • 2015 Old Bird Brain Barrel-Aged Barleywine
  • Feral Saison
  • Four&Twenty Blackbirds Spiced Bourbon Apple beer
  • 2016 Splinters Bourbon Barrel-Aged Strong Scotch Ale
  • 2017 Splinters Bourbon Barrel-Aged Strong Scotch Ale
  • 2018 Great Grandfather Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
  • 2015 Grandfather Raven Imperial Stout
  • 1989 Sour
  • 5×6 Sour
  • Trickster IPA
  • Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale
  • Kitty Kat Blues Infused Pale Ale
  • Tropical Squawker IPA (Guava, Kiwi Passionfruit)
  • Hochzeit Pilsner
  • Coco Jones Coconut Porter
  • Updraft Pale Ale
  • Tavern Hall Kolsch
  • 2017 Pour Les Oiseaux
  • La Mort Rouge Red Wine Barrel-Aged Strong Belgian Brown
  • Corvus Frambicus Raspberry Sour

And more!

Band Lineup

1pm
Norman Baker and The Back Roads
www.normanbaker.com
@normanbakermusic

2:30pm
Dub Lounge International
www.dubloungintl.com
@dubloungeintl

4pm
C-Leb and The Kettle Black
www.c-lebsounds.com
@clebandthekettleblack

5:30pm
Caleb and Walter
www.calebandwalter.com
@calebandwalter

 

For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Deschutes Brewery is rethinking its plan to open an East Coast brewery

Washington Beer News - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:51am

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

 

According to a report in the Roanoke Times, Deschutes Brewery is considering delaying or scaling back plans for a new brewery on  the East Coast. Back in 2016, after months of shopping around and courting local communities, the Oregon-based company announced that it had chosen Roanoke, Virginia as its East Coast home. The $95 million project was anticipated to employ 108 people in its first phase. The groundbreaking was planned for 2019.

Citing a change in market conditions, Deschutes now says that they are going to pause and reconsider the scale of its expansion. This decision came about one month before Deschutes was scheduled to close the deal on the purchase of 49 acres of land for the new facility.

On Monday, Deschutes CEO Michael LaLonde announced that the company saw a single-digit dip in its overall sales for the first time last year. As has been widely reported, although the overall craft beer industry continues to grow, some of the larger players have endured diminished sales.

According to an official statement from LaLonde, which the Roanoke Times cited, “Deschutes must act with adjustments of our own with regard to the scale and timing of our investments.”

Maybe they are adjusting the plan. Maybe they are scaling it back. Maybe they are abandoning it altogether. Time will tell.

Many people will look at this as another sign that the sky is falling. That the craft beer bubble is bursting. That the beer industry is about to regress back into the stone age or, worse yet, the Keystone age.

What I see is that some companies have maybe bitten off more than they can chew. Consider San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing, which recently found itself in bankruptcy, basically, because of its desire to take over the world. (Read about it here). The company recently had to cease operations at its 58,000 sq. ft. Virginia Beach production facility and release 43 employees. That facility just opened in late 2016. The company reported that it had taken on too much debt with the expansion. Now, after a new round of investors have jumped on board, Green Flash has massively retracted its business and plans to return to distributing its beer primarily west of the Rockies.

Remain Calm!

There are all sorts of negative terms thrown around these days regarding the health of the craft beer business. Words like saturation, over-crowding, and so on. I will not pretend to know what tomorrow looks like for the beer industry, but unlike a lot of people, I do not think we are teetering on the brink of disaster.

Here is what I do know for certain. Given the current state of the craft beer world, if I were a larger, regional player like Deschutes Brewery, I would be very careful about plans for big expansion. I think opening a huge new facility on the opposite coast of the continent qualifies as big expansion.

It seems to me that the craft beer industry is not shrinking or imploding; rather, it is retracting in on itself, with consumers favoring more local products. It’s getting denser, but not wider. Though the growth has slowed to a reasonable rate, the number of consumers reaching for craft beer continues to rise.  What I see is more people drinking craft beer, but less people drinking “big” craft beer. Everyone has their own definition of “big,” but it is a fact that breweries like Boston Beer, New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, and Deschutes have seen declining sales as more and more smaller-than-them craft breweries open up across the nation.

There was a time not too long ago when people in certain parts of the country had to rely on breweries from other parts of the country to provide them with good beer. At the end of 2007, there were 1,511 breweries in the U.S. At the end of 2017, there were 6,372 breweries in the U.S. Virtually every region of the country now has its own great breweries. That theory works on a smaller scale, too. In Seattle, every neighborhood now has at least one brewery to call its own.

The Old Dominion (that’s Virginia’s nickname) has plenty of its own breweries. How verily they would support a West Coast brewery remains to be seen. That brewery may be considered a carpetbagger.

In my opinion, which is no more valid than anyone else’s, when I look at the future I see more local breweries and less regional and national breweries. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking. After all, I started the Washington Beer Blog and not the World Beer Blog. I like to drink local. Am I alone?

As I said, I do not pretend that my opinions are anything more than my opinions. I do not pretend to know what the future holds. That said, to my thinking, this news from Deschutes was expected. I would have been worried about Deschutes if they had not reconsidered the plan. If I were them, I would stop thinking about the East Coast. I would focus on how to stay relevant in the places where Deschutes is already supported. I would focus on maintaining and growing market share in existing markets. I know that doesn’t sound as sexy, and it probably doesn’t offer he same opportunity of great financial returns, but it seems wise.

The craft beer industry is in its adolescence. Remember what that was like? It is adjusting. It is maturing. The smartest breweries will tread very carefully as we move forward. The others will fall by the wayside. It’s evolution.

As always, I am curious to hear what other people think.

 

For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

It’s Earth Week at Latona Pub – drink beer, be kind to your mother

Washington Beer News - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 8:35am

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

 

Earth Week at Latona Pub in Seattle. It’s one of my favorite stories to share every year. For six years Latona Pub has celebrated Earth Day with a variety of keg walking and sponsorship events.  The goal of the celebration is to raise awareness of the environment, both urban and natural, and draw attention to how our actions impact the planet. In doing so, they help some fantastic organizations that work on environmental issues.

It’s a multi-day celebration surrounding Earth Day (April 22). For about a week, Latona Pub pours nothing but people-powered beers. From near and far breweries deliver beer to Latona Pub using non-motorized means. Bikes, boats, hand trucks, dollies, whatever it takes to transport a keg via human-power. This year kegs came in via bicycle from as far away as Deming, Bellingham, and Arlington. A lot of other beers made shorter treks.

On Saturday, April 14th, a day of epic rainfall in Seattle, the Latona crew walked kegs across the entire city of Seattle, enduring the weather for the cause. That one walk alone was from Georgetown Brewing in South Seattle all the way to the Latona Pub near Green Lake, with stops at Jellyfish Brewing (Georgetown), Seapine Brewing (SoDo), Pike Brewing (Downtown), and Floating Bridge Brewing (U-District). On Sunday the 15th, they walked kegs from Lantern Brewing, Naked City Brewery, Flying Bike Brewing, and Big Time Brewery. Finally, on the 19th they’ll be trekking through Ballard with our friends from Urban Family Brewing, Reuben’s Brews, Stoup Brewing, Hales Ale Brewery, and Maritime Pacific Brewing.

According to the pub, “We live in a unique place where world class beer is merely a walk, a sail, or a cycle trip away from a plethora of diverse and innovative breweries.”

Wednesday, April 18th – Join Latona Pub for a benefit for Feet First, an organization dedicated to promoting a safe pedestrian experience in Seattle. In the spirit of Earth Week, they’ll help walk kegs from the Ballard area to the Latona. Starting at 7 PM, the pub hosts a live auction to benefit Feet First, along with live Rhumba music by guitarist Leif Totusek.

Also that day, they’ll be tapping some of the specialty kegs from Aslan Brewing Company, Skookum Brewery, Wander Brewing, and The North Fork Brewery and Beer Shrine that came in via bicycle by the Latona Club, a group comprised of Latona bartenders and their fellow bike enthusiasts.

Saturday, April 21st  – At 7:00 PM join Latona Pub for an Earth Day celebration benefiting Brewshed Alliance, an organization that works to protect the wild waterways and watersheds that are so essential to producing the beers we love.

For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

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