Geary's Brewing sold - and a little bit of controversy

Discussion in 'New England' started by MonkeyDonkey, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. MonkeyDonkey

    MonkeyDonkey Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2009 Massachusetts

  2. SunDevilBeer

    SunDevilBeer Zealot (580) May 9, 2003 Massachusetts

    David Geary was a craft beer pioneer in New England. Much respect to him, glad he was able to cash out .Best wishes while he enjoys his golden years.

    Unfortunately he never got with the times & moved on from being a Ringwood brewer. The beer biz passed him by, sadly.

    I'll always have a soft spot for Hampshire Special Ale (HSA). The butter always kinda worked with that beer.
    Bierman9, Leebo, hopley and 4 others like this.
  3. Doctuh

    Doctuh Initiate (0) Apr 7, 2007 Maine

    From the article it looks like the new owner is going to move away from Ringwood

    “We are going to preserve the core because we are committed to those mature drinkers who have supported this company for 31 years. But we’re going to be stimulating our future with IPAs that are more of a traditional IPA, not using ringwood yeast,” he said, referring to a type of yeast that combines two strains that produce a sharp, yet buttery flavor.
  4. GeezusH

    GeezusH Initiate (111) Oct 26, 2015 Minnesota

    Geary's was my introduction to craft beer. I truly hope they can turn things around.
    hopley and woodfinish like this.
  5. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (525) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    "But it’s not like giving two employees severance is going to make or break the company. If that’s the margin, the company’s got bigger problems."

    I'd say a brewery that was days from bankruptcy and sold in a fire sale clearly had bigger problems. It sucks for the people that were fired and it clearly could have been handled better. But it's also not fair to entirely blame the new owners when Geary ran it into the ground.
  6. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (462) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    ..the legend of Allen Pugsley. I like a lot about Geary's -- and it's sad to see what is happening --- but I never could get past the Ringwood yeast -- just a flavor handicap that eventually comes to roost.
    Bierman9, mschofield and SunDevilBeer like this.
  7. dwoolley1

    dwoolley1 Devotee (451) Dec 16, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Every year I look forward to their Pale Ale when visiting Maine. -- I wish them well.
    hopley and VABA like this.
  8. LukieBL

    LukieBL Initiate (86) Jun 10, 2015 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Geary's is pure nostalgia

    I'll still grab a draught or 6 pack once in a while but only when I'm feeling the urge for some memberberries
  9. bostonwolf

    bostonwolf Aspirant (224) Jan 20, 2015 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Exactly. He's taking the heat for something Geary should have done a few years ago based on the dropping production numbers.
  10. oldbean

    oldbean Aspirant (284) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    Interesting quote from the new owner: “The last 12 hours have been an education in social marketing,”

    Paired with this one: “A friend of mine was told his position was safe one day, and the next day he was let go, escorted off the premises and given no severance. I don’t think that’s right,”

    Admittedly, that second quote is from a friend of one of the workers who was let go, so it's possible it might not be entirely accurate. But still, it doesn't sound like this was handled well at all, and the owner worrying about "social marketing" isn't particularly impressive either.

    Still, this isn't surprising. I suspect we'll be hearing more of these stories over the next few years. Hopefully Geary's has better days ahead of it.
  11. mschofield

    mschofield Meyvn (1,360) Oct 16, 2002 Massachusetts

    Stinks about the 2 employees not getting severance, but if Geary's was out of money they wouldn't be able to make payroll and no employees would get paid.

    Better it goes this way instead of a 38 studios situation where employees are told everything is fine, only to be out of a job and without being paid money they were owed.
    hopley likes this.
  12. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,198) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Absolutely, from my understanding, there are many ways to rescue a company from the clutches of bankruptcy or prior to entering into it. I of course feel bad for those employees and their families who were laid off, and respect yet don't agree with those bar owners' decisions, but I most applaud the new owner for sticking his neck out to save a Maine tradition.

    He's probably getting Geary's for a song, so it's not like the founder is retiring and moving to the Caribean... But in my opinion by keeping with the original Ringwood product line, which likely has a huge fan base and is easily recognizable in both supermarkets and beer stores alike, as well as expanding into more crafty like beers, hopefully this will carry Geary's into the future. Looking forward in supporting Geary's with the purchase of a mixed 12 in the near future and hope you'll join me!

    jhavs likes this.
  13. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,198) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Daring to reply to my own post, I was in the midst of editing last night when I exceeded the 15 minute time limit, I wanted to add that I think the new owner does indeed face more tough decisions in this hyper-competitive beer environment in that I think he will have to 1) hire a marketing person to potentially re-brand Geary's core product line but definitely create an alluring brand for its new product line and 2) hire a head brew master (this is likely in the cards already as it was unclear in the article which brew person was among those lads who was let go). This latter hire should be an alluring position for the right person assuming a juicy equity package is available if he can hire someone away from a larger brewer with brewer know-how looking to move to Portland which is so desirable now, or is already in the Portland area which is so rich with brew geeks. Anyway, that was the economic drivel that the last winter nor'easter drained out of me - back to work! Cheers!
    jhavs likes this.
  14. Bierman9

    Bierman9 Poo-Bah (4,335) Dec 20, 2001 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

  15. pbrian

    pbrian Zealot (581) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut

    He's too busy freaking out right now.

    But my 2c on the topic- I'm firmly on the side of supporting the new owners for coming in and trying to salvage the jobs that are left and continuing the iconic Geary's Brewing. I'll definitely buy some of their new offerings when they come out.
  16. Bierman9

    Bierman9 Poo-Bah (4,335) Dec 20, 2001 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    No Ringwood? Bring it! Have heard that Woodstock has ditched Ringwood and the reviews are very positive....

    FrankLloydMike likes this.
  17. LakesideBrewing

    LakesideBrewing Initiate (186) Dec 1, 2013 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, I never understood why some old school breweries still used Ringwood. It's such a bad yeast.
  18. SunDevilBeer

    SunDevilBeer Zealot (580) May 9, 2003 Massachusetts

    Very true - had a Woodstock apres ski @ Loon last week & was pleasantly surprised w/no Ringwood!

    RW in itself isn't so bad, but crashing it too quick to get out the door is (hello, Shipyard!). Dogfish Head makes their iconic 60 & 90 minute IPAs with a cousin/clone of RW & you'd never confuse it with Shipyard IPA.

    From the article sounds like they'll keep RW in some beers (I'd recommend HSA & Porter), but agree they should move on to other modern-style beers using a different yeast.
    Jwale73 and halfshell like this.
  19. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,198) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Interestingly enough, as one of the original craft brewers in Maine, which effectively means they're not considered "craft" in today's market, if Geary's can keep using the old school Ringwood successfully in their core line (strategic plan #1) while adding a craft brew line according to today's standards, and definitely not using Ringwood (strategic plan #2) - without doing some longer spreadsheet analysis of other Maine brewers, the combination of strategic plans #1 and #2 could in itself be considered along the lines of market positioning, branding, etc. that might ultimately, if done well, even lead up to a competitive advantage.

    When I think of other Maine brewers doing mixed 12 packs that appeal to 4th of July barbecue masses that want something more than BMC - I think of Baxter, Shipyard, Sebago, Grittys, etc. - and I don't think any of these breweries has made the jump to creating a line of dank tasty beers of a Bissell / Foundation quality. If Geary's could do this, if this is what their strategy #2 envisions - wow, that would be really cool to watch.
    Phishagonia likes this.
  20. pbrian

    pbrian Zealot (581) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut

    Maybe this is a stupid question, but after using their equipment for 30 years with the same yeast (granted all of the equipment isn't original, but for argument's sake, let's say it is) and that yeast just happens to put off off-flavors (again, for arguments sake let's agree that's true), is it possible to switch to a cleaner yeast on the same equipment and have the product be completely rid of the former yeast's flavors? I suppose we're just talking about the post brew kettle side of the process since the yeast isn't pitched until after that, but can you use the same fermenters for both Ringwood beers that you use for a clean lager?

    Just thinking out loud...
  21. pgbond

    pgbond Initiate (140) Dec 3, 2014 Massachusetts

    As long as you clean and sanitize completely there wouldn't be anything left of Ringwood. The joys of Stainless Steel.