Has Ballast Point's quality changed post-sellout?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by frkonalsh2003, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. frkonalsh2003

    frkonalsh2003 Initiate (139) Dec 26, 2016 California

    Is there a difference in quality from before the company was sold to Corona and after? I really enjoyed The Commodore and was looking forward to Victory at Sea and the Sculpins. I heard from some fans of BP that the quality really dropped. If its true then its a damn shame but this is what happens when big beer takes over.
  2. BethanyB

    BethanyB Zealot (569) Jun 20, 2013 New York

    I haven't noticed a change. I recently had a Red Velvet which tasted somewhat watery, but it was my first time trying that particular beer by them, and I admittedly didn't check the bottled by date.

    To be more specific, I've recently purchased several of their beers since then including Commodore and Victory at Sea, and have found them just as enjoyable.
    #2 BethanyB, Mar 19, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2017
  3. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (1,525) Aug 12, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    I've said it numerous times & I'm sick of the palate shift rhetoric. As someone who drinks primarily IPA, I can assure you that the stalwarts have stayed the course. I used to be blown away by Sculpin. It was one of those rare "wow" beers. I WILL NOT ever touch that beer again.
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  4. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,339) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    The beer is brewed by the same people. Why would quality change just because of who owns them it tastes the same to me before and after.
  5. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,409) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    The folks who purchased Ballast Point were Constellation Brands who also own Corona in the US.

    The thing to watch out for in those reports you've been hearing is that some folks automatically assume or think that there will be or has been a decrease in quality when a craft brewer sells some or all of it's business to a larger company. So far that hasn't been proven true since the reason those companies bought the brewery in the first place is to compete successfully in the craft beer market, not to destory the brand they just spent big bucks to acquire. There are folks who choose not to buy such brands based on some principle or another, but as I said, the new owners didn't pony up big bucks to kill off the brand by decreasing quality.

    I personally have not noticed any quality change in the occasional beers I've had from BP or in any of the occasional beers I buy from the brands acquired by ABInBev or Duvel Moortgat. In fact I'd say the quality of the Brands owned by Duvel Moortgat (Duvel, Ommegang, Boulevard, Firestone Walker) has definitely remained the same or even gone up. Also their distribution is much better so they are easier to find. Similarly Lagunitas and Founders don't seem to have lost any of their appeal either and Anchor still makes high quality beers which I continue to enjoy every bit as much as I did when they were new to me. (When I can decipher the date code closely enough to know I'm buying it fresh. :-))
    #5 drtth, Mar 19, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  6. Hoppedelic

    Hoppedelic Devotee (407) Dec 6, 2010 California
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Not really, after the sale the head brewer quit along with the CEO, co founder and general counsel.
  7. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (580) Mar 28, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Ballast point was one if the breweries I drank a lot years ago, and continue to drink today, however, not as much. I haven't noticed a drop off.

    To me it's more a big beer/sell out mindset that if a beer isn't as good as expected or how they remember its big beer's fault.

    I would ask those people how often they drank said beers and how they differ.
    ianous, TheBirdSanc and DrumKid003 like this.
  8. rather

    rather Aspirant (262) May 31, 2013 California

    Quality is still good but gimicky flavor additions are way up.
    Victory at seas is a staple in 6 packs whenever i fancy a nice stout. I'll try anything they put out but none of their other beers are regular purchases.
    sharpski and woodchipper like this.
  9. PA-Michigander

    PA-Michigander Meyvn (1,441) Nov 10, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Hard to say, their prices make it hard to purchase anything here to compare to when I didn't buy their stuff pre-sellout.
    tanis38 likes this.
  10. peteboiler

    peteboiler Initiate (181) Dec 16, 2010 Florida

    I still drink Ballast Point (though not often due to $) and Lagunitas, both of which were sold to other companies. I am not getting into that, however. I will say that I think those that have noticed a dip in quality have every right to their opinion, but I have not noticed any such thing. The beers are still amazing, and stayed true to what they were...
  11. woodchipper

    woodchipper Savant (950) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut
    Premium Member

    I was really into Sculpin for awhile and the Grapefruit was a phenomenal invention. I have not had it in memory since the buyout, but this is not a conscious thing on my part, just too many other things to try.
    This thread has got me thinking I should have it again and make a judgement. I agree with people that have weighed in and said Constellation did not buy this to decrease quality in search of profit. On the other hand I think they have exploited the IPA adjunct idea to a point where they have lost some respect. What's next, banana IPA?
  12. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (344) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia
    Beer Trader

    Never really thought BP was that great, seems exactly the same as before to me.

    I like Sculpin on draft if there's limited options, but there's no reason the 6pks need to be $15 and up, I never buy those. I saw the Sculpin variety 12pk at Wegmans the other say and it as like $28.99, even worse! VaS is the only other beer they have that's "good" but it too is very pricey for what you get. I haven't bought any of the new junk they've put out with tons of adjuncts, no interest in those at all.

    I haven't head anyone saying the quality has gone up or down, I see tons of it at every retailer, and I imagine OOD issues will come along soon enough as they flood the market with stuff that isn't selling.
  13. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (2,382) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    There are numerous references of Victory at Sea being bitter, and charred this year. I'm not saying it's a function of the buy-out, as the beer I had was just post buy-out.

    I did lose some face with co-workers after recommending the robust, resoundingly great Victory at Sea from a year ago, only to get comments back that it was one of the worst porters they've ever had. So I'll blame that on the buy-out.
  14. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Initiate (197) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    BP was never really that good and their prices were outrageous.
    flaskman likes this.
  15. VitisVinifera

    VitisVinifera Initiate (94) Feb 25, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    Victory At Sea has remained very tasty. I'm happy that this is now easy to get and totally delish.
    ianous and Bitterbill like this.
  16. mambossa

    mambossa Initiate (191) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I still buy VAS and its variants, but as for the IPAs, I haven't touched them in a while. Mainly because the best-by dates on the bottom hardly make any sense most times. I'm pretty sure they're just batch codes (correct me if I'm wrong). I miss gettin fresh Grunion :/
  17. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Disciple (301) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico
    Beer Trader

    As of last month, they were simply julian dated with the year first and day after

    17030 would be 2017 january 30th. 16365 would be December 31st 2016.

    Sadly I saw like 6 month old GF Sculpin just recently. As of last month, I finally saw some 2017 dated GF Sculpin. It seems to be similar to what I fell in love with (I was trading for GF Sculpin constantly). Right before they got bought out, they made their way to my state. I was seeing 7 day old GF Sculpin constantly and drank tons of it. its tough now to get a true comparison of pre buyout vs. post buy out since it never seems so fresh
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  18. i_run_far

    i_run_far Initiate (69) Aug 11, 2016 District of Columbia
    Beer Trader

    This and it seems like I they have quadrupled their production. I can get Sculpin just about everywhere that sells craft beer, a few years ago it was only select stores and in limited quantities.
  19. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Poo-Bah (1,520) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Tastes the same to me. Grapefruit Sculpin has always been and continues to be one of my favorites.
  20. mambossa

    mambossa Initiate (191) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Thank you for the clarification!
  21. babaracas

    babaracas Poo-Bah (1,875) Jan 30, 2008 Florida

    Regular Sculpin is always out of code, regular VAS doesn't even see shelves here. But 3 nasty extract-flavored variants of each, plus some new gimmicky beers are always sitting there using their newly-deepened pockets to take shelf space from better beer.

    Don't care whether individual beers are same quality or not, Ballast Point's beer karma has plummeted.
  22. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Poo-Bah (1,690) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Premium Member

    YES, I honestly can't remember the last time I saw bottles with less than 10+ weeks on them at the store. I'd happily snatch them up if <4 weeks.
    jrnyc likes this.
  23. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,148) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I think sculpin was over rated to begin with. Now it's craft beer's version of the blank-a-rita.
    flaskman likes this.
  24. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Poo-Bah (1,690) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Premium Member

    Can't comment on its quality and freshness once out of CA, but I (when fresh) found it to be definitely worthy of it's rating/hype. TETO.
    TrojanRB likes this.
  25. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,148) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    It took a long time to show up in CO. Maybe it was all the hype behind it helping build it up in my mind.
    jakecattleco likes this.
  26. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (341) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    Everybody will have a different opinion. I feel like victory at sea is a bit lest roasty. Then again, I feel like bourbon county is nowhere near as complex and many disagree with me.
  27. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,409) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Reports out of CA at about the time of the sale indicate that trend was already in practice at the brewpub before the sale so indications are that BP themselves had already begun testing out locally with those flavor additions and what's actually new is being able to bottle them for distribution.
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  28. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,409) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    FYI, only about half of Lagunitas was sold to Heineken, with control of Lagunitas brands remaining under the control of the original owners.
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  29. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,409) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    That was already happening at the BP brewpub before the purchase.
    Prince_Casual likes this.
  30. pat61

    pat61 Poo-Bah (4,769) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota
    Premium Member

    I still drink their stuff and i can't tell any difference in quality other than the number of IPAs with junk added to them. I don't drink as much of their beer as i used to because of the explosion of choices. New local and regional brewers pop up every day and local distributors are bringing in more brands. Perhaps the perceived diminishing of quality has to do with more competition for new breweries.
    jrnyc, Ranbot and drtth like this.
  31. BrewsOverHoes

    BrewsOverHoes Defender (622) Nov 17, 2013 Georgia
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    I've had Sculpin(reg) a few times on tap lately and it has been some of the best I've had in recent memory. Don't usually reach for their beers much anymore oddly.

    (Un)fortunately being in Atlanta, there is so many IPAs available ( especially Trop for like $11 and Scofflaws offerings) Sculpin @ $16 a six pack for either version usually are shelf turds. So no telling how old those are. It's always slam full when I go by the bottle shop, so either it's moving or sitting. I think the latter however.

    I'm still fighting to not try Watermelon Dorado. I refuse!
    VABA likes this.
  32. MjBrewhouse

    MjBrewhouse Defender (665) Mar 25, 2014 Idaho
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    For me Sculpin used to be the benchmark IPA by which I measured all other IPA's. Not sure if its me but Sculpin just does not measure up now and to be honest I think it is still very similar to how it tasted when I first tried it. Now there are so many great IPA's around and I never see it fresh on the shelves around here so I just move along.
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  33. beerwolf

    beerwolf Initiate (23) Feb 23, 2012 Washington

    I recently got a (fresh) sixtel of Sculpin based on my memory of having it in a six pack some time ago. It was the most mediocre IPA I think I've ever had.
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  34. thuey

    thuey Aspirant (260) Nov 13, 2015 California

    Ballast Point still drinks blah to me.
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  35. tillmac62

    tillmac62 Poo-Bah (1,504) Oct 2, 2013 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    No change whatsoever.
  36. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,761) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Sculpin was kinda benchmark for me. Until others came out that I enjoyed more and were at a much lower price. Why are they still at the +$13 mark for a 6-pack and $8 for a draught glass? ? I am only willing to pay that for Victory at Sea.
    tillmac62 likes this.
  37. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,482) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Same quality to my taste.

    I'm not sure if it is related to the buyout but it has been easier to buy very fresh Sculpin in the last year compared to several years ago. By that I'm talking about anything that is just a few weeks from bottle date.
    Prep8611 likes this.
  38. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Poo-Bah (1,690) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Premium Member

    Continue your fight.
    BrewsOverHoes likes this.
  39. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,526) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I'm not so sure about the palate shift myself, although I've used that term before. I can only speak for myself, but I believe my exposure to some truly great IPAs over the years has left me jaded a bit. After drinking Hill Farmstead, Alchemist, Trillium etc as an example back tracking to perfectly good IPAs just doesn't interist me. I'd rather drink an AAL over a middling IPA, and for years all I bought was IPAs. There's a glut of IPAs on the market, a good many are old and stale. Strictly a personal thing, but I don't care for any Ballast Point hoppy beer, I don't like them at all.
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  40. Kadonny

    Kadonny Meyvn (1,259) Sep 5, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Agreed, my first sip of it was "wow, this is really not bad" my final sips of the can were "damn this beer is a mess".