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.


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

hmmm interesting. I too am not surprised, but I'm bias. I tried a few Boulevard beers, and at the time, I enjoyed them for being different. But in the end, I did not find myself wanting them when I was standing in front of the beer cooler making my choice.

I'm bummed to hear that Avery ESB is hard to find as I've never had that one but I've yet to have an Avery beer that I didn't like. I have enjoyed their IPA a lot recently from Whole Foods. I bet that ESB is great too.

So yep I agree that we should all just continue to buy what we like and hope there are enough of us that like what We like. :) I know others are more fans of Boulevard than me so it's a bummer for them. I for one would like to see some Great Divide brews in town.

(earlier comment deleted due to a terrible typo)

The Beer Snob said...

The only Boulevard beer I've had was their Lunar Ale and I wasn't too impressed by it. Based only on that beer, I can't say I'm disappointed personally, but I do hate what it might mean for other craft brewers becoming unavailable here