Friday, March 29, 2019

Little Miss Moving Ahead

SanDiegoVille has a positive article on Little Miss Brewing's expansion to San Diego's East Village and La Mesa.   I wrote about Little Miss in late 2017 after the ABC rejected its application for a tasting room in Ocean Beach after Little Miss had finished its build-out.  I am glad to read that Little Miss is moving ahead after its set-back in Ocean Beach.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

My Thoughts On Societe Brewing

The news of Travis Smith's Societe Brewing exit has been quiet across the beer news sites and beer Twitter I follow.  I thought the Brew Master and co-founder's departure from one of San Diego's best breweries would have warranted a bigger commotion.

I found this passage, and its implications, from Societe's announcement marking Smith's departure important:

A company must remain nimble, and that means making lots of decisions and adjustments; the difficult kind that can mean so much in the long run. Doug’s and Travis’ visions for what they wanted the company to be and become have become increasingly divergent over the years. They no longer have the same vision, and that was the key factor necessitating this difficult but mutual decision.
There is a lot to think about in these three sentences.  I expect Societe to adopt some of the practices that have boosted other new breweries, which Societe has so far avoided.  I don't think Societe has brewed a hazy IPA, but suspect that will change.  Whether you like hazy IPAs or not, at this point in their life cycle they are not going away and their popularity is not slowing.  I have stated before that many hazy IPAs - far too many, in my opinion - lack any distinguishing flavor or character.  But when a hazy IPA is made right, it can be great.  Modern Times Beer and Burgeon Beer Company have figured out how to bring strong flavors and distinction to their hazy IPAs.  I have no doubt Societe would make fantastic hazy IPAs.

Societe has avoided canning or bottling its beers, with the exception of its barrel aged beers.  I would not be surprised to see Societe produce regular, limited release beers in cans, or even its Pupil or Apprentice IPAs.  This strategy helped Mikkeller, Modern Times, Pure Project, Burgeon, and other new breweries build their customer base, their business, and their brands.  Established breweries see the benefits of special canned releases, too, with Pizza Port putting out a new canned beer a month.

Imagine the crazy demand for a Societe four- or six-pack IPA release.  The lines at the brewery, or the rush to buy the beer on Brown Paper Bag, would rival, if not exceed, any recent release from any brewery.  Maybe, just maybe, and I know I am getting fantastical at this point, but maybe Societe could open a satellite tasting room, say in Ocean Beach, or Point Loma, or Bay Park, or on my street.

The San Diego craft beer industry is competitive and breweries need to adapt to the changing environment.  What worked in 2012 may not be right for growth and profitability in 2019.  Societe has big advantages over many breweries with whatever "decisions and adjustments" it makes.  It has an excellent reputation and its beers across the board are outstanding.  Not many breweries can make both these claims.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Societe Brewing News

Societe Brewing announced in a blog post this morning that co-founder and Brew Master Travis Smith is leaving the brewery.  The entire blog post is linked here.  This is a shock.  I will post information as I get it either here or on Twitter.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Beer Maelstrom

The closure of Reckless Brewing was fast.  So fast, I didn't even get a chance to follow it.  On March, 5, 2018, Reckless sent one of its emails that caused big controversy.  (West Coaster said the message was on Facebook but I received it via email.)  In the message, Reckless stated that it was renaming its black lager, Black Lagers Matter, and according to West Coaster, the post further "leaned on a series of African-American stereotypes, racist themes and even riffed off Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech."  I did not read Reckless' whole email, stopping after a few lines thinking it was not good.

The response was fast.  Reckless issued an apology, but that was not enough.  I received another email from Reckless this afternoon, announcing that it was closing its brewery over the next few weeks.  If you are just catching up with this story, I recommend this this West Coaster article and Beth Demmon's commentary in San Diego City Beat

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Mike Hess Expansion

Here is a West Coaster article on Mike Hess Brewing's new Imperial Beach tasting room, which soft opened last week and will expand with a deck and fire pits.  It is good to see Mike Hess Brewing getting good press.  Its Ocean Beach tasting room is a gem, filled with locals.  Mike Hess Brewing's beers do not get enough credit.  Its Claritas Klosch is outstanding, and its IPAs are excellent.  Its grapefruit IPA tastes like grapefruit, unlike some grapefruit IPAs I have had from other breweries, including a recent big name re-release.  It is also the time of year for the delicious Hooligan Irish Stout.  I don't know when I will get the chance to visit Imperial Beach, so I will have to raise a glass in appreciation next time I stop by Mike Hess's Ocean Beach tasting room.