Boulder Beer Company is downsizing, ending distribution, and laying off 21 employees

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by FatBoyGotSwagger, Oct 11, 2019 at 12:46 AM.

  1. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,363) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

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  2. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,938) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    The craft market is completely cut throat right now, the big boys buying up smaller breweries is accelerating events like this. The balance of power between smaller breweries is tilted with the cash backing it.
    FatBoyGotSwagger likes this.
  3. bsp77

    bsp77 Poo-Bah (1,952) Apr 27, 2008 Minnesota

    Too bad. Shake, Flashback and Mojo were decent choices like 10 to 20 years ago. I admit I haven't had them since though.
  4. stevepat

    stevepat Crusader (766) Mar 12, 2013 California

    Seems like a smart move, hopefully it's enough to keep them afloat
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    These are very competitive times for craft breweries. In my area (SEPA) I am seeing the opposite effect with larger scale breweries opening over the past year (with others being announced for 2020):

    Recently opened large scale craft breweries:
    • Workhorse Brewing (King of Prussia)
    • Conshohocken Production brewery (King of Prussia)
    • Sly Fox: new facilities in Pittsburgh (production brewery & separate taproom)
    Soon to be opened - 2020
    • Night Shift - HUGE facility in Philadelphia
    • Iron Hill - Large production brewery in Exton, PA
    • Sly Fox tasting room in Malvern, PA
    Plus it seems like every week or two I read/hear about a new small, local brewery opening in the Philadelphia area.

    I must confess I am perplexed here.

  6. VitisVinifera

    VitisVinifera Initiate (124) Feb 25, 2013 California

    I was drinking BBC back in the early 90's. They were my first favorite craft brewery. Back then it was them, Odells, Breckenridge, and New Belgium pretty much the only players in Colorado. BBC could have been something,.......I guess if they could have seen the future. They have a lot of history. Their Pale Ale, Porter, Stout, and Buffalo Gold were in frequent rotation in the early days.
  7. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,729) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I have to suspect that there are far fewer good and innovative brewers than there are breweries, so the proliferation of new breweries will hasten the demise of older and less innovative ones.
  8. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,363) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Yeah the article mentions they are the only brewery along with Sierra Nevada to have poured beers at every GABF, that's saying something.
    eppCOS, ManBearPat, zeff80 and 6 others like this.
  9. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Defender (664) May 3, 2016 Illinois

    Think that's the key. If you don't innovate and update your lineup to meet modern tastes you get left behind. Look at how many people McDonalds serves. You'd think they could rest on their laurels, but they are constantly updating the look of their stores, cutting products that don't sell and adding new ones to see if they are viable. Boulder's line is just looks tired. When I read the article at first I was like "Oh no, fond memories". And then I figured out I was confusing them with Breckenridge Brewing. To me, Boulder will just be the brewpub in the Denver airport you'd go to before you wanted to deal with the TSA line.
    Bitterbill, Roguer and bbtkd like this.
  10. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (9,202) May 24, 2005 Arkansas

    Sadness. Just got into Oklahoma not too long ago. They were certainly riding the wave when I moved there in 04
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  11. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,729) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Yeah, it says they never miss a good party. :wink:
    officerbill and FatBoyGotSwagger like this.

    MUSHROOMCLOUD Poo-Bah (1,740) Mar 4, 2005 Texas

    Hate to hear that.
    Visited in 2006 and my wife and I sat down and ate dogs and I had 3 pints. Went to close out and my bill was $10 (or something crazy) --- they told me it was nickel beer day.
    I sat back down...
    Love that place and loved Hazed & Infused and Mojo at the time.
  13. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,541) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Even before the craft world exploded and things became so tightly competitive, I didn't drink their beers. Nonetheless, sad to read this.
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  14. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,363) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    True but imagine if the article had been written about Sierra Nevada.
    bbtkd likes this.
  15. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (721) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I worked across the street from them in the early 90’s.
    When I lived in Boulder I drank a lot of Boulder beer along with that Egyptian themed brewery. Can’t recall the name but the stout was real nice and they sold pitchers.

    russpowell likes this.
  16. pjeagles

    pjeagles Initiate (150) May 29, 2005 New Mexico

    I think Oasis is the brewery you're talking about, right? They reopened in Denver a couple of years ago.

    I think the increased competition is the biggest reason. I'm as big a fan of the limited haze, etc. releases as anyone, but I stopped drinking Mojo and other Boulder beers when I got into beers like Ruination.
  17. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Devotee (498) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    With the bad news, I may finally pick up killer Penguin if I see it
  18. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (919) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I think that there will be many stories like this in the next few years.
  19. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,048) May 13, 2011 North Carolina

    Well the last time I visited Philly in 2013, there were tons of beer bars and a decent amount of bottle shops but very few actual breweries. There was Triumph and maybe a couple others but that's it, so I'm not surprised There's been a needed spike.
  20. craigbelly

    craigbelly Champion (807) Dec 31, 2015 Iowa

    Went on my first trip to Colorado in 2006 or 07 to brews, blues, and BBQ fest. Someone handed me a Hazed & Infused. I still remember that beer till this day.
  21. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,618) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Not a shock, but this saddens me. I still consider Hazed & Infused to be an A+ beer and Shake is quite good for what it is. Boulder has done a pretty decent job of changing with the times. While they still make many of their old school items, they've re-structured their line-up and seasonal rotation several times to match current tastes. I don't think it's their beers so much as their name/image. They're simply overlooked in a world when a new brewery opens every week. Their brand isn't fresh and I frankly don't think it's possible to change that image.
  22. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (508) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    There's nothing wrong with Boulder beer. They just got passed up for the newest latest thing in so many ways. They make high quality stuff.

    For those of you who don't know, Boulder beer opened in 1978 and they are considered one of the first craft breweries in the United States. They helped grow the homebrewing movement and the Brewers Association.
    Burndoc48, jasonmason, eppCOS and 8 others like this.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    @Domingo stated: “They're simply overlooked in a world when a new brewery opens every week. Their brand isn't fresh and I frankly don't think it's possible to change that image.”

    The same could be said for ‘old’ breweries like Sierra Nevada (they will be celebrating their 40th anniversary next year), Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams),…

    It will be interesting to see if breweries like Sierra Nevada, Boston Beer Company and other ‘old school’ breweries can remain relevant.

    FWIW it sure seem like the excitement factor in my area is for the new small, local breweries that seem to be opening on a weekly basis. Collectively this represents a lot of competition for the ‘old’ breweries.


    P.S. One ‘old school’ brewery that seems to be continually performing well is Yuengling. Last year they celebrated their 190th anniversary. Maybe they can continue to do perform well (i.e., beer sales volume) since they have a diverse customer base (e.g., don’t solely rely on craft beer consumers)? Their customers are not continually looking for the next ‘shiny new thing’?
    russpowell, stevepat and dennis3951 like this.
  24. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,827) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    The name changes always had me befuddled.
  25. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (919) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Yuengling will continue to do well since it can still expand distribution. It's only sold in 21 states only 2 of which are west of the Mississippi.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yes, that is indeed a possibility. It is my understanding that there latest expansion in distribution was Kentucky in 2018. Have you heard about any plans in this regard for 2019/2020?

  27. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (919) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I haven't heard anything, I just looked at the distribution map on their website.
  28. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,938) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Yuengling took NC by storm, it really does bridge a gap between most AALs and a very decent amber lager. I’m not an admirer of Ambers in general, but it’s imo equal to something like Fat Tire. It’ll do well everywhere they distro, it used to be primarily held close to home in the 70s, now it’s everywhere here. On tap everywhere.
    rgordon, russpowell and Bitterbill like this.
  29. Powell014

    Powell014 Initiate (34) Oct 30, 2014 Colorado

    Counterpoint: They've spend the last two years being 12-18 months late to trends with substantially inferior clones. Their fruited beers (the prickly pear and watermelon kolsch) were poorly made and their NE IPA was one of the worst versions of that style I've had. I have fond memories of them too but they got passed not by 'new' things but by better things.
    Dan_K likes this.
  30. VitisVinifera

    VitisVinifera Initiate (124) Feb 25, 2013 California

    This almost feels like a post-mortem, but here's my Boulder Beer story:

    Before I became a California winemaker, I was an Agronomy major at Colorado State U. Agronomy is grain ag. The year would have been 91 or 92, and I did a paper on different kinds of grains used in beer. So I called them up, and they were happy to host me and answer my questions. They also gave me samples of unmilled grain heads and the kernels, so I got some 2-row, 6-row, and wheat. I put it all together for a paper and did pretty well. I still have it with all my college notes. I was a fan before and after, and they didn't have to do what they did.
  31. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (4,792) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    And are in Colorado :wink:

    I haven’t seen many around here recently, and they never were anything near ubiquitous, but I thought Shake (agree with @Domingo on this one) was on tap as late as last year (though even I wouldn’t trust my memory on this).

    Reading the article quickly, I think it could be a good business decision if the owners can embrace the “local” shift properly. At least I hope so.
  32. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (721) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Yes, that’s it, thanks.I remember loving their stout.
    Wonder how they are 30 odd years later.

  33. Knobs303

    Knobs303 Aspirant (269) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Not to put too much of a fine point on the year, but it was 1979, not 1978. And from their website, when they opened, there was only 42 other breweries operating in the United States.
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  34. mambossa

    mambossa Disciple (388) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    In the coming years it’s gonna be tough for regional breweries, mainly those having a hard time keeping the show fresh and up-to-date.

    I have a feeling we will be seeing more and more of this.
    russpowell likes this.
  35. oneraindog

    oneraindog Initiate (29) Oct 6, 2003 Pennsylvania

    Selling 18,000 barrels in 34 states is no longer a sustainable model.
    jesskidden, russpowell and drtth like this.
  36. zeff80

    zeff80 Poo-Bah (10,350) Feb 6, 2006 Missouri

    They were one of the breweries I sought out when I crossed the Missouri state line into to Kansas in my early days of craft beer. It was heaven to find Boulder, Avery and Great Divide on the shelves.
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  37. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (9,202) May 24, 2005 Arkansas

    I remember those guys
  38. Tilley4

    Tilley4 Poo-Bah (2,118) Nov 13, 2007 Tennessee
    Society Trader

    I remember purchasing these 10 to 15 years ago. Admittedly, they stopped distributing to Tennessee and I don't know that it even registered with me. I wish them the best as the beers I had from them were solid. Hopefully this will allow them to get back on their feet.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  39. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,349) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    They always had bad timing. Shake is on par with weldwerks pastry stouts, but gets no fan fare. Hazed and infused was a session ipa before they were cool as well.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  40. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (973) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    This is true. It is a "transition" beer for a segment of the beer buying public. I understand the appeal, and the color is a big piece of its popularity. It has a rather large flavor, is easy to drink, and it's better than most beers at its price point. For my personal taste, it's a bit sweet and less crisp than I would like. It has made a mark in this market.