Rebel IPA vs Lagunitas?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Starkbier, Dec 31, 2013.

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  1. Starkbier

    Starkbier Initiate (0) Sep 19, 2002 Maryland

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  2. socon67

    socon67 Grand Pooh-Bah (3,611) Jun 18, 2010 New York
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    I can get where Lagunitas would see a large craft brewery making a west coast IPA as something that would eat into their sales. But unless I'm missing something beyond this feed, where is BBC "specifically targeting" any brewery? I don't think of Lagunitas as the poster child for the style. In fact, the first ones that come to mind that have large distribution is Stone and Ballast Point. Breweries shouldn't mind the big guys trying their hand at many styles.
     
  3. jesskidden

    jesskidden Grand Pooh-Bah (3,071) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    As Tony noted in a Tweet about half way down the BeerPulse thread, BBC reps supposedly admitted it to (or, maybe, "requested it of") their wholesalers which also distribute Langunitas beers.
     
  4. core42

    core42 Pooh-Bah (1,826) May 5, 2010 Michigan
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    This tweet from Tony @Lagunitas sums up why he is pissed:
    "Here we go- BB specifically told our distribs in common that they were going t TAKE r tap handles everywhere they could."

    Tony sees this as a personal attack on his children (the brewery) which is why he is so pissed
     
  5. tbaker397

    tbaker397 Initiate (0) Nov 9, 2013 West Virginia

    Ever brewery who makes a west coast ipa tries to take taps from other breweries. sure there may have been mention of lag to a specific distributor but what if lag is the only craft beer that distributor carried? Small chance I know but every time a new brewery makes a beer In a different style of course they want a to take the competitors tap handles
     
  6. socon67

    socon67 Grand Pooh-Bah (3,611) Jun 18, 2010 New York
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    As opposed to Stone IPA, which is a similar beer with at least as large a distribution? If Tony is hearing feedback from his distributors that BBC is specifically asking their sales reps to replace Lagunitas IPA kegs with Rebel he is certainly justified in being angry. And if its being done with free keg deliveries as an incentive that's an even bolder step. But the idea of one company bringing a product to market and asking their channels to get it placed where it can sell is not new. If the distributor does supply both BBC and Lagunitas and has one tap handle allocated to a west coast IPA they will have a decision to make. If a craft bar has customers who like Lagunitas IPA I'm doubting that keg gets switched out.
     
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  7. AnalogErik

    AnalogErik Initiate (0) Jul 23, 2013 Minnesota

    Eh, Rebel IPA isn't much of a threat.
     
  8. JrGtr

    JrGtr Pooh-Bah (1,689) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts
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    First, we really don't need MORE people looking for Heady, Pliny and so on - there's little enough of it out there as it is. :slight_smile:

    Regarding the issue at hand, we really don't know exactly what was said to whom, when.
    In anything I've ever heard and read about BBC (Sam Adams, Jim Koch) they wouldn't specifically target any one brewer. Maybe someone in their marketing department went off-reservation, maybe it was the distributor, maybe it's all a misunderstanding. I would like to hear form BBC about the issue.
    I do see as them wanting as many SA handles as possible, that's what they're in business for; to sell as much beer as possible. However, I don't often see SA beer in the hardcore beer bars, they're often in the chain restaurants and non-beer geek bars.
    I did have a chance to try the Rebel on tap the other day, and it is good. Not a world class IPA, not a mega-hop-bomb, but a solid, well balanced brew. I would have no problem drinking it regularly.
     
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  9. jmmy3

    jmmy3 Initiate (0) Nov 30, 2010 Massachusetts

    While reading through that tantrum, I kept thinking 'Man, I should not be buying this nutcase's beer.' None of us know if this dude's information is accurate or not, but even if it is, someone needs to muzzle that idiot before he turns alot of people off from his brewery.
     
  10. sefus12

    sefus12 Pundit (884) Sep 7, 2006 Massachusetts
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    I believe any brewery that makes an IPA wants to take business from other IPAs. From what I'm reading, the Lagunitas folk/folks seem to be a bit whiny about the whole thing. And from what I've read about Koch in the past, he/BBC has been more than helpful to other small breweries.

    And who the hell cares if some sales rep for BBC said they want to take tap space away from other WCIPAs? That's the point of making the Rebel IPA in the first place, to get market share. And deep down I'd be willing to bet that Lagunitas has/had the same idea when making their beers also, even if someone in their company didn't say so.

    With that said, Lagunitas IPA isn't exactly world-class and when they hit markets in KY here soon, I'll be less inclined to buy it. I tend to avoid supporting drama-queens when possible.
     
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  11. shand

    shand Pooh-Bah (2,166) Jul 13, 2010 Florida
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    If anything, Tony's openness on Twitter has led me to pick up Lagunitas a little more often.
     
  12. OneDropSoup

    OneDropSoup Pooh-Bah (2,213) Dec 9, 2008 Pennsylvania
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    I hear that. Whether I agree with him or not, Tony always piques my interest. He's articulate, smart, & frequently contrarian. Lagunitas has become one of my favorite breweries, & part of that is how fascinating I find the personality behind it.
     
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  13. shand

    shand Pooh-Bah (2,166) Jul 13, 2010 Florida
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    I really like that you can read the bottle labels and the tweets and tell that they came from the same person, as opposed to some hidden marketing exec trying to maximize sales with the right buzzwords.
     
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  14. jmmy3

    jmmy3 Initiate (0) Nov 30, 2010 Massachusetts

    It's kind of hard for anyone to sound articulate on Twitter, with the broken and abbreviated text. He comes off as a screaming child in my opinion. It's one thing for him to be a colorful character, but he comes off as more of a prick than anything else in those tweets, angry that a bigger brewery would dare make a West Coast IPA because he totally invented the West Coast IPA. Oh wait...
     
  15. jmmy3

    jmmy3 Initiate (0) Nov 30, 2010 Massachusetts

    I also picked up on a knock on BB or sorts for not 'searching for new and undiscovered flavors' or however he put it. This is coming from a dude who basically only makes IPAs, which I find interesting. Not saying I have a problem with that, but he can't exactly knock them for something he's not doing himself either.
     
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  16. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Pooh-Bah (1,912) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois
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    Maybe not, but a company that has people who are interested in how this performs would be
     
  17. Starkbier

    Starkbier Initiate (0) Sep 19, 2002 Maryland

    What's happening here is Tony put out the capital to have huge capacity to brew a whole lot of Lag IPA, plus however much of Sucks and the other nice hoppy beer he makes. Now that's getting into SAMs size, even though Sierra is more a direct target. I was also surprised when Tony made comments about SN and Torpedo but this seems to be both his frankness and personality I gather. If I'm Tony, I'd sit back more and gander at those nice big shiny Rolec brew kettles and smile, smile, smile. Or start making teas and ciders!
     
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  18. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Pooh-Bah (2,523) Mar 28, 2009 California
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Mmmmmm Sucks, Maximus, IPA, little sumpin, brown shugga, undercover, cap stout. Pretty sure I won't be buying Rebel IPA anytime soon.
     
  19. DogTown

    DogTown Initiate (0) May 17, 2006 California

    Greetings and Happy New Year Advocates!

    Google Alerts always pings me just before somebody calls me a whiny assed bitch sooner or later, and in this case being a screaming child and a prick was good enough...

    Here's the way I see the scenario: This particular thing is really more about Craft brew marketing and it's future than it is about me or Lagunitas... One of our largest distributors (in fact ABI's 3rd largest) on the east coast was told directly by Jim's senior-enough marketing people (they sell both of our brands) that the roll-out of their IPA was going to target our draught IPA business for replacement. This 'program' would roll westward over time. Some here said that 'everybody does this'.

    That's not true.

    A perfect example was how Torpedo and Ranger went to market to be alongside other IPA's... and then you, the beer lover, could decide which stays and which goes, if either. THAT is very constructive and makes us all amp up our game. Targeting for replacement is precisely what ABI/MC/Etc do when they go to market. The thinking being that that retailer will sell whatever is on tap and NOT SELL things that are not on tap. This approach sees beer as a commodity, which it sort'a used to be, before Craft.

    About 6 months ago BeerMarketersInsight (an very well-read industry newsletter 50 years old) reported that BB was buying cases and kegs of our IPA, specifically ours, on the east coast, for recipe emulation and taste panel testing. That is flattering.

    Skip forward to today, upon hearing this plan presented to them our east coast distributor's senior management sent a letter to their people rejecting BB's plan and saying that they would instead buttress our business and prevent this from happening. They were actually angry about it. This IS something new.

    Some have said what a generous fella it is that leads BB. They are a marketing machine first and foremost. You have to recall that they didn't see any reason to even own a brewing kettle until recent years and only when their un-owned capacity threatened to dry up on them. They have sold hops to small breweries during the shortage but they were absolutely hops that they were over-contracted on. This was not so much to 'help' small brewers as it was to buy your love, and maybe it worked. You might call me cynical, and maybe I am, but perfect paranoia is often perfect awareness. As the owner of the brewery, this is my job; defense of the Planet of Lagunitas.

    The idea that BB helps little guys is pretty over-stated marketing material. They are not evil, they are not un-cool because of size (if they are un-cool at all), but they want to remain at the very top of the Craft pyramid (who can blame them) and they now feel they need to get a leash on the IPA channel. Come put a hook in the pond right next us, I say, but they can not have my seat along the shore, and that is what the market plan called for. Why Lagunitas? You'd have to ask them.

    Most of you probably were not into craft beer in the late 1990's, but in San Francisco where we were just being born, BB gave away nearly as much beer as they sold. That is not legal in CA. They regularly priced their six-packs down to $4.99 and all the big Oregon and Washington brewers followed them down there. BB was partly responsible for the market troubles out here back then. It was a scorched-earth/last man standing/drive volume approach. I watched it all from a very low foxhole, but I remember it all very well and they are the same competitor now that they were then.

    I'd guess that almost nobody remembers the national roll-out by BB of their inspired 'Oregon Ales' brand. They wanted to capitalize on the consumer un-awareness of real brands from Oregon and BB thought they might 'capture share' by making Oregon craft brands into a generic easy to find substitute. In the end, it died. That was cynical and there are similarities here.

    In that time, Craft brewers focused on the major brewer's handles and imports like Beck's and Moosehead and other loosely grounded business. We still do that. We target that stuff. But large Craft players have not before targeted their own kind. This is something very new and may well be one of the horsemen of the SKU-pocalypse so many are talking about, as history predicts it.

    About what I said about making a beer that no one has thought of yet; Jimmy3 was not correct in his analysis. It IS what I've always done. We do make a bunch of IPAs, but I began making IPAs in 1995 when there were none done as a flagship in CA and only Bridgeport doing it in the NW. Retailers would not want to carry it saying that "nobody liked beers that bitter." That was the definition of over the horizon. And we've stayed on that track. I don't need to make sours and barrel aged beers as our front line things, other are doing that very well. Why should we feel like we have to 'gain share' there too...?

    I have a visual that keeps me calm about the near future: I imagine the Craft Market as the outside of a sphere, the surface of a planet. This sphere is inflating like a balloon. That represents its growth. Each second every point on the surface is moving away from each other uniformly as it grows in surface area. Then I imagine Craft Brewers as two figures standing on that surface. If they stand still, they move apart as it inflates. But these two figures, these two brands, HATE EACH OTHER. So they rush forward with all of their strength, each to kill the other, but no matter how fast the run they are borne backward, away from each other and can never actually engage in hand-to-hand combat. What little they gained in the effort to engage is overshadowed by the collateral opportunities they ignored in the rush toward the other. One day Craft will be a 50-share of US, and then there must be competition, but at a 12-share (or even a 25-share if you count ShockTop/BlueMoon/Etc!!) it is a total waste of effort.

    Lastly... I use twitter just because it moves the needle the way it does. The very small aperture that is twitter makes a sharper image, good or bad. I did that on twitter because I wanted to push BB off of their intended kill. They will probably persist with the effort, but the world is slightly hipper to their plans now and that is good for us and for our little industry.

    The BA Forum is a better place for complex things like this but twitter is a sharper blade. Thanks for reading if you still are...

    Happy New Year's Eve all.... Cheers!
     
  20. surfcaster

    surfcaster Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Trader

    ^^^ Give em' hell Tony^^^

    Keep pumping out the winners--I've never seen anyone standing in line for BBC.

    When you've maxed out Chicago--come to Asheville.

    :astonished:
     
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