Carol Stoudt Prepares for Retirement; Brewery to Cease Operations

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by jmdrpi, Feb 3, 2020.

  1. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,368) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    My guess is that the Stoudts folks are awaiting business offers:

    · Buy the brand

    · Buy the brewing equipment

    · Lease the space for new brewery ownership

    · Etc.

    Or combinations of the above.

    Sorta like playing The Price is Right!?!

    Cheers!
     
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  2. maddogruss

    maddogruss Meyvn (1,095) Nov 4, 2006 New Jersey

    I am heartbroken! Will raise a Fat Dog up this weekend!
     
  3. Robmuff

    Robmuff Initiate (6) Jan 19, 2020

    What a bummer! I was 1st introduced to Stoudts at Old Bay in New Brunswick (sadly they’re gone too) I loved the double honey Mai-bock- I used to find it in select stores, but haven’t seen anything in years.
     
  4. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (264) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I love Loyal Lager and wish Yards did a few more, would love to see them add a Pilsner to the regular lineup (but I am content with LL if that would never pan out). Pale Ale is a little Larger-ish too.
     
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,368) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    'Stay tuned' to NBS tomorrow.

    Cheers!
     
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  6. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,167) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    Saw another one for your list, per Beer Paper LA, January edition
     
  7. woodychandler

    woodychandler Poo-Bah (9,624) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania
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    For @Guitarbeer : Yes, Stoudtburg or Stoudtburg Village still exists, but not under the Stoudt umbrella. It was an attempt to create a German-style enclave in rural NE Lancaster County that just never gained traction as hoped for & the Stoudts got out from underneath it at some point. The Black Angus steak house & the Antique Mall as well as the artisanal bread & cheese shop will all remain open & under the Stoudt family's ownership.

    Now for some GOOD news coming out of all of this! As I mentioned, I was up to visit yesterday with the producers of Beer CAN: A Love Story & while neither Carol nor Ed were available (both resting after a LONG week of interviews & beer tourists), I spoke to eldest daughter, Liz.

    On Sa, 11 April 2020, they will be holding one last Great Eastern Invitational Microbrewery Festival! She did not know if there would be two (2) sessions as in the past nor when tix would be going on sale, but not having been to one since August 2001, shortly after my Pops passed, you CAN rest assured that Bro. Woody ChANdler will be in attendance. Most, if not all, of the kids & grandkids will be back & present with Gretel as the wild card out in Montana. Mark yer calendars now!
     
  8. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,944) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Gee, how do they know that :thinking_face:... (and they didn't even use the common qualifiers of "since Prohibition" and/or "in the US" :grin:).

    Off hand, there was the circa 1980 Cartwright Brewing Co. (short-lived but one of the earliest "microbreweries") and its line of Cartwright-branded beer in Portland OR, operated by Charles and Shirley Coury. "Cartwright" was Shirley's maiden name...

    And, of course, before that there was Mickey's Malt Liquor, supposedly after the nickname of the wife of an executive of Sterling Brewers, Inc. (Evansville, IN) :smiley:
     
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  9. Rfro5

    Rfro5 Initiate (30) Mar 7, 2018 New Jersey
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  10. ClockworkOrange

    ClockworkOrange Poo-Bah (2,264) Feb 19, 2006 Pennsylvania
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    Thanks for the report Woody! But man, Easter weekend? I usually do a lot of cooking that Saturday, but I just can't miss this. Easily one of my favorite fests ever. Hope they go all out with assorted sausages, breads, and German sides like they used to do.
     
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  11. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,411) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    I was just going to post the same link. It's really worth a listen for people who can tolerate the abuse. The market troubles hanging over them just permeated every inch of the (pre-retirement announcement) conversation. Carol mentioned that as far as sales and interest goes, they couldn't even give Stoudt's Pilsner away. Seems like the current craft lager interest is really just an interest in certain craft brewers who happen to make lager.
     
  12. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (762) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Let’s hope it cigar free like the earlier festivals were. Once the cigars arrived I stopped going to these. Will they still provide buses to the hotels?

    Enjoy
     
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  13. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,944) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Well, except for the fact that she talks about maybe building another, smaller brewery in the back of their property for wild fermentation, etc. It's a somewhat surprising interview given that less than 3 month later she decides to close up and retire. In the last 5 minutes, she talks about hoping the brewery "carries on" and will be making the same beers in 50 years, and that someone takes it over when she dies.
     
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  14. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,167) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    It seems pretty crazy to me that there wouldn't be any interest in taking over a brand like this
     
  15. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,167) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I don't know if it's this simple.

    For example, Jack's Abby does a lot different styles, but they're known for their lagers. And their House Lager is their best selling beer.
     
  16. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,411) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    I was just making a knee-jerk reaction based on Carol's statement. I'd never claim that something was simple. But, what you're saying about Jack's Abby doesn't conflict with that reaction. I'm saying that the interest in lagers might be more of an interest in specific brewers than specific beers. Have older brewers that were previously seen as uncool in the eyes of an average beer geek found much renewed interest because of lager production? Is German import product more in demand? It seems like the brewers that are able to capitalize on this interest are newer US ones. But yeah, I'm still oversimplifying it with a knee-jerk reaction.
     
  17. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,411) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    Yeah, you wonder how much of this retirement scenario was on her mind at the time or if it was thrust into her vision rather quickly. IIRC, she was talking about not wanting to start any new business ventures anymore, and when she talked about the future fall seasonal beer it seemed like a genuine topic rather than subterfuge, holding her cards close, or wishful thinking.
     
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,368) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I lack numbers here (paging @jesskidden) but perhaps a good model here might be Yuengling Brewing and their 'new' beer of Yuengling Pilsner?

    When Yunegling Pilsner was introduced in 2018 it was their first year round product in their portfolio in 17 years. When I first read about this new product I was personally leery about how well this beer will sell. There is the aspect of "uncool in the eyes of an average beer geek" so I was thinking to myself: will Beer Geeks be willing to try this new beer? And for the part of the market that prefers an Amber AAL beer (i.e., Yuengling Traditional Lager) would they want to 'switch' to an all malt beer? It just seemed to be the sort of beer that might be in 'no mans land'?

    Chris, maybe you have some sales data here?

    Cheers!
     
  19. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,944) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Brewbound's got their story up about Stoudt's retirement, covering much of the same territory as the OP and the Holl audio thing.
    Craft Beer Pioneer Carol Stoudt Discusses Upcoming Retirement, Brewery Closure
    ...but it does contain this one new bit of info as the epilogue:
     
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  20. KingforaDay

    KingforaDay Defender (699) Aug 5, 2010 New Jersey
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    Agree 100% with this. I only listened to 15-20 minutes of the interview but Carol seemed upset about where Craft beer drinkers have gone and how Craft beer has evolved. She was a Pioneer no doubt but as long as your in the business you probably need to have a different perspective.
     
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,368) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    That is my impression as well. The craft beer scene is indeed very different today then when Stoudts opened in 1987. Stoudts has made some changes along the way but those changes were small and often times slow.

    Later in the podcast was discussion about opening a second taproom (e.g., in Philly) and for a number of reasons this was not something that Carol wanted to do. Well, that is her prerogative but needless to say there are business consequences if you choose to not properly move with the times.

    Cheers!
     
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  22. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,944) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    If Fritz Maytag had that attitude in the 1960s, they'd be no "craft beer" segment. *

    "Fritz, your antique beer is too heavy, use some corn and a lighter-colored malt, and, damn, cut back on the hops. If you're going to use lager yeast, you've got to ferment your beer in a closed, refrigerated tank. You've got to keep up with the times and realize it's a different market than it was in the gold rush era. There's a reason why you're only brewing a few thousand barrels of beer a year and it is often sour. You've got the money, why not try to compete with your neighbors like the million barrel breweries Theo. Hamm and Burgermeister? They'll be around forever!"

    * Well, there'd probably be one - might just have taken longer.
     
  23. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (264) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    The only thing that makes this a bit of an apples to oranges comparison is price, as Yuengling beers are substantially cheaper than others so on that alone I think people are more willing to grab the Yuengling Pilsner over others if they are scanning the shelves for an affordable Lager.
     
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  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,368) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Do you have any information on how well Yuengling Golden Pilsner is selling?

    Cheers!
     
  25. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,167) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Hmm, yeah that's a good point, I can't think of any off the top of my head.

    I guess it depends on the definition of "brewers that were previously seen as uncool in the eyes of an average beer geek".

    It is notable to me though that Jack's Abby's hoppy lager, Hoponius Union, has slipped in sales and has been replaced by a Helles-type lager in House Lager as their best seller. They were previously popular in the eyes of beer geeks largely for their IPLs and adjunct-laden Batlic Porter series.

    This has happened in recent years, despite the popularity of styles like New England IPAs and pastry stouts.
     
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  26. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,167) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    It's not exactly what you're asking about but North Coast brewing out here has continued to do well with their Scrimshaw Pilsner, it's on tap lots of places and seems to move well. They also introduced a 'dark mexican lager' (basically their version of negra modelo) last year and it's also seemed to move well. I don't know if they're viewed as cool or not but they haven't really changed much in all their years and seem to be plugging along just fine while relying pretty heavily on distribution and the fact that the only new beer (other than doing a bit more BA stout than they have in my memory) they've introduced has been a dark lager seems to indicate that they see a growing market for their lagers
     
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  27. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (264) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I do see lots of people picking it up when I am out shopping and they do seem to run regular promotions, late last year I was given a nice Yuengling glass just for buying a six pack and I have seen some others as well.

    I was not able to find any official numbers but I didn't spend too much time looking.

    On a thread related note I picked up a single bottle of Stoudts Golden Helles Lager. I mentioned a while ago soon after they did the rebranding that the GHL was oddly the only beer that seemed to be missing the bottle date etching that their other beers have. I looked at the bottle and couldn't find a date but figured eh who cares, it's not an IPA so even if it's old it should not be too bad. Right before I cracked it open I examined the bottle again and I found a small date in ink towards the bottom: 02/11/19 so over a year old! I wasn't expecting much but it poured great with lots of carbonation and tasted just fine. Sure, a fresh one is definitely better but the beer was not bad by any means and I still enjoyed drinking it.
     
  28. lackenhauser

    lackenhauser Poo-Bah (2,516) Dec 10, 2002 Maryland
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    They used to be everywhere in my realm of beerdom but slowly have been pushed out by all the newcomers. Couldn't buy enough Double Honey Maibock in it's day. Had a lousy experience 25 years ago at The Black Angus I must say but always found the beers solid to excellent. Mad props to her as well for being in the forefront of all we know now....
     
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  29. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,015) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    As a former distributor I can attest to the particular fickleness of the basic craft consumer. It was always difficult to know when to "steer off of the wave". I also sold Stoudt's and getting it priced correctly to the market was tough. The beers were over-priced through tier two and three. But I always liked the beers and supported them the best that I could. They were slow movers...
     
  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,368) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    FWIW that is my opinion as well.

    I listened to Carol Stoudt in the John Hall podcast and there was a bit if discussion about how she can't sell Stoudts Pilsner - she stated it would not move at all in the Pittsburgh market and it was a slow seller in the Philly area market. From my observations it is not that craft beer drinkers are not purchasing Pilsners but are instead choosing to purchase Pilsners from other local breweries (e.g., Sly Fox, Victory, Neshaminy Creek, Sterling Pig,...). I will confess that over the past few years I have not purchased Stoudts Pils, not due to the fact I dislike Stoudts (because I do) but because of bottle date issues.

    Cheers!
     
  31. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (264) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Yeah Pittsburgh and Philly have too many solid local Pilsners to bother with Stoudts. I actually drank it semi regularly (but in phases) and enjoyed it but never preferred it to some of the local options.

    And they canned it way too late in the game and didn't market it enough, especially when Pilsners made a comeback.
     
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  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,368) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Not to be hypercritical here but IMO that is the fundamental issue with Carol Stoudt's business decision making (or lack thereof) process. It seem that consistently she was a 'day late and a dollar short' in several ways.

    It has been suggested that beer making may continue at the Stoudts facility using their small 2 barrel brewing system. I hope this is the case. I enjoy going to Stoudts every year for an Oktoberfest event and I hope I can do so again in the fall of 2020. There will likely be a lesser variety of beer choices on tap but I can live with that.

    Cheers!
     
  33. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,795) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    Tried to find Stoudts APA at a few beer places this week without luck — then finally saw it on an end cap at the supermarket. It was from mid-August, though, so I passed. Wouldn’t have even known to check the date back when I drank it regularly.

    I did get the Black Lager collab with Sly Fox, though. Not bad! Was happy to find it.
     
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  34. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (342) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia
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    I agree, and there's also just a cap to how much alcohol can be consumed, and PAs and Ambers and low abv stouts aren't cool right now. Think of all the things that have happened in even the last 10yrs fighting for market share in beverage alcohol:

    hard soda (kinda dead but made a splash 5yrs ago)
    spiked seltzer / RTDs (premixed cocktails in cans)
    bourbon/ rye renaissance
    Tito's / Deep Eddy/ New Amsterdam
    High Quality Tequila / Mezcal
    Bourbon Barrel Aged Wine
    Boxed wine (that's good!)
    "Mixologist" movement- both bars and people having formerly obscure stuff at their home bar


    NE IPA
    Gose renaissance
    BA beers that just sit on the shelf
    Pastry stouts
    Lagers are cool again
     
  35. woodychandler

    woodychandler Poo-Bah (9,624) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania
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    The movie/mockumentary "Beer CAN: A Love Story" that is a part of the VIP ticket is the one that I am involved in, just in case people are curious to see it.
     
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  36. woodychandler

    woodychandler Poo-Bah (9,624) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania
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