Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

News Harpoon Brewery Acquires Clown Shoes

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by DucRacer900, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. DucRacer900

    DucRacer900 Initiate (129) Aug 13, 2013 Massachusetts

    https://www.clownshoesbeer.com/uncategorized/clown-shoes-is-acquired-by-harpoon/

    ---

    Clown Shoes is Acquired by Harpoon?!
    What the hell? Really? Sellouts! They’re going to be “Harpoonized!”

    Ok, everybody, please take a breath.

    Yes, Clown Shoes has been acquired by Harpoon. No, we are not going to lose our identity and no, we are not “selling out”. Harpoon is an independent, employee owned craft brewery. All Clown Shoes Employees are moving over to Harpoon. All of us will become employee owners. For this partnership to work, everyone needs for us to continue to be Clown Shoes. We will still produce innovative, high quality beers with signature graphic marketing. We will, in fact, create small batch, state specific, and barrel aged beers at an accelerated rate in 2018.

    In terms of being Harpoonized? The flavor profiles of our beers, our branding, and our distribution strategies are different. But, beyond that, those of us who work at Clown Shoes are Harpoon at heart in so many ways. Most of us grew up in Massachusetts. We are all homeowners here, spreading from Beverly, Lowell, Cambridge, Somerville, Ashland, and Plymouth to Northampton. We root for the same sports teams, shovel snow from the same storms, walk the same beaches during the few decent days of summer, and we drive again and again over the same streets, bridges and highways. Most importantly, at Harpoon and at Clown Shoes, we are workers and we are fighters. We work crazy hours. We fight with all of our energy and creativity for the brand, for the craft beer industry as a whole, and to make beer that we and our customers love.

    I and the Clown Shoes Team are genuinely honored and excited to get down to business with our new coworkers. Our strengths complement each other.

    Harpoonized? Sure, if we get to be part of an independent, employee owned company, sign us up! But we are still going to be Clown Shoes and Harpoon is still going to be Harpoon. Now we get to have fun playing in the same sandbox for years to come.

    Lastly, to all of the Clown Shoes supporters, we love you for helping us reach this important moment in our growth and in our history. Please stay tuned!

    With Warm Regards,

    Gregg Berman
     
  2. jhavs

    jhavs Meyvn (1,415) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    Just saw this in my email from "Friends of Harpoon".

    I frequent the Windsor VT location (its an awesome venue especially in the summer). This seems like it will be interesting. More new brews to try. I usually shy away from Clown Shoes because of a few less than thrilling experiences. This will change that for sure. I know a lot of people love their brews.
     
    PorterPro125 and VABA like this.
  3. bsullivan

    bsullivan Initiate (121) Aug 17, 2017 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    I'm actually OK with this? Probably because like they say above Harpoon is still independent and employee owned. Not something I was expecting but it makes a lot of sense for both companies, Harpoon to start acting like a beer giant and smaller breweries to want that stability a large brewery provides but also having that large brewery not be AB or MillerCoors
     
  4. DrivinNCryin

    DrivinNCryin Initiate (131) Aug 21, 2017 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    This reads a lot like the Wicked Weed announcement.
     
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,017) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Every release that I have read about a brewery selling themselves has the same theme of nothing will change. The Victory folks had a similar message when they sold out to ABV, that business will continue as usual. Needless to say but that wasn't the case for Victory. I suppose it would be prudent to take a 'wait and see' approach as regards Clown shoes?

    Cheers!
     
    DonObiWan and DrivinNCryin like this.
  6. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Devotee (496) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    'We are all homeowners here" Well, la de da!
     
  7. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Savant (989) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    I am always amazed with the statement "Nothing will Change" Then any educated person would say then why are you merging if absolutely nothing will change HA HA. Simply put things will change because that is the nature of a merger. Sorry the beer folk need to get a new line, how about "Not much will change"
    Cheers
     
  8. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (392) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    what do you think has changed now that Victory is part of ABV?
     
  9. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Devotee (437) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    I'd like to know, as well, as I've not noticed anything awry with Victory products, from either a quality or an availability standpoint.
     
  10. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Devotee (437) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the line that you mention is in regards to a negative turn in quality and/or distribution, and not anything in regards to business structure.
     
    Jaycase likes this.
  11. Donco

    Donco Devotee (482) Aug 12, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Best of luck, Gregg. You know I love your big beers. Let's hope this is a positive for all around!
     
  12. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Poo-Bah (5,069) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    Does this mean Clown Shoes comes back to Vermont now?

    Well, sending in the update for the Beer Advocate database.

    It is what it is.

    ¯\_(?)_/¯
     
    VABA and NotAlcoholicJustAHobby like this.
  13. emannths

    emannths Initiate (193) Sep 21, 2007 Massachusetts

    I guess 13,000 bbl/yr of capacity just freed up at Ipswich. More Rt 101 12pks pls.
     
    Tamarack, meefmoff and soheadyithurts like this.
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,017) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    They have eliminated a number of the specialty beers that they would normally serve at their brewpub (Downingtown) and tasting room (Parkesburg). For example, this year they decided to not produce their Zeltbier which is an excellent Pale Oktoberfest beer.

    A business decision has been made to concentrate on Victory core beers (e.g., their packaged products). It seems is that they want to optimize profits and the production of specialty beers is contrary to this new business goal.

    Cheers!
     
    DonObiWan likes this.
  15. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Savant (989) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    I was not saying it would be negative, what I was saying is that when a company buys another company there are changes, that is just a business fact. So when owners put out a press release and say both companies will be exactly as we were prior to the merger is just not true. I never understood why companies agree to sell then want to pretend they never sold and life will continue unchanged, that is just not real life. They need to embrace the merger and just be honest, and then people won't criticize as much.
    Edit: Honestly I don't care if companies merge, that is their right and their money. I just sort of laugh how they all say the same thing, its almost like its a programmed industry reply.
     
  16. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Devotee (437) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    It's the Age of Spin, man.
     
    AZBeerDude72 likes this.
  17. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Savant (989) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    Very true, they are about image and don't want to damage profits or fan base. I totally get it and would do the same thing. I just think companies jump into things without knowing how to talk to their customers. I would just tell it as it is, its dam hard out there and we merged to keep our business alive....
     
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,017) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    They are trying to 'sell' the notion that things will remain the same so that their existing customer base will still exuberantly support them and continue to buy their beers with gusto. It would not surprise me that many (most?) of their customer base will believe the BS because they truly hope that nothing will change. As long as the business owners believe that their customer base will believe the stuff they spout they will continue in this manner.

    Cheers to you for knowing otherwise!
     
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,017) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    I too wish more business owners would follow the edict of honesty is the best policy. I am personally not holding my breath here.

    Cheers!
     
    SABERG and ElijahSF like this.
  20. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Savant (989) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    I totally agree with you, most will read that press item and never give it another though, sadly that is the nature of society today and business owners use that ignorance to their gain.

    Cheers :slight_smile:
     
  21. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Savant (989) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    Yep, I am a big fan of honesty. Just tell the people facts, be honest, and let the chips fall as they will. Least you keep your integrity, to me that is most important. A business can fail but if you never lost your integrity that means the world to people least it means something to me.
     
  22. Hoppedelic

    Hoppedelic Aspirant (225) Dec 6, 2010 California
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    How is this business deal going to change the flavor of the beer?
     
  23. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Savant (989) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    I can say the same thing back, How can you say this business deal won't? Your asking something that no one can answer with certainty so its sort of a baited question.
     
  24. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (392) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I've never been so I dont see the changes at the front line. Maybe they just ran out of production room with the newly released homegrown lager and the tank to table series. Breweries selling 4 packs direct from brewery are making a killing so it makes sense to try and hop on that train.
     
  25. Hoppedelic

    Hoppedelic Aspirant (225) Dec 6, 2010 California
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I was just asking because Jack said the owners were spouting bullshit so I'm curious as to what it is about this deal that makes him think that.
     
  26. rgordon

    rgordon Crusader (725) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Personally, I have liked the Harpoon IPAs I've had on tap around Boston. Once at Neptune Oyster my son and I were on foot and had "several" with truly great seafood. That is a great memory. I haven't had much experience with Clown Shoes that was very memorable. Otherwise, I have no problem with these business deals, it's just business. Staying in business, keeping employees working, and likely making a good paycheck doesn't bother me.I did laugh about the snow shoveling comment.
     
    RutgersBeerGuy likes this.
  27. meefmoff

    meefmoff Disciple (305) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    This was only mentioned once in the thread obliquely so far but does the fact that Clown Shoes has always been entirely a contract/gypsy (not sure of their situation) brewery have any bearings on how a deal like this should be viewed?

    Yesterday, they brewed all their beer at Ipswich Brewing, a large-ish independently owned regional brewery in MA that has been around a long time. Tommorow, they'll brew all their beer at Harpoon Brewery, a large independently owned regional brewery in MA that has been around a long time.

    Obviously some things have changed, but it seems a much smaller leap from A to B here than in some of the more high profile purchases of late.
     
    JrGtr, Ranbot, Axtimusprime and 3 others like this.
  28. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Devotee (437) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    IMO, even though Clown Shoes is, essentially, a beer marketing company as they have no bricks and mortar brewery, their "brewery" still employs people.

    Although these numbers aren't exact, Harpoon produces somewhere around 200K bbl per year while Ipswich produces around 25K bbl. Without knowing the exact motivations and details of the sale, it seems like they took money from a smaller business and gave it to a larger one.

    Maybe. I guess it depends on why people take umbrage with these purchases in the first place.
     
  29. oldbean

    oldbean Aspirant (230) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    It's super weird to me that people are talking about this like Clown Shoes sold to some giant multi-national corporation.

    I didn't really think of Clown Shoes as a paragon of integrity before this sale, and I don't think of them as soul-less sellouts now. A larger regional brewery bought a smaller regional brewery, whoop-de-shit.
     
    Ranbot, Sheppard, kool-aid and 2 others like this.
  30. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Devotee (437) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    And how would it be different if they did? Obviously the reaction here would be different, but, in reality, a brewer with no "skin in the game" wasn't looking to stay in said game for a long time. "Breweries" like Clown Shoes are created to sell-out.

    Indeed.
     
    Prep8611 likes this.
  31. CrazyJoeDavola57

    CrazyJoeDavola57 Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2010 Massachusetts

    Is it selling out if you can't even brew your own beer?
     
  32. Hoppedelic

    Hoppedelic Aspirant (225) Dec 6, 2010 California
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    They do brew their own beer, it's just done at someone else's brewery.
     
    #32 Hoppedelic, Oct 30, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
    Axtimusprime likes this.
  33. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Devotee (437) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    By brewers that are not directly employed by them.
     
    Sheppard and ElijahSF like this.
  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,017) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    And prior to the sell out to ABV I would have encouraged you to visit the brewpub and/or tasting room. Since I have stopped going since the changes I certainly would not suggest you visit now.

    Cheers!
     
  35. Hoppedelic

    Hoppedelic Aspirant (225) Dec 6, 2010 California
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    The head brewer who writes the recipes and oversees the brewing is directly employed by them but I do see what you mean. That should all change now though.
     
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  36. CrazyJoeDavola57

    CrazyJoeDavola57 Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2010 Massachusetts

    Mediocre beer at best, bought by a mediocre company. Should be a huge improvement.
     
    Prep8611, NeroFiddled and braineater like this.
  37. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Devotee (437) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    I don't imaging much would change, really. Same recipes, just brewed at a different facility. Would you agree?
     
  38. zid

    zid Champion (839) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    Not me. I HATE honesty.
     
  39. flaskman

    flaskman Aspirant (262) Aug 3, 2015 New York

    I am a HUGE Clown Shoes fan. I hope that they keep cranking out their creative and excellent beers. Their barrel aged stouts are among my favorites.
     
  40. Hoppedelic

    Hoppedelic Aspirant (225) Dec 6, 2010 California
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    What I meant was the beer will probably be brewed by employees of the company now that they're acquired by Harpoon, no more contract brewing. But yes I agree the beer will stay the same.
     
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.