Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beer in Tennessee

Rumor has it that Boulevard Brewing Company is pulling all of its beers out of TN because of lack of sales. This is interesting, but not really surprising, and a little disappointing.

Ever since the local distributors decided to end exclusive distribution of the big boys and started snatching up craft beer accounts, there has been a glut of craft beers in Tennessee (specifically Nashville). What started with some new beers showing up, increasing variety and giving us access to many of the great west coast breweries, started to overwhelm the local beer buyers. It is nice to always see new beers on the shelf to choose from, but at some point some of the favorites started to go away. With the competition for shelf space and consumer's fridge space, most breweries started sending only one or two varieties. An example is the Avery ESB. A very good beer that I was buying for a while until it disappeared from the shelves. (I saw it again about a month ago at a local beer store, and I did buy a sixer of it.) That is when I first noticed the problem. Beers were coming in at such a high speed that beers were being pushed out just as fast. For many beers, that was just fine because a lot of craft beers really aren't that great, but there were also some casualties that shouldn't have gone away. And there are beers that never made it because of the crowded market (Schlafly No. 15, I am thinking of you).

So while the Boulevard announcement is not too surprising, it is a little disappointing that a brewery, and a quality long-standing one at that, is giving up on us. Admittedly, I haven't drank much Boulevard since it first came to town at the beginning of the big craft beer Tennessee movement, but I did enjoy what I drank.

I guess the moral of the story is to consistently buy the beer you like so it doesn't go away. Or just start homebrewing and don't worry about it.