Beer Collaborations - How Do They Work?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by nickdank, Feb 17, 2014.

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  1. nickdank

    nickdank Initiate (0) Feb 13, 2014 New Jersey

    Haven't found any posts on this in my brief searching:

    When two or more breweries collaborate on a release, what's logistically actually going on? They formulate the recipe together and each brew a batch? Or does the brewing often get done at one location? I'm guessing it's then open to both breweries distribution? Does all this depend on the specific collab?

    Just a thought that popped in my head recently.
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  2. SaCkErZ9

    SaCkErZ9 Poo-Bah (2,593) Feb 27, 2005 South Carolina
    Society Trader

    I would think they collaborate on recipes and brew in one location. There was a Stone/Alesmith/DFH collab where each brewer brewed the same beer, but typically the brewing is done in one location for uniformity and/or costs.
  3. nismo80

    nismo80 Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2008 Pennsylvania

    happens either way. Many collab on a recipe allowing one to brew. Others take turns, each brewing the recipe with their own unique processes.
  4. WTKeene

    WTKeene Initiate (0) Jul 13, 2013 New Mexico

    Often times, they don't.
  5. mverity

    mverity Initiate (0) Oct 6, 2012 Florida

    From my understanding the brewers/brewsters will get together and agree on a style/interpretation of a style. Not sure how they choose which location will get the opportunity to brew the beer (which place has the space at that point in time, which has better access to the ingredients, which has better distribution, etc). But as people have already mentioned, sometimes collabs are made at each brewery and then put out in each brewery's distribution. There are a ton of details that would need to get worked out (who gets what cut of the revenue). I believe that most collabs happen because the brewers/brewsters enjoy one another's work and want a chance to pick his/her brain.
  6. Jake1605

    Jake1605 Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2009 Missouri

    Sales wise they typically work.
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  7. spartan1979

    spartan1979 Aspirant (284) Dec 29, 2005 Missouri

    I doubt that many collaborations even have test batches made.
  8. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,909) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I agree that the recipe is the main collaboration part, but I've see two breweries then brew the beer in their own brewery and then release them for a comparison. (Arbor Brewing and Dark Horse Brewing have done this, and I think the yeast chosen by each brewery to be used was their own choice.) Since both breweries are in-state there was no distro problem, the beer was released by each brewery with a common label but different colored caps.

    However, when breweries are located in two different states and the beer is brewed only at one brewery, then usually the beer is released for distro only by the host brewery, probably because of state liquor laws. I've never paid attention to whether the host brewery does or does not even have a distro network in the other state, but it has probably happened that the visiting brewery's state cannot even get the collaborative beer.

    Collaborations are basically a marketing gimmick that don't really get my attention.
  9. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    And sometimes, they work together on a recipe, then each go brew their own version of it. I'm pretty sure this is what happened when Deschutes and Boulevard collaborated on their white IPA a couple years ago. They worked together on the recipe, then Boulevard released Collaboration No. 2 and Deschutes released Conflux No. 2 separately. That was one of the more successful collaborations I can remember, as each brewery ended up releasing the beers again, Deschutes with seasonal Chainbreaker, and Boulevard with Reboot (which is not on the release schedule for 2014, so it may have been a one-off).
  10. Yagman3000

    Yagman3000 Initiate (0) Apr 26, 2011 New York

    • Otter Creek: "Please, please, please..."
    • Lawson's Finest: "Oh, Ok."
    • Me: "I'd like a 6-pack of the Double Dose please."
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  11. LeRose

    LeRose Poo-Bah (1,530) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts

    Here is a little insight into Saison du Buff - Stone/DFH/Victory collaboration.

    Same recipes brewed independently at the three breweries. I had two of the three - some differences were certainly detected. Interesting to see the same recipe brewed on different equipment in different locations - I think it shows how difficult it is to exactly duplicate things.

    There's probably a lot of reasons for doing collaborations. While it is a competitive marketplace just like everything else, I like to think behind the scenes there's a sense of comradery where brewers like to get together and share experiences and what they have learned. OK - it's pie in the sky idealism creeping in. Plus it gives an avenue for experimentation and trying new things outside the normal day-to-day. I guess the downside is letting the cat out of the bag in the form of any "trade secrets" or special techniques. My industry is not very collaborative - there are serious hoops of flame to jump through to work together with another party.

    Beyond the "hey, let's get together and brew some cool s***", I wonder if we will see collaborations in a different form where the smaller breweries partner up to leverage purchasing power for cans, bottles, grain, hops, etc. It kind of makes sense, especially in areas where the brewery density is pretty high. I think I read of a couple places teaming up in that way with bottle purchasing.
  12. BuckettOfBeer

    BuckettOfBeer Initiate (126) Mar 19, 2010 Minnesota

    Real Ale, Surly, and Three Floyd's upcoming Blakkr is pretty interesting. Each brewery is brewing a batch at their respective location and packaging it in a different format.

    edit: Don't mind the bickering at the beginning of the thread :rolling_eyes:
  13. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Initiate (0) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    From @sierranevadabill
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  14. M-Fox24

    M-Fox24 Meyvn (1,183) Mar 17, 2013 New Jersey

    Deschutes and Hair of the Dog seemed to nail it on “Collage:”
    “The beer is a blend of two Deschutes beers, The Stoic and The Dissident, as well as two Hair of the Dog beers, Fred and Adam. All four were brewed at Deschutes’ facility in Bend in March of 2010. All four were then aged in a variety of wooden barrels for two years including Rye Whiskey, Cognac, Sherry, Pinot Noir, Bourbon, used American Oak which previously held beer, new American Oak, and new Oregon Oak.”
  15. evilcatfish

    evilcatfish Defender (612) May 11, 2012 Missouri

    In general I don't find many collabs all that exciting :/
  16. SierraTerence

    SierraTerence Initiate (166) Mar 14, 2007 California

    I would guess otherwise.

    Distribution is carried out by where the beer is packaged. I believe this to be the law.
  17. superstars11

    superstars11 Initiate (0) Nov 21, 2008 Ohio

    A good buddy and I were discussing. We cant really recall a "collaboration" beer that was actually good, besides rizing bines by Dogfish and Sierra. Any other recommendations?
  18. tripsforjoe

    tripsforjoe Initiate (0) Sep 27, 2013 Kentucky

    Funk Vessel is pretty delicious.

    CINCINNATI -- Rivertown Brewing Co. announced a funky new collaboration with New Holland Brewing Co. on Thursday.

    The new beer -- an American Wild/Sour Ale -- is called “Funk Vessel” and will be sold in 22 ounce bottles. It was made with Cascade and Bravo hops and will be 18 IBUs.

    Both breweries used the same recipe, (in both Lockland, Ohio, and Holland, Mich.,) and each brewery swapped sour barrels.

    New Holland used Rivertown’s 2011 Geuze barrels and Rivertown used New Holland’s 2012 Blue Sunday barrels.

    The brewers described the product as a “one of kind out of this world, mouth puckering experience.”

    The Rivertown version will launch Jan. 20 and will be available in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Florida. New Holland’s version will launch in February.

    Rivertown’s brewers also had an update on their upcoming Geuze release. The 2012 Ville De Rivere Geuze will also be released on Jan. 20."
  19. SierraTerence

    SierraTerence Initiate (166) Mar 14, 2007 California

    Life and Limb & Fritz and Ken's Stout
  20. superstars11

    superstars11 Initiate (0) Nov 21, 2008 Ohio

    Ya. life and limb is the same collab with dogfish, except it was the one brewed at sierra nevada. Never seen the other one. And it looks to be retired.
  21. spartan1979

    spartan1979 Aspirant (284) Dec 29, 2005 Missouri

    Based on the results of some of the collaborations I've had, I have to question why they brewed a big batch if the test batch turned out the same way.
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