News John Laffler is leaving Goose Island to start Off Color Brewing

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by jdhende, Nov 27, 2012.

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  1. foobula

    foobula Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2009 Illinois

    Not to mention the Fulton & Wood series. BTW, is that over now? Seems like it's been a couple of months since Casimir hit with no word of the next creation
  2. danimalarkey

    danimalarkey Initiate (0) Mar 3, 2008 Illinois

    Source? Did they ever get back to via social media with numbers?
  3. MarkIntihar

    MarkIntihar Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2010 Michigan

    Cherry has never been released before, so 10 X 0 = 0...

    As for Coffee, when I was back this weekend it didn't seem like there was any shortage of it, even though stores were still doing only 1 bottle per person.
  4. mdomask

    mdomask Aspirant (273) May 27, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Perhaps some of us have observed similar transitions in other industries and are more reasoned in our concern.

    If AB knows one thing about brewing, it's making a consistent product day in/day out. Assume that 2012 BCBS becomes the gold standard for production. They'll likely be able to replicate it without too much issue. The sours are less certain, since they have a more "when they're ready" feeling.

    Here are the potential risks to GI, as I see them:
    • Morale slump
    • Additional turnover
    • Less freedom for experiments
    • "Good enough" culture (vs. a culture of excellence)
    None of these are specific to the Halls or Laffler, although those fears may have played a part in their decisions. More likely, InBev was one factor among many, with a desire to do something new the biggest factor.
    So, yes, a high-profile departure makes me concerned. I just don't sing the doom and gloom song without good reason.
    danimalarkey likes this.
  5. MarkIntihar

    MarkIntihar Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2010 Michigan

    I dunno, but I got to try Casimir at Bavarian Lodge and I thought it was excellent.
  6. Steimie

    Steimie Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2012 Michigan

    Yep. This is why I just went down to Walgreen's and grabbed a 4pk of KBS.

    Sorry, but that's not how all great craft brewers do it. Would it be nice if they did? Maybe. But they don't. It appears GI did quite a bit to get more BCBS and variants to Chicago this year, but I'm not sure they could ever saturate that market with those products.
    FTowne and MarkIntihar like this.
  7. WillCarrera

    WillCarrera Initiate (0) Oct 11, 2010 Ohio

    What about Cantillon, who ships a huge bulk of what they make outside of Belgium, or the Bruery or Deschutes who ship a lot of their limited stuff across the country? You're just holding GI to a different standard and being all pissy cause you wanted more Cherry Rye to yourself.
    FTowne and MarkIntihar like this.
  8. MarkIntihar

    MarkIntihar Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2010 Michigan

    C'mon man, he said "great" craft brewers :rolling_eyes:
  9. Bay01

    Bay01 Aspirant (278) Nov 19, 2008 Illinois

    They better not kill it before Two More Weeks gets released
  10. BreakingBad

    BreakingBad Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012

    I disagree with your logic. If you want a reference look at bramble last year. There was an extreme shortage of cherry. Yet they ship it out all across the country. They need to learn that limited beers like this should go to their hometown first then ship out. That's how all the great craft Brewers do it, and how it should be done. It's not about making more. It's about allocating what they made correctly. If people outside IL want cherry they should have to come to Chicago like people go to surly for darkness or FFF for DL. That's just my opinion though.
  11. BreakingBad

    BreakingBad Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012

    Cantillion is very easily available in Belgium. Its scares here across the ocean. How it should be.
  12. BreakingBad

    BreakingBad Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012

    No need to be caty man. Still don't know why u got a vendetta against me.
  13. MarkIntihar

    MarkIntihar Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2010 Michigan

    So they should just tell their other accounts that they've spent years building relationships with to fuck off? Goose Island is on a completely different scale than FFF and Surly, so those are bad examples. FFF and Surly predominantly supply one urban area each, which is why they can get away with keeping it all at home.
    FTowne, crushedvol and harrylee773 like this.
  14. WillCarrera

    WillCarrera Initiate (0) Oct 11, 2010 Ohio

    Not their limited stuff, they're shipping probably >80% of Zwanze outside the country, and the US got a huge portion of Foune this year.

    Has anyone else here seen Groundhog Day? Ok campers, rise and shine...
    Good_Trader likes this.
  15. Steimie

    Steimie Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2012 Michigan

    Again, and I really can't stress this enough, this is NOT "how all the great craft brewers do it." That just simply isn't true.
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,933) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “If AB knows one thing about brewing, it's making a consistent product day in/day out.”

    That may certainly have been true of AB when it was just AB. Now that we have an entity called AB-InBev it appears things are different? Below is what I posted in another thread:

    “I'm still confused as to why AB-InBev will absolutely positively 100% for sure ruin Goose Island.” I am not 100% sure that AB-InBev will ‘ruin’ Goose Island and I genuinely hope that they don’t.

    “And margins be damned you can't mess with the taste, because as soon as it tastes bad I'll stop recommending it.” Well, reducing margins is unfortunately a genuine concern. There is recent history that AB-InBev did this with Beck’s (which is now brewed in St. Louis). They have also taken other steps to reduce costs in their beer making. I posted this previously:

    It all jibes with Anheuser-Busch's intense and aggressive focus on profit at all costs. Here are some of the moves made by CEO Carlos Brito to shore up profits, according to Bloomberg Businesweek:
    Shifted the brewing of Beck's from Germany to St. Louis, alienating fans who said the taste was weakened.
    •Laid off 1,400 people, or 6% of its American workers.
    •Sold the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks.
    •Made its labels smaller, the glass in its bottles thinner and cardboard packaging weaker.
    Used broken rice instead of whole grains in its beer, something previous management would not do.
    •Cut the number of employee BlackBerry phones and told execs to start flying commercial.
    Cut purchases of high-quality hops, like those from Germany's Hallertau region, in favor of cheaper hops.

    Above is from:

    Let’s all hope that AB-InBev does not make the same ‘mistakes’ like they did with Beck’s recently but it would be imprudent to just think that Goose Island is different and the quality of Goose Island beers is of upmost importance to AB-InBev vs. maximizing profits.

    GeezLynn likes this.
  17. BreakingBad

    BreakingBad Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012

    Alright i didn't know that. I will take your word
  18. immobilisme

    immobilisme Aspirant (231) Nov 8, 2005 Illinois

    From the Sun-Times article: 'an upcoming beer Laffler has tentatively titled “I Think That Stripper Really Liked Me.”'

    Too much time hanging out with Jeppe from Evil Twin?
    Etan, mattizmyname and BreakingBad like this.
  19. Crusader

    Crusader Initiate (190) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    If they had any sense they'd use the cache that the brand has acquired up until now whilst expanding their sales and market penetration, then at a later stage once the market share is large enough to their liking they can start to tinker with ingredients and the production to get better margins out of the now increased volumes. I think they will give it a few years at least to build a stronger base which wont be affected by fickle craft beer enthusiasts before they start to alter the product, something which will undoubtedly ruin the cache and pricing power of the brand. So basically for now things might be alright, but down the line one might start to worry. With this minute brands time has to be considered an investment in itself.
  20. danimalarkey

    danimalarkey Initiate (0) Mar 3, 2008 Illinois

    And I hope the labels turn out to be just sharpie doodles from Laffler -- I'd like to see what the label would like for that beer.

    As for any hard feelings, let's all just remember -- Bro, it's just Beer, so let's just Chill out.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,933) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I hope that you are right and that AB-InBev practices some “sense” with respect to Goose Island.

    If recent AB-InBev history is indicative of how things will go with Goose Island then my understanding of AB-InBev and the CEO Carlos Brito is that “sense” means cents; as in reduce margins now and increase profits now.

    The fact that AB-InBev put Andy Goeler in charge of Goose Island does not give me a warm feeling that things will stay status quo at Goose Island. Below is something I posted in another thread concerning Andy Goeler:

    “I am not surprised that John Hall and Tony Bowker have been ‘displaced’ from Goose Island. The disappointing news is that they named Andy Goeler to be President and CEO of Goose Island. Within the press release they mention:

    “Andy has led the growth of Shock Top from its infancy, while taking established global brands, such as Stella Artois and Beck’s, and bringing them to new levels in the United States, carefully maintaining a consistent, quality brand position.”

    There has been much discussion on other BA threads that the Beck’s that is being brewed now in the US is a shell of its former self primarily due to cheapening of the brewing process. Is this Andy’s ‘claim to fame’?

    Very disappointing news indeed.”

    Crusader likes this.
  22. Etan

    Etan Initiate (0) Jul 11, 2011 Wisconsin

    It depends on whether or not the changes that are happening there now will deter good brewers (i.e. creative brewers). I'm saying that's a possibility, and if that happens the quality of the beer will change, or at least there won't be any more innovation. But I don't think that's a certain possibility.
  23. Corbet

    Corbet Initiate (164) Nov 7, 2010 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I agree with you somewhat, but do you really think distributors enjoy only getting less than 10 cases of BCBS variants for 300+ accounts? Why even bother at that point?
    BreakingBad likes this.
  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,933) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It sounds like some Goose Island wholesale distributors got ‘creative’ with BCBS by getting retailers to purchase some ‘old’ Goose Island IPA. Below is something I posted in another thread:

    “How about the case where it has been reported that the Goose Island distributors required retailers to purchase ‘old’ Goose Island IPA in order to obtain BCBS?

    “boblinneman said: ↑
    The retail distributers are being forced to purchase 21 cases of goose island IPA in order to get 2 cases of bourbon county. I ordered a case and will be paying 130 plus tax when it comes in.

    The Goose Island IPA that I have seen recently is bottled on May. Thats a lot of old IPA. When GI first hit our distro I was going to pick up a case of their IPA but was disapointed that it was over two months old by the time it reached the shelf. Its priced to move but destined to fail.”

    Above is from:

    BreakingBad likes this.
  25. Crusader

    Crusader Initiate (190) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I think the brands mentioned in the article are examples of what I see as their strategy though, once they own an established brand with an established and rather large consumer base then it makes sense to dry and push the margins by cheapening production costs and skimping on ingredients. But when you have a brand such as Goose Island which inbetween all of its own brands doesn't make up half of one percent of the US beer market, then from an ABInbev perspective it's really small potatoes. What they probably, in my estimation, want to do is to increase the volumes of the GI brand to where it approaches one of their other brands, yet retain the type of margins that GI's specialty beers and craft beer in general commands. In order to maintain those margins whilst upping the volumes, taking into consideration the mouth to mouth cache of craft beer in comparison to the mass-media advertising base of brands such as Bud and Bud light, I think it makes sense to expect the type of strategy that I outlined above.

    They have in their hands a high margin product that has yet to go national, and by their actions it appears as though their intent is to at least distribute it nationally. This will give it a more solid footing, larger volumes and hopefully a broader and more stable purchasing patterns. If they accomplish this then I would expect some sort of tinkering to take place, but not before that. They bought into the super premium market, but not the super premium market backed by centuries worth of heritage and branding, but a modern brand of tiny volumes. To extract as much value out of their investment as possible they will need time and patience.

    With Becks they already had an established brand with an established audience, all they needed to do was to prod their consumer and test the limits of their patience. With Goose Island the audience is much smaller at this stage and prodding them at this point might ruin the future prospects of the brand. I think they will treat the brand with care, up to a point, attempting to combine high margins with incrementally higher volume.
    Reinbeck11 likes this.
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,933) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I sincerely hope that you are correct in your estimation.

    I truly do not want Goose Island to go the way of Beck’s and other cheapening steps that AB-InBev has taken recently. The fact that Andy Goeler’s track record is not along the strategy that you are articulating personally makes me nervous.

    I would genuinely feel more comfortable if Crusader was the President and CEO of Goose Island vs. Andy Goeler.

    Crusader likes this.
  27. Reinbeck11

    Reinbeck11 Aspirant (273) Aug 15, 2012 Iowa

    I'll go back to what I said 3 pages ago. You get ahead at large corp. by increasing effieciency, lowering cost, increasing sales. Using those 3 things to maximize profits within the area you run is what gets you ahead.

    Now, where you get lost is thinking that you must maintain quality and consistancy, what you forget is that you only have to keep quality and consistancy long enough for you to get promoted to the next big thing.

    For instance if you make the choice to move brewing of Becks to the US, saves AB-inbev xxxx.xx amount of dollars, takes a year or so for customers to realize that Becks doesn't taste the same, sales drop. So what, you've already been promoted to run Goose Island because of your ability to maximize profit by increasing efficeincy. The sales drop is the next guys problem........

    This is why mega corp struggles with high quality product production, where as small scale brewery/producer has much more of a vested interest in quality its their life and every product matters.

    Mega Corp doesn't have to maintain every item it sells as the best thing ever it just has to have good things as part of its profit porfolio. ie... maintain your standbys as best you can while you create new things or just buy up the next best thing. Oh and that next best thing only has to be that until you have the next "next best thing".
    BreakingBad likes this.
  28. Crusader

    Crusader Initiate (190) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    To an extent one can claim that they already have resorted to a cheapening of their production of Goose Island beers since they have began producing some of their mainstream brands in ABInbev breweries and as far as I know are planning to move, or have already moved, parts of their barreling program to ABInbev facilities. The increased scale on its own should result in lower production costs per barrel or what have you. But I still think they will maintain the quality of the beers in ingredients selection and taste.

    The fact that Andy Goeler comes from a background of marketing rather than brewing doesn't surprise me. Big businesses like to treat marketing as if it was a science rather than an art, since if it was an art they'd have to resort to gambling and luck. So marketing is seen as a vital means of increasing sales and so a person with alot of experience is marketing new brands will be seen as having clout in marketing other brands for a company. Since the goal of ABInbev in relation to GI is to grow the brand in volume and value it makes sense that they focus on the marketing aspect of the brand, since what they have appears to be a brand that people like and respect, yet has a small national imprint at this stage. Rising above the other craft brew labels and brands is their next big goal, and to do that they wont, and can't, rely solely on the quality of the beer itself, they'll also have to resort to branding and marketing.

    Having experience in running a marketing campaign for a large brand should come in handy in this phase and thus the choice of Andy Goeler makes sense, from their point of view. They got the beer, they just need someone to focus on selling it for them. If he doesn't succeed then someone else will take his place.
  29. Crusader

    Crusader Initiate (190) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    You'd have to be pretty lucky to be able to get out of a position, and be promoted, before the product that you're supposed to promote starts to tank. I don't think marketing is that kind to people who don't deliver on expectations.
  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,933) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I wish I could think otherwise but I agree with what you are stating.

    I have a very bad feeling about Andy Goeler being President and CEO of Goose Island.:slight_frown:
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,933) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “But I still think they will maintain the quality of the beers in ingredients selection and taste.” I sincerely hope that you are correct.

    My concern is that AB-InBev will cheapen the Goose Island beers that they will be making at AB breweries. In this way they will maximize their profits beyond just profits from economy of scale cost reductions. If Andy could ‘show’ the AB-InBev folks that he can increase profits both ways (reducing production costs from more efficient brewing t AB breweries and reduce costs through cheaper ingredients and process) he will look ‘double good’ to his bosses.

    The ‘core values’ of AB-InBev is to maximize profits in the short term (next quarter) and not to make quality beer in the short term or maximize profits 1-2 years from now.

    Again, I really hope that you are right and I am wrong.

    Crusader likes this.
  32. Crusader

    Crusader Initiate (190) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I think a company such as ABInbev is capable of having both longer term and shorter term objectives, as does other major brewing companies as well as smaller craft breweries. Just as giving away cans of AB branded cans of water during natural disasters wont show up in short term profit statements, so do investments in tiny low volume brands not show up in these profit statements. The larger the investment, the sooner the investment has to pay off and the bigger the profit has to be. But with a minor investment such as Goose Island, the investment is minute, the volumes are minute, yet the margins are large and the brand cache is large.

    I thus think, and I might very well be proven wrong, that ABInbev are going to pursue higher volumes not by compromising flavor or ingredients for these brands but by growing distribution and upholding their reputation of quality. The reputation of quality is how they get the increased margins after all. At present it's not the margins that are the problem, the margins are better than any that Bud Light or Miller or Coors light can deliver. What they need are volumes. ´Higher volumes of the same high quality beer that people gladly shell out for year after year.
    sidetracked likes this.
  33. MarkIntihar

    MarkIntihar Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2010 Michigan

    I doubt that they do, but it's still better than getting shut out. I'm not arguing that Goose isn't spreading themselves too thin, but rather that it is absurd to think that they should saturate the Chicago market before sending anything limited anywhere else.
  34. BreakingBad

    BreakingBad Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012

    They tried to pull that shit on my local guy. He told them to go fuck themselves. Now Laffler quit goose, karma man. I told him Laffler quit today and he was pretty pleased. What goes around, comes around.
  35. Keffa

    Keffa Defender (634) Jan 8, 2009 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    What barrels were the Liver and Kidney aged in? Without that, I don't know whether I'll make that trade or not...
    ravot and stayclean like this.
  36. powz87

    powz87 Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2012 Illinois

    did either of you two get cherry rye from hyvee?
  37. ChadQuest

    ChadQuest Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2009 Illinois

    I got zero bottles of Cherry Rye. I thought i would find one somewhere, but zero for me.

    I heard Hyvee got theirs last week and it sold out in sub-2 hours.

    If anyone in the DKB/SYC knows anything..........
  38. BreakingBad

    BreakingBad Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012

    yeah, I was at thanks giving break. Lundeen's got theirs early too. Binny's st charles got cherry monday. I was talking to my guy and he was saying that distro still has 20 cases they are just trying to sell as much of there other stock before they even give a store a single case. Jon said he had to threaten to pull goose of the shelves to get that 1 case of cherry.
  39. BreakingBad

    BreakingBad Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012

    hyvee by far has the best prices in town
  40. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Devotee (490) Jan 2, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Oh man, I threw up when I red the part in bold.
    BreakingBad likes this.
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