Alchemist Debuts New "Independent, Family Owned" Seal, Focusing On Transparency & Independence

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Jason, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,947) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Brewers have to pay membership dues to belong to the Brewers Association, but membership in the B.A. is not mandatory to use the Seal, which is free.
    https://www.brewersassociation.org/independent-craft-brewer-seal/brewers/
    According this page https://www.brewersassociation.org/directories/breweries/ Both Alchemist sites are BA Members and use the "Independent" seal.
     
    #41 jesskidden, Jan 8, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
  2. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (332) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts
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  3. pat61

    pat61 Poo-Bah (5,456) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota
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    I like it. It is a reasonable designation and gives me another thing to consider when buying a beer. In most cases, I am buying local beer from a local beer store and I already know this without it being on the bottle or can but if I am trying to chose between two equal beers, I would probably choose the family owned beer. The object is to sell beer. If it sells beer it is good. If it doesn't, it is not. I am waiting for beer made by neon voodoo zombie cannibals. I would buy that at least once.
     
  4. fridgitator

    fridgitator Initiate (128) Oct 22, 2003 Texas

    It's obviously much more important to some consumers than others. I would speculate that those who put a premium on small and/or family owned are likely to read the label more thoroughly than those who do not. Retailers can't be relied upon to sort brews based on brewery size. I like the idea of national standards, but I expect that no matter what you do, people will manipulate it like they do terms like "organic".
     
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  5. MesaDan

    MesaDan Initiate (74) Dec 25, 2015 Minnesota

    I think the 'independent existing seal' should be retained. That said, the last few years have shown an increasing attack on small, but very good craft breweries. The 'powers to effect change' should consider a label such as the Alchemist is trying as a viable way to create some separation from the larger or 'sell out' breweries to those really small family and/or small creative/innovative/love beer at all cost breweries. That label, if properly defined would help those survive in a market that has been changing for 5 years and will keep on changing as the large breweries find ways to buy up or circumvent the system. I say this as a minority owner of a small craft brewery in Saint Paul, Minnesota. What we are really looking at long term is a business structure to allow the mega breweries a place with the large breweries with the smaller breweries and the nano breweries. Losing the smallest two categories will be a big loss to innovation and small business growth.
     
  6. mister_moose

    mister_moose Initiate (130) Jul 16, 2014 Connecticut

    Any beer fan in VT, especially north of Rte 4, is well acquainted with what quality tastes like. And more and more, the Alchemist is less impressive (gasp, I said it) and competitors are more impressive. Burlington Beer Co is infinitely more creative, and through the oddities and oopsies they hit a home run with several. Four Quarters can range from average (that's average within the beer nirvana that is VT) to outstanding. Foley's when on their game or the hop buyer scores is world class. And then there is you know who, Hill Farmstead. Green Empire is a contender. Frost. And many new ones I haven't tried yet. Plus the heel nippers, Fiddlehead, Lost Nation, 14th Star, Zero Gravity. I don't know what to say about Lawson's, its a very mixed bag. Many times I pass right on by the Heady on the shelf for something I know I'll like better.

    It's not "Craft Beer" size designation or "Family owned" I care about. It's taste. Isn't that why we pay $15-$20 a 4 pack? It sure isn't the graphics, cute names or seals. And since taste is important, please please please date your cans. I'm lookin' at you Alchemist and Foley's. Sure your through-put is fairly fast, but it lingers on shelves in some backwaters and I wanna know if it's fresh. I'll buy more if it's fresh, I'll pass it by if I don't know the store well enough to know how the beer flows there. Date your cans. Or at least the sticker on the carrier thingy. It should be a law. Some restaurants mid state now carry Foley cans but if they aren't selling it cause the out-of-staters don't know the beer, or if they buy a lot at a time for bulk pricing, it languishes. And now the out of stater thinks Foleys is no big deal when what he really found out is 3 month old Foleys is no big deal.

    And while Heady and Focal Banger (the 2 beers Alchemist really pushes out the door) still sell well, it's far more easily found now, limits are raised, and it's on the shelf for several days at times. Date your cans. That's the best seal you can put on your can. We can't buy it right off the loading dock fresh in Waterbury anymore.

    Sorry for the rant.
     
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  7. analogman

    analogman Aspirant (225) Nov 26, 2016 Montana
    Society

    So where does Sierra Nevada fall ?
     
  8. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,828) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    100% Family owned, operated and argued over. :wink:
     
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  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,373) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Amen! There really is no excuse for them to not date their cans.

    Cheers!
     
  10. analogman

    analogman Aspirant (225) Nov 26, 2016 Montana
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    Cheers !
    Date your cans !
     
  11. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,907) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico
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    And I would consider them more independent than, say, Oskar Blues, personally.

    I am sure these are lines that are constructed to reflect one's values, I'd disagree that they are by nature arbitrary....though, I guess in how we are often seeing them applied in the real world they sure seem to be, most definitely with the BA who seems to be fluid with them and create/use them simply to meet their personal interests.
     
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  12. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,609) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    Arbitrary, the way I use it, isn't meant to mean whimsical or completely illogical. Rather, I mean without consistent logical premise. They don't have much consistency with how they apply the definition of craft.

    Notable examples include: raising the barrel limit for Sam Adams; excluding Yuengling for years (I guess Yuengling should have started churning out pastry stouts and NE IPAs if they wanted to be considered "craft"). In fact, the 25% ownership itself is arbitrary, as it is self-referential: "Ownership of more than 25% by a brewery that is not, itself, a craft brewery." (Paraphrased)

    Wait, what? I know what they're saying, but they're literally defining "craft" by saying it has to be "craft." By that logic, a brewery could become 99% owned by another craft brewery, and remain craft, but 26% ownership by ABInbev is right out.

    So does CANarchy apply, or not? Sam Adams/DFH? Can craft breweries unite at will and still be considered craft? Once one brewery in a collective becomes non-craft, does that de-craft the others within that collective - kind of a patient zero?
     
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  13. officerbill

    officerbill Devotee (453) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    As pointed out in a different thread, Pabst now qualifies for the BA label.

    BA definition
    Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (2018 Pabst 4.5)
    Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned by a beverage alcohol industry member
    Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.

    I'd love to see Pabst start using the craft label
     
  14. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,609) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader


    Definitely! I'm not about to drink PBR (unless I'm hashing, and I haven't hashed in a few years now), but the BA "craft" label has been, quite simply, too elitist at times. I don't see anything wrong with Pabst rocking the label. :slight_smile:
     
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  15. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (422) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    Sam Adams is publicly traded right. What would happen if like InBev, Molson-Coors, Diago and Heineken each bought like 7% of Sam Adams shares just to mess with them. I wonder how fast the Brewers Association would change their rules again.
     
  16. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,672) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    I ain't drinking no damn craft beer!

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,473) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    You've been heard... ;-) They be dating Heady & Focal soon from what I hear.
     
  18. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,171) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Just those two?

    I would hope it's all of their beers.
     
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  19. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,486) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The only beer brand I've seen on that show. Recently started watching, up to start of season 3.
     
  20. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,473) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Those are the only two beers that make it to the stores / bars ... I believe the rest is sold in house so there is no point as they blow through those beers quick week to week.
     
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  21. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,411) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    Talk like a pirate day? :wink::slight_smile:
     
  22. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,411) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    That's a joke on the Trappist seal.

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,411) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I obviously understand wanting dated product, but did you just "rant" about undated beer that can be "on the shelf for several days at times?" :no_mouth:
     
  24. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,947) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Straub Brewing Co. designed and trademarked:
    [​IMG]
    I think before the Brewers Association started putting adjunct lager brewers under their definition of "Craft Brewer", meant to be used by Straub and breweries like August Schell and Yuengling. But I don't think it ever caught on but it's still used on Straub's website.
     
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  25. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,171) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I still see a point.

    As the consumer I like to know when my beers were canned. I'm not going to drink everything I buy at a brewery that week. Or if a friend makes a trip up there and brings back some cans, I have no way of knowing when the beers were canned.

    Now sure, when I have something like this I typically turn to the Instagram pages of the breweries and see when they released it. But that's a pain in the ass that I should't have to deal with in 2020's beer market.

    This is why I also hate it when breweries just put the date on a sticker on the four pack holder. I have to either keep the four pack holder, or peel the sticker off and put it on one of the cans, and then save that can for last.
     
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  26. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (531) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    I have no proof of this beyond my own tastebuds, but the batch to batch and even can to can within 4-pack variation on Alchemist beers has been significant to the point where I believe they run "old stock" through their storefront. I've come home with a case of Heady/Focal and nearly drain-poured some cans, while praising others as near perfection. This is either a QC issue, which I doubt given that operation, or an inventory issue.
     
  27. traction

    traction Devotee (487) Dec 4, 2010 Georgia
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    That is really weird I understand QC issues and batch variance are a thing but you would think at least a single four pack would be consistent
     
  28. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (531) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    I had a single 4-pack of Rapture that was a god damn rollercoaster. One can was hazy, one can was clear and super bitter, and two cans were vegetal messes that couldn't be finished. And I split each can with a friend over the course of ~3 weeks after getting back from VT. It was nuts.
     
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  29. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,373) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Just to double check: your theory is that those cans were of differing batches (i.e., differing ages)?

    Cheers!
     
  30. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (531) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    I have no idea what the issue was with the Rapture 4-pack. But the split case of Heady and Focal I brought home had more typical "this doesn't taste fresh" variation across the different 4-packs.
     
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  31. Ranbot

    Ranbot Savant (908) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Society

    If I were nit-pick this, it's that "family-owned" does not mean anything to me. While I know the intention is to evoke some Normal Rockwell-ish feelings, the reality is families can be just as bad as anyone else. Family-owned is no protection against poor business decisions, being discriminatory, oppressive labor practices, breaking the law, and shady backroom deals with local government officials (in fact, it's probably easier for families), and families can have the unique problem of nepotism. Furthermore, the when bad things happen the close personal attachments to each other can cause them to respond to crises irrationally, unethically, or even illegally. Read up on the Busch family history if you want a perfect example of multiple generations of awful people running a family-owned business. Now, I've never heard anything to indicate that the Kimmichs are anything but honorable people who deserve support and success, but it's independent (pun intended) of them being a family.
     
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  32. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,486) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The samples out of the Brite tanks were too fresh last June. Now I understand what is called hop burn on this site. It was the most astringent thing I have ever drank in my life. That can drop out with time, so those tanks must have just been filled.
     
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  33. mister_moose

    mister_moose Initiate (130) Jul 16, 2014 Connecticut

    I saw that coming when I wrote it.... meaning the Heady days of Heady flying off the 9 am delivery by noon are gone. By "days" I meant closing in on a week, if not over a week. And there are other brands that don't date their cans that languish longer. There are some stores that charge more for high profile VT beer because they are on the main drag tourist route. That's fine, but they get less traffic weekdays buying beer as a result. When you've seen a fair bit of Heady on the shelf on a Wednesday, and you know they deliver on Thursday, and one time you're there on Friday with a shelf full, how do you tell what's fresh? How do you know if they don't FIFO well, and there's some 4 week old stuff laying around? Because looking at some dated cans there's some real stale beer on those shelves. And then there's the batch quality. A recent batch of Heady I had was the best in 2 years. How do I know it's the same batch when I go back for more? Even worse is restaurants that buy it by the pallet, and then take 2 months to sell it. This is even more true of lesser hyped beers that are equally good, but might sit longer as they have a smaller audience. Case in point: Last weekend I saw and grabbed a 4 pack of Space Face, which if you aren't so lucky as to have had one, is one of the best IPAs on the planet. This batch was a great rendition of a world class beer, and there should have been a line out the door, but there wasn't. (12/30/19 batch) So if you pass through northern VT, and see some Space Face and wonder if its the same batch I raved about, easy peasy. Right there on the carrier. Buy the 4 pack, or 2, or 3, and ship me a can as a thank you for the heads up.

    Yeah, but lets cut the small brewer some slack. I'm happy if I get the sticker on the carrier, when I get home I take a sharpie and write the batch date on the bottom of each can. That way multiple batches of the same beer don't get confused and I know what I've got in the fridge without depending on an unreliable memory.
     
    #73 mister_moose, Jan 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  34. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,473) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    I've never had a dud from them in a long time, even then it was only the extra sediment from when they first started canning that was the problem. All of their inventory moves, they don't sit on anything ... overflow is sent to NYC or elsewhere. Considering I know more than I should on how the those two beers are made I doubt its a QC issue either, variations from batches of hops would be minimal as well. Taste-bud fatigue or other palate factors have affected me where some beers of this caliber will taste different. Just some of my thoughts ...
     
  35. Davl22

    Davl22 Aspirant (264) Sep 27, 2011 New Hampshire
    Trader

    Did you contact the brewery about it? They've always been very good at responding to QC/or general issues.
     
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  36. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (531) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    No. I only make like 2-3 trips to VT per year, so wasn't like I could stop back in to return them or whatever. And my first assumption is always that my taste buds are off. But the last few trips have just been such a mixed bag that I don't think it's just me. I come home with a case each of Alchemist and Hill Farmstead hoppy beers. And the HF beers taste great on day 1 and day 30. Alchemist beers have been all over the place, to me.
     
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  37. BeerDrinkinGuy

    BeerDrinkinGuy Initiate (53) Nov 2, 2018 Minnesota

    They should change the label to say "Local Brewery" because we all know that just because a beer is local means it better somehow.
     
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