6 Beers We Discontinued and Why We Did It


THERE ISN'T ENOUGH ROOM ON GOOGLE'S SERVERS to house all the comments we've received over the last decade for discontinuing fan-favorites. Actually that's probably a gross exaggeration. People are generally pretty cool, although sometimes you get the occasional grouch. What is true, though, is that in the age of social media, folks are feel free to share their most raw and fleeting feelings about something, especially when it's displeasure. We'll be honest, from a consumer standpoint we get it. After all, we are someone's customers too, and nothing is more infuriating then not being able to understand a company's rational or decision making when it doesn't suit your needs or tastes, and in the absence of facts all that's left to do is either move on from it quickly, or stew in it and make assumptions that can't really be substantiated without inside intel. Well that's exactly what we are here to do today - provide transparency. For those of you that dwell on the past, maybe it helps you sleep a little better.



One of our original recipes hearkening back to our home brew roots, Auld Knucker was an old-school west coast IPA (OSWCIPA) brewed during an era where a sturdy malt backbone was as essential than its hoppy counterparts. Such harmonious balance fell out of favor with craft beer drinkers and brewers alike as a new wave of more hop-focused beers were ushered in that displayed a lighter malt profile in both appearance and flavor. IPAs that were once indiscernible from pale ales, at least in terms of appearance, started looking more like extra pales and blondes with malts mainly serving as the main source of fermentables as opposed to serious contributors to flavor. Nothing stands in the way of progress as they say. Plus...everyone called it "Knuckler" with an "L", which was super annoying.


Sayonara Knuckler.


Part of the original contingent of early beer releases, Pin Up Pale Ale saw a couple recipe changes to bring it into the new school of West Coast pales that was more hop focused. In fact there is an ongoing joke in the beer community in Southern California that all IPAs, regardless of how aggressively they are hopped, can simply be referred to as a San Diego-pale. Pin Up in particular was a real fan favorite that was heartbreaking to see go away. So what gives? How could such an adored brand see the end of its life so suddenly?


IPA.


As demand for the insanely popular beer style rose, its little brother's popularity waned. Folks made the logical decision to opt for the beer on the shelf that got them a bigger bang for their buck, which meant in terms of a value proposition, Pale Ales just weren't that attractive. Long story short...it didn't sell. For it's supporters thats hard to believe and we still have a vocal minority (including employees) that curse the day we took Pin Up out to pasture, but unless you and your buddies are going to start drinking pallets of beer in your driveway, it doesn't make dollars and sense (see what we did there?).



Ahhh yes. Everyone's favorite wheat beer on a jet black label. How refreshing. Listen, you can't win em all. There were so many things wrong with this. Ironically the liquid itself was good, and there was a period of time where it was fairly popular on draft (as popular as Bavarian-style wheat beers were) but time and changing tastes eventually pushed Honcho Hefeweizen out of the limelight and we had no choice but to sunset it. Not to say we weren't eager to. Whereas most beers we produce share the same yeast strain to reduce cost and increase efficiency, Honcho Hefeweizen was the only beer that used that unique yeast strain, making it very challenging to keep fresh. After a year or two producing Honcho exclusively on draft we left the wheat beer to the folks who do wheat beers and decided to finally take it off of life support.

Somewhere back in the mid-2010s we had a problem, as did a lot of breweries - we had too many beers. As we started distributing more, pressure came from retailers and distributors alike to simplify our beer program. Beers like Say When, Power of Love, Kismet, and Hop Diggity had no place to call home in our rapidly consolidating beer program. Unwilling to discontinue brands that we felt still had merit, we created a moniker that could be used to reference a series of rotating IPAs while also maintaining the brand equity we had built in each stand-alone product - The Resinator Series. As it turns out, that created as much confusion and we were never able to properly message how the program and individual names were related. Not to mention there are a number of challenges when it comes to a rotating SKU and maintaining freshness on the shelf.


In 2019 we released our first Project X Hazy, and with 4Seasons still very much in play, there simply wasn't room enough for these other legacy brews in our lineup anymore. Fortunately the most successful of the three, Hop Diggity DIPA, was rolled into the year round lineup as the other three were retired.


Call Me Ginger was specifically formulated to be a beer paired with food after we were challenged by a San Diego-based sushi restaurant to come up with a light beer that could compete with the foreign imports typically found at such establishments. With a bit of lemon peel and ginger, we were able to achieve a remarkably drinkable beer that paired great with food. At first it was draft only and then we though aw what the hell... lets can it. Although it had a limited fan base, it was never able to compete next to the likes of Cali Creamin' and its orange creamsicle sibling. Nighty night!


Name a beer style that fell farther from grace than the Black IPA. We dare you. Some might say the glitter IPA, but the difference is that the glitter IPA never received official BJCP or BA style designation. The black IPA is legit, but also probably regarded as one of man's biggest failures and the beer industry's deepest regrets. Crucible IPA, while a fine example of the style, got swept up in the Black IPA's exodus. If you weren't a part of the craft beer scene in time to experience the bizarre, opposing blend of styles, the BJCP style guidelines say it all:


"Most examples are standard strength. Strong examples can sometimes seem like big, hoppy porters if made too extreme, which hurts their drinkability. The hops and malt can combine to produce interesting interactions."

Hmm. "Hoppy Porters" huh? "Interesting interactions" you say? While that's not exactly a total condemnation, it's clearly not an endorsement either. Who's idea was this anyway? You're fired!


So in summary, while the black IPA had its day in the sun, it was at best the shortest day of the year. So what did we do with our once-beloved Cascadian Dark Ale once rational folks like ourselves finally came to terms with the truth about the style? We did what any other self respecting brewery would do...we pretended it never happened.


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