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John Laffler is leaving Goose Island to start Off Color Brewing

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by jdhende, Nov 27, 2012.

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  1. jdhende

    jdhende Savant (400) Illinois Sep 27, 2010 Verified

    Just read this article. Pretty big news.
    sholle, BreakingBad, Squidly and 2 others like this.
  2. MasterSki

    MasterSki Site Editor (1,085) Ontario (Canada) Dec 25, 2006 Staff Member Verified

    I've had a chance to try the gose and it's pretty tasty! All aboard the hype train!
  3. TotallyHosed

    TotallyHosed Savant (375) Illinois Jun 20, 2009 Verified

    Not really surprised. It was just a matter of time.

    And I'm already in line. :D
    MisterGrizz likes this.
  4. MarcatGSB

    MarcatGSB Initiate (0) Michigan Jan 8, 2011

    Here's my ticket MasterSki...
    papat444 likes this.
  5. Zach136

    Zach136 Advocate (610) Georgia Jun 17, 2012 Verified

    I give wheat beers alot of love. Hope these make it to GA!
  6. jdhende

    jdhende Savant (400) Illinois Sep 27, 2010 Verified

    I'm quite interested to see what they create as well. I guess in any creative field like brewing you always want to try new things and constantly evolve. Loved his work for GI, but excited to see what this new brewery is capable of.
  7. ravot

    ravot Advocate (515) Illinois Mar 20, 2012 Verified

    well i wish the other thread was merged and not deleted from the great lakes area. was submitting a post and then POOF.

    anyway where was i? oh yeah
    good god. living down the street from lagunitas and now the gf living down the street from off color. iso: fresh liver and kidney FT aged liver and kidney
    YogiBeer, SWChi, CPditka and 4 others like this.
  8. Vav

    Vav Advocate (515) Wisconsin Jul 27, 2008

    That would have made sense, though.

    And this is not surprising in the least, John's never been one to rest on his laurels.
    MadCanadian, CPditka, Monsone and 2 others like this.
  9. Squidly

    Squidly Savant (460) New Jersey Nov 26, 2006

    Cellar those 2012 BCS's now.
  10. ravot

    ravot Advocate (515) Illinois Mar 20, 2012 Verified

    the great lakes needs to be shut down for a day because (insert brace yourself meme picture) a ton of new threads will be submitted. temp mods will be needed to shoot down those bogeys.
  11. burica2020

    burica2020 Savant (440) Illinois Nov 17, 2009

    vav how much rare, vanilla and king henry are left in that cellar. Rare just got a whole lot more rare.
    BreakingBad and JKIRBY like this.
  12. Tnudish

    Tnudish Initiate (0) Wisconsin Feb 16, 2012

    Though gose as a style doesnt really excite me, I am more than ok trying just about anything these guys will put out.
    yamar68 and redblacks75 like this.
  13. nogidrew86

    nogidrew86 Savant (250) Nevada Aug 16, 2010

    Gose in six packs I'm stoked!
    Daemose and DROOO like this.
  14. jRocco2021

    jRocco2021 Savant (450) Wisconsin Mar 13, 2010 Verified

    I have this Odd combination of Fear For GI's BA program and excitement for the future of what Off Color can bring. For a long time I've wondered how long brewery's can coast off of BA beers. I've always leaned more towards the rarer styles more than I have been towards BA stuff. Craft beer is supposed to be innovative but how is it innovative if everyone is just arbitrarily Barrel aging everything. It gives me hope to see that especially from someone who was one of the people who arguably started that whole thing.
    redblacks75 and Zach136 like this.
  15. ravot

    ravot Advocate (515) Illinois Mar 20, 2012 Verified

    which is why i love pipeworks. i can't keep up on their sku's.
    powz87 likes this.
  16. eyemustard

    eyemustard Savant (310) Wisconsin Apr 5, 2012 Verified

    foobula likes this.
  17. Anyone know if they had any kind of succession plan in place?

    Hopefully there has been an apprentice(s) in house that can take over the barrel program and do it right rather than bringing in some AB marketing suit...

    Honestly, this is the first time in this whole Goose Island/AB fiasco that I'm a little worried.
    Torieos, xxcarpxx, JulianC and 3 others like this.
  18. jRocco2021

    jRocco2021 Savant (450) Wisconsin Mar 13, 2010 Verified

    I think some of the most innovative beers come from small brewery's. Limitations can be a great facilitator for creativity. For example if you ever make it north of Milwaukee you should stop in here. Since they don't have the room to go crazy barrel aging stuff they have to get creative. Take a close look at their Mai bock.
    ravot likes this.
  20. At least now, no one can berate Laffler via twitter for sending his beer out of state -- I imagine Off Color will be staying local for quite a while!

    And before we get another round of 'Chicken Little/the sky is falling! Goose Island is doomed! I watched Beer Wars!!' type comments, people do leave companies from time to time. It's not like Laffler is the only person at Goose making beer. Time will tell about what's coming from Goose -- and in the meantime, looks like we have another great Chicago upstart to look forward to.

    Having said that, with the recent news about Goose's CEO and COO, not to mention the other John Hall, now at 5 Rabbit, this has got to be causing some morale issues. Hell, my own comments above notwithstanding, I'm wondering what's next for the company and who will be providing a vision. More marketing guys from St. Louis/Leuven? Despite all of my faith in the company, I'm just left wondering, a little more strongly now, what's going to happen next.
    JulianC, BlastBeats, nawset and 4 others like this.
  21. I wanted to post in the thread that got deleted, but I'll post it here. I don't think people should be freaking out about GI's barrel program. Laffler did a great job, of course, but it's not like AB-InBev is going to bring in one of their accountants to take over. I have almost no knowledge of brewery economics, but my guess is that while a barrel-aging program is far from a cash-cow, it's surely profitable enough that AB-InBev won't let it wither away. They have the money to hire pretty much whoever they want, so I'm sure they'll get someone else good to run it, or promote someone that's already in-house.
  22. Anonymous1

    Anonymous1 Savant (490) Illinois Mar 19, 2012 Verified

    What's next from GI?

    My prediction: BCBS that's no longer 100% barrel aged and instead blended 50% (or less) with Cook County Stout....you know, so BCBS can be available "year round".
  23. burica2020

    burica2020 Savant (440) Illinois Nov 17, 2009

    right.... though I dont know who this guy like Laffler but wasn't brett porters name on the back off all those bottles?
  24. iadler

    iadler Savant (450) Illinois Aug 12, 2009 Verified

    Not really surprised Laffler is leaving, but this was probably the only individual that made me keep purchasing GI beers. Sure, they are going to bring in somebody and it will continue to succeed, but I'll be putting my money somewhere else...hopefully in Off Color!
  25. burica2020

    burica2020 Savant (440) Illinois Nov 17, 2009

    Does anyone else from the 2pm session at Goose now find insanely interesting in hindsight when John said 2013 is the year craft beer gets cutthroat?
  26. Reinbeck11

    Reinbeck11 Savant (465) Iowa Aug 15, 2012

    Yep, they won't mess with anything. Whoever they pay to come in won't look to use cheaper ingriedients, bland the flavor to make it more palatable to a wider audience, cut production time, etc...... because that would get you nowhere at AB-inbev. They only worry about quality of product and customer satisfaction, they don't reward improving bottom line at all cost.

    Just saying.....
    GallowsThief and IcemanCometh like this.
  27. This is the typical assumption when large corporations take over, but in this scenario I think you are clearly putting a square peg in a round hole. Why would they try to turn BCBS into 312? They already have 312. BCBS is marketed to a much smaller demographic, and they will have to maintain quality to keep us buying their product in an increasingly competitive environment. The way to improve the bottom line on BCBS isn't to cheapen the product, but rather to make it in larger quantities so the cost of production isn't as high. We've already seen that start to happen, and I think we can only assume that production will continue to increase. Larger scale can sometimes lead to a weaker product because there is a lot more product to manage, but production of BCBS has increased every year and we haven't seen a decline in quality yet. I'm not worried one bit about BCBS.
    Atlas1977, Auror and harrylee773 like this.
  28. is that a real concern? the target market for bcbs is the uber-beer-geek, the kind who posts here to complain that celebration isn't as hoppy as last year, hopslam has fallen off in 2 days, and pliny the elder is completely forgettable.

    you really think that cutting the quality of bcbs isn't going to alienate these people?

    i am not worried - if gi goes down the shitter, it will do several things:
    1) kill their bottom line, making it an unprofitable property in ab's portfolio
    2) (consequently) cause gi to spin off into a separate entity
    3) convince other craft breweries not to sell out, to see their work/legacy shuttered 10 years later

    this isn't always a one-directional move. you better believe there are a number of craft breweries watching to see what happens to gi. and they will learn from it. it may be the sacrificial goose (HAR!) for now, but that doesn't mean every other brewery will go on the chopping block in 5 years.
  29. mdomask

    mdomask Savant (370) Illinois May 27, 2012

    If this year is any indication, the way to keep their prestige beers profitable is by increasing the wholesale price. Hence $20+ BCBCS and BCBCRS bombers.

    I still maintain that GI is trying to move their vintage, reserve, and big beer lines upmarket and break into wine/spirit territories.
    Vav and DrWalterWhite like this.
  30. Fair point, and another good example of how the departure of Laffler and other brewers won't affect the quality of the product. I do think that we are probably five years away from shelf BCBCS, partly due to increased production and partly due to increased prices.
  31. MarcatGSB

    MarcatGSB Initiate (0) Michigan Jan 8, 2011

    I knew I should have had Laffler sign my BCBS tattoo on my ass at FoBAB, son of a bitch.
    foobula, Vav and MagillaGriller like this.
  32. immobilisme

    immobilisme Savant (410) Illinois Nov 8, 2005

    While everyone was excited about John's barrel program (I have always been), it is obvious that he can brew great beer. The Helles he was involved with for Fulton & Wood was fantastic.

    I will miss the wild barrel experiments for now, but I am sure they will return in some form at Off Color.

    Definitely not sad about supporting another local brewery!
    JulianC likes this.
  33. aasher

    aasher Poobah (1,260) Indiana Jan 27, 2010 Verified

    Goose will be fine, Off Color will be fine. More high quality beer will be in the marketplace. Win, win.
  34. But I saw Beer Wars!!!

    Look, Laffler said he was going to leave at some point anyway and to assume that the quality is going to plummet on account of his departure is a real slap in the face to all of the other brewers still there.

    Totally agreed, too, that the Old Town Yard was great and if that's the sort of beer we can continue to look forward to, then I don't know why anyone should be complaining.
    Vav likes this.
  35. mdomask

    mdomask Savant (370) Illinois May 27, 2012

    Well, we can hope, at least. I'd like to think that a prestige label wouldn't look to increase profits by sacrificing quality, but the InBev management seems to like that strategy. So, we'll see.

    But, there are plenty of examples of large corporations maintaining very distinct lines with distinct pricing and matching quality. Canon, for example, has always had a distinction between consumer-level cameras, a "prosumer" mid-range, and a professional level, all with distinct price levels and quality jumps. Even when they cheap out on the consumer or entry-level stuff, the professional "L" series stuff maintains its quality. After all, it has a reputation to maintain.

    Edit: Matching tenses.
    bradner likes this.
  36. hooliganlife

    hooliganlife Advocate (665) Missouri Apr 12, 2007 Verified

    didnt he make the tonic the hedgehog saison for zwanze day last year?
    burica2020 likes this.
  37. Ooh, looks like I'll be aging that chili I made with BCBS last week.
  38. DrAwkward82

    DrAwkward82 Savant (315) California Apr 16, 2005

    Wow. This is much bigger news, with far greater potential consequence, than John Hall stepping down IMO.
    JulianC likes this.
  39. Monsone

    Monsone Savant (370) Illinois Jun 5, 2006

    I think the brewing of the beer will be fine. The problem I see (and was trying to post in my thread before it got deleted), is the Laffler was the one BLENDING the beer. To summarize John Hall from the 4p on Saturday, it is Laffler's palate that has helped create and improve these beers. Can the new guy (or promoted same guys) do it to the same level of excellence?

    If you take Armand Debelder away from Drie Fonteinen what would happen?
    Rochefort10nh likes this.
  40. burica2020

    burica2020 Savant (440) Illinois Nov 17, 2009

    that was the first thing i thought off.... weird ass things like tonic the hedgehog I'm lookin forward too being in bottles.

    Maybe now john can buy a pair of jeans that dont fall off his hips and expose his crack every time I see him.
    Lordkrystic and Atlas1977 like this.
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