Green Flash Pulls Distribution From 33 States, Eliminates 15 Percent of Workforce

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by KRubes, Jan 15, 2018.

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  1. KRubes

    KRubes Aspirant (270) Sep 7, 2014 North Carolina

    Facing increased competition from more than 6,000 U.S. craft breweries, Green Flash Brewing today announced plans to pull distribution from 33 states in a move that will also include a 15 percent reduction of its workforce.

    Speaking with Brewbound, Green Flash co-founder Mike Hinkley said the 15-year-old San Diego-headquartered craft brewery had initially built a 50-state footprint with aspirations of being a “heritage” brand, but as thousands of startup breweries opened their doors, and chipped into Green Flash sales, the company was forced to alter its strategy.
    chrismattlin likes this.

    DISKORD Aspirant (212) Feb 28, 2017 North Carolina

    It can't be good for their business. I wonder if their sales are way down in those 33 states. When breweries do well, they usually expand, not the opposite.
    Harrison8 likes this.
  3. Hoppedelic

    Hoppedelic Devotee (422) Dec 6, 2010 California
    Premium Trader

    All their beer sits gathering dust and I'm in CA so I'm sure it's bad elsewhere too. Their beer just doesn't taste very good and now that they're brewing Alpine beers they aren't good either.
    MeBeerGood, MJSFS, GuyFawkes and 16 others like this.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,713) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I am not surprised to hear this for a number of reasons.

    Firstly things are very competitive right now and I would suggest it is 'extra' competitive for the larger distributing breweries.

    Secondly I personally stopped purchasing Green Flash beer when a number of years they decided to go from a 6-pack format to a 4-pack format and simultaneously increase the per unit price of their beers. I viewed this specific change as a dick move and I decided they would no longer get my business. More recently I did buy a number of Alpine beers (draft) a year or so ago and these beers were sub-par as compared to how these beers were when they were brewed by the Alpine Brewery in Alpine, CA. I thought to myself: one more bad move by Green Flash.

    I am sorry to read about the 15% reduction in force but it seems to me that this is likely a result of bad business decisions by the owners/management of Green Flash Brewing Co.

    Antg8989, MJSFS, GuyFawkes and 34 others like this.
  5. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (250) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    How many earlier stage markets are left in America?

    Sad to see them leave New Mexico. Then again I can't remember the last time I sprung for a six/four pack.

    They call it extreme competition but they have to ask themselves why. And look in the mirror. No one wants 3-4 month old beer. And if it's getting near expiration, maybe a lineup change, or recipe change, or new Brewers. Ie your quality control may need a tune up.

    I know at least four big breweries who just entered NM. I buy their products initially but then they just sit and get old. I can see a future where it's 90% local beer dominating shelf space and regional-national players slowly reeling back to regional.

    I remember when GF had some bottling issues with their best by dates. They had a spot on the label for it but nothing was there. I spent a good number of years looking for dates and changes. I don't know what it's like now but I sort of gave up.
  6. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (870) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Exactly. Their sales numbers look good after the contraction because they chose to keep the 17 most profitable states.

    They are brewing beer with a 2008 mentality in 2018 and craft beer consumers are very fickle. No surprise here. Can't say that I've been interested in anything from GF for a while, and, as you said, Alpine has taken a step back in quality since GF started making their beers.
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,713) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    There is no doubt in my mind this was certainly the case as regards the Alpine branded beers they produced.

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    DISKORD Aspirant (212) Feb 28, 2017 North Carolina

    Didn't they also have an "infection" issue with a beer or two?
  9. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,310) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Limited shelf space, too many breweries.
  10. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (870) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader


    They took the short term profit instead of preparing for long term growth.
  11. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (2,892) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Premium Trader

    I feel bad for the 15% of employees who are going to lose their jobs over this, but I can't say it's shocking that Green Flash is reducing their foot print.

    On a side note, didn't Green Flash just have a layoff sometime last year with their marketing team?
    russpowell likes this.
  12. craigbelly

    craigbelly Defender (687) Dec 31, 2015 Iowa

    50 state foot print in craft is always a mistake. The industry is moving more and more regional. Your drive and big ego make decisions like this. Green Flash didn't anticipate this level of growth and competition?!??! The writing was beginning to take shape on the wall 5 years ago. Luckily they make good product and will make it through.
    gardenstatepkwy and Premo88 like this.
  13. ypsifly

    ypsifly Meyvn (1,030) Sep 22, 2004 Michigan

    I stopped ordering them for the store well over a year ago due to serious freshness issues.
    KarlHungus, SFACRKnight and Gemini6 like this.
  14. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (870) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

  15. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (250) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    How old is the Vb location? Was the VB location even viable? Sounds like the tax breaks for all new VA breweries clouded everyone's judgement.

    If people aren't buying your product from one location, what makes you think things will be better at another. Beers may be brewed and shipped fresh. But they sit at wholesalers for weeks to months untill your current product sells. That's just business 101.

    And I wonder, are they even debt free from their Alpine purchase and the opening of the vb brewery , and now the Lincoln, ne pilot facility. Spending until something sticks?
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  16. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Poo-Bah (1,856) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Premium Trader

    Honestly, if they went back to brewing with a pre-2008 mentality and returned the original recipes of West Coast IPA and Hop Head Red in 6ers, I'd happily give them my business. And that's said from someone that's still pissed about what they did to Alpine Nelson.
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,713) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Below was posted last year (Jan. 17, 2017):

    “This evening, The Full Pint learned that Green Flash Brewing has in fact laid off approximately 25 employees from their Accounting, Marketing, Events and Brewing Operations departments.”

  18. Maltytasker

    Maltytasker Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2007 Virginia

    The VB site has been brewing here for about a year and a half , the tap room a bit longer . Things seem to be going good there , they stay busy except for the Winter . I do think that 50 states was way too ambitious but having a East Coast brewery was a good idea . They will save on shipping and there are water shortages in CA .

    Not sure what kind of tax break they got but it apparently was nothing like the sweet deal that Stone got in Richmond . Haven't heard about tax breaks for all new VA breweries but the ability to sell beer directly to consumers has made a big difference .

    I don't buy their beers too often but my favorite right now is the Alpine Windows Up . Was disappointed with Pure Hoppiness , it has a harshness that the original didn't have . I've talked to people from GF here that went to Alpine to learn the recipes and they had trouble duplicating them on a much larger system .
    russpowell and chrismattlin like this.
  19. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (250) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    Green Flash was always a pass for me in NJ. As far as large distribution breweries Sierra Nevada and Founders are always making better beer and seem to be fresher(due to product turnover) I won't miss them in my state. Hopefully with the decrease in distribution and forthcoming production decrease that there beer will be better and fresher for states still receiving them.
    MjBrewhouse likes this.
  20. DrewLS

    DrewLS Initiate (123) Oct 7, 2012 Massachusetts

    It seems to me that more than ever consumers are focused on hyper local brands. Massachusetts is a hotbed for craft at the moment so perhaps the exception instead of the norm, but Massachusetts breweries alone could fulfill the variety and quality that consumers want.

    Any RIF is sad but if a company doesn't adapt to the current tides they will die. With a large brewery adaptation is super hard based on different demographics in different cities, states, and costs are high.
  21. surfcaster

    surfcaster Crusader (743) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Premium Trader

    Well one positive thing from the article is that they are eliminating 22oz bottles.

    They had some things I liked in the past--too bad.

    I hope they can straighten out the Alpine issues.
    JMN44, elgiacomo and Subcontrabass like this.
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,713) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Do you have any more details that you can share with us on this topic? Does it makes sense to you that after a time period of 1.5 years that things are still screwed up here? Don't you think that given this timeframe that they should have been able to fix things by now?

  23. Nhens0016

    Nhens0016 Aspirant (247) Aug 23, 2013 Louisiana

    I’ll be completely honest, I don’t think I have ever bought a green flash beer. Bought a couple alpine which was ok. I always got the stigma that green flash thought they were better than they were and charged a premium for the right to drink them. I still look at them as a scummy brewery for some reason.
  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,713) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    After they switched from 6-packs to 4-packs and raised their per unit prices I shared your opinion here.

  25. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,635) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Mediocre beers at a premium price = beers that sit on the shelf and grow old. So fresh mediocre beers ( when you can find fresh) go to older shitty beers, if someone happens to buy it's a one time deal. Just a vicious cycle that's just self destructive. Detest Green Flash West Coast IPA, and they killed Alpine this side of the world.
    GuyFawkes, russpowell and TrojanRB like this.
  26. AyatollahGold

    AyatollahGold Crusader (795) Nov 28, 2016 Indiana

    I have never bought a Green Flash beer. Not even because of the price, because honestly I never looked at the price. It just never caught my eye with what was beside it. So I can get this. And as far as the recent Alpine brews I have tried them and haven't been impressed with any. Just mediocre.
  27. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Initiate (110) Jan 8, 2015 California

    Plenty of disparaging words. (stands up with assistance of cane). Back in the day, West Coast IPA, Le Freak and Palate Wrecker were a thing of beauty.
  28. BenHoppy

    BenHoppy Zealot (519) Nov 15, 2017 Michigan

    It's been about a good 5 years since I bought Green Flash but man back then cracking open a West Coast IPA or Palate Wrecker felt like a ground breaking experience. Those memories will never fade. Especially finding them in my local Kroger mix beer shop and grabbing 6 of them for $9.99 when buying a 4 pack was $14. But can't imagine those beers tasting as good as it once did.
  29. bgold86

    bgold86 Savant (908) Apr 1, 2015 New York
    Premium Trader

    Shelf turds here in NYC, I don’t know why they even bother. I remember when Palate Wrecker was a staple in my fridge 3-4 years ago, but there are now too many fresher better quality options locally.
    GuyFawkes, gardenstatepkwy and jrnyc like this.
  30. Giantspace

    Giantspace Defender (673) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    WCIPA and Rayon Vert were great beers. The old heavy bottles I loved too. I thought $10-12 for RV was a good price for the beer.

    GF is in 6 packs now for a while. I mostly see Soul style (don't like it) and Sea to Sea( a bit $ for what it is) a good beer and the last thing I bought from them around 4 years ago. I still have a bunch of Rayon sitting. I should put one in the fridge for this weekend.

    Oh, I forgot I also have a few Friendship beers left. I really liked that one. Be interesting to see what that one is like with all these years on them.

    Their beer was undated then used yellow/white ink that rubbed off easy.

    I wish them well but unless WCIPA cones back as the original recipe and Rayon is made again I'm out unless the $ comes down a lot.

    bushycook and LambicPentameter like this.
  31. NotAlcoholicJustAHobby

    NotAlcoholicJustAHobby Savant (901) Jun 13, 2015 Vermont

    New England is a murder's row for IPA's. You'd better be able to catch the consumer's eye, and let's face it, those labels would be ugly in 1980. Of course if you do manage to catch the consumer's eye, you'd better be able to back it up.
  32. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,310) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Hop Head Red was a tasty beer, but they eliminated it.
  33. readyski

    readyski Aspirant (230) Jun 4, 2005 California

    All they need to do is bring back Rayon Vert and Nelson (original recipe) and I would resume buying their beer :sunglasses:
    pmarlowe, bushycook and hopsputin like this.
  34. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,117) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I bet this won't be the last time we see this sort of thing in the next year or few.. Too many options and beer is perishable so it is what it is.
  35. Jimbo69

    Jimbo69 Initiate (44) Sep 12, 2017 North Carolina

    The crystal ball says this is going to become common place. With a flooded market, and so many choices it's not surprising. Heck, according to ncbeerguys site, our state has 61 new breweries in the works.
  36. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,203) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Premium Trader

    I’ll never forgive Green Flash for what they did to Alpine....

    But this is what happens when you have crap beer, crap freshness, crap pricing, and crap labels (Microsoft 95 wordart!). Did I miss anything?
  37. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,117) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    But they did it all on a new state of the art brewing system.. :confounded: True story.
    GuyFawkes and nc41 like this.
  38. pro100

    pro100 Initiate (89) Oct 12, 2014 California

    Everybody is buying local these days. Why buy GF when a brewery 10 miles or less from your home is making a better product and serving your craft beer needs.

    I used to buy a Soul Style sixer from time to back in the days but its been a while
    gardenstatepkwy and nc41 like this.
  39. Maltytasker

    Maltytasker Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2007 Virginia

    I did hear that Alpine just had a different mentality than GF . The beer was " ready when it's ready " , which I can appreciate but that wasn't good enough for GF . They wanted it way more precise . Yeah , they should have things dialed in better by now . PH was was the one I was looking forward to the most , doesn't seem to be getting any better . Luckily, ( for us ) like most places local and distro options here have improved greatly . GF needs to step it up to compete .
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  40. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,108) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Premium Trader

    Green Flash just came to South Dakota last year. Not sure anyone will notice it leaving. When they were announced here, I doubt many had ever heard of them - and that's going to happen if your distribution precedes your reputation. If nobody is clamoring for it, how did they expect to do well?
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