Russian River Rant

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by smanrob, Nov 11, 2014.

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    JOHNKNEEGEEZ Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2014 Maine

    I hope you didn't water down your next craft beer by crying in it.
    StuartCarter and Roguer like this.
  2. Kaz_DemonKnight

    Kaz_DemonKnight Initiate (0) Jul 8, 2014 Illinois

    You know, I gotta say, you are right. That's not a debate. Initially, I was just trying to see both sides that's all.
    rozzom likes this.
  3. LakerLeith

    LakerLeith Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2013 California

    I'm in Central California in the Monterey County and out county and surrounding counties do not receive ANY RR in bottles or draft!
    Yes, of course there is a demand for it. Why the heck OR, CO and PA get RR and we don't even see anything from them in central CA?

    Just recently Firestone Walker started brewing Pliny for RR as a temporary thing. Well, do you think the central coast or central CA got to see any of that? NOPE!

    I just can't get down with that shit man... If Mrs. Vinnie doesn't want me to have her beers, then I don't want to have em either! Thanks anyways!
    There is PLENTY of great craftbeer that I can have, let alone what I already have here at the house. Cheers!
  4. Geuzedad

    Geuzedad Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2010 Arizona

    Just must have been a bad weekend. I was at 13 different retailers I frequent there and none had ANY RR. And it makes me wonder why the story I was told by someone who should know would even say that even in jest. All the bartenders were hitting the Blind Pig that night as they were all saying it might be the last they would see anytime soon. I find it hard to believe the entire staff there was pulling our chain. I hope its not true. If you have read any of my previous posts I would agree with you that RR is usually very easy to find in SD. Just not this time and with the story we were told it all added up.
  5. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Expansion or growth is tough.

    If some of my local favorites either get too popular, or distribution changes, I'll just jump ship to something that is easier to obtain. I think many are holding "world class" beer to TOO high of a standard. At the end of the day it does go into our stomachs and we piss it out. I'd rather spend more time drinking than seeking.

    I actually fear for distribution and growth changes. On a local front, you have La Cumbre. A world class IPA that got canned first, Elevated IPA. It was their staple for I believe two years. Then they brought in two more canned beers. Then some bombers. I was afraid that the other beers would get in the way of their elevated. Now they are bringing in a 4th canned beer as a regular lineup, and have started distro in CO. I want it in every gas station or bar at an acceptable level of freshness with no troubles seeking it out.. It may be just way too selfish of me... Does craft beer create these selfish monsters most of us can be seen as? I can see in one year there being some issues with being able to get it with relative ease. I guess we have to enjoy the ride before it gets too crazy
  6. OldRickSputin

    OldRickSputin Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2014 Illinois

    Whata goddamn tragedy!

    Quite a rant too - RR, time to take notice, you MoFos!!
    Brolo75 likes this.
  7. OldRickSputin

    OldRickSputin Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2014 Illinois

    I think the government should step in!
  8. breadwinner

    breadwinner Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2014 California

    Sorry, man, hope my post didn't come off as dismissive. Bummed you weren't able to find any RR stuff that weekend. I probably should've added the proviso that all of this only applies if a shipment has recently come in. There are weeks where nothing comes in, in which case you'll definitely be SOL, at least for the hoppy stuff. (Again, the Belgian/sour stuff hangs around pretty consistently.)

    Re: Blind Pig, there was some discussion a while back that bottles were going to only be sold at the brewery going forward, so that may have been some of the chatter you were hearing. Honestly, I don't know what came of that. BP never came with regularity of Pliny anyway, but it does seem rare that I've seen bottles pop up recently, though kegs have continued to flow in without problem. Again, draft-wise, TapHunter, Untappd, bar websites are your best bet to see what might be on at any given time.
    Geuzedad likes this.
  9. GarthT

    GarthT Initiate (0) Nov 10, 2013 Hong Kong

    I flew 7,000 miles from Hong Kong to San Francisco to (amongst other things) visit RRBC having heard so much about it. Visited on a weekday lunch time, no queue, just good beer. Seems bizarre to complain about an access issue which can be solved with a little planning.
    Roguer and Smakawhat like this.
  10. LuskusDelph

    LuskusDelph Initiate (0) May 1, 2008 New Jersey

    LOL. You've nailed it! The scenario you've described one of the most bizarre aspects of beer fandom geekery.
    rgordon, Geuzedad and rozzom like this.
  11. Geuzedad

    Geuzedad Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2010 Arizona

    (Quote) Sorry, man, hope my post didn't come off as dismissive. Bummed you weren't able to find any RR stuff that weekend. I probably should've added the proviso that all of this only applies if a shipment has recently come in. There are weeks where nothing comes in, in which case you'll definitely be SOL, at least for the hoppy stuff. (Again, the Belgian/sour stuff hangs around pretty consistently.)

    No bro, all good. I know you were speaking as a local. I appreciate input as coming over to visit your region is something I do on a very regular basis. In fact my wife and I will be there in December to celebrate our anniversary. She loves the wine and seafood and I love the beer. It's a win-win situation. I recently got a new iphone and updated my Untappd app. I also downloaded the BA app so next time I am in town I will be better equipped to make the rounds. Cheers man and thanks for the advice.
    breadwinner and yemenmocha like this.
  12. breadwinner

    breadwinner Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2014 California

    Well, happy upcoming anniversary, man! And, should you need any suggestions as the trip approaches, definitely don't hesitate to give me a holler!
    Geuzedad and yemenmocha like this.
  13. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    well it was just his list and his 2 cents, right? his list does not match mine, I just have to disagree, and to agree to disagree with your point, lol
  14. mrdonno1970

    mrdonno1970 Initiate (0) Jan 30, 2011 Texas

    Fellow beer friend, don't let the uncontrollables bother you. Roll on bro and cheers!
  15. stonermouse

    stonermouse Initiate (0) Aug 16, 2006 Massachusetts

    If accessing the beer is worth the time commitment, then go for it. If not, then don't. My level has tipped with the VT breweries, where the aggravation of the chase and time commitment needed to access HT and HF outweigh my desire to access that beer. That threshold is different for everyone.
    lenbert, breadwinner and yemenmocha like this.
  16. danwho

    danwho Initiate (0) Feb 18, 2010 California

    It times like this that I miss Overlord.
    Overlord, LostHighway and mudbug like this.
  17. TCJ0100

    TCJ0100 Initiate (0) Oct 9, 2014 California

    I was thinking on this today, and now that I have had a few to drink I would like to share my thoughts (whether anyone is interested or not). I don't think RR's sin is that they stayed small, but that they tried to distribute too far. It is one thing to decided to distribute to a small market and stay small as a brewery, but it is quite another to commit to a large distribution scheme (relatively large given that they still don't distribute very far beyond California) and not be able to saturate the local market.

    I know New Glarus has been mentioned several times, and I think that is the ideal in terms of marketing local craft beer. They easily meet demand within Wisconsin and you can find Moon Man or Spotted Cow on tap at most bars, even dives. Now why can't Russian River do the same? Just distribute to Sonoma County, so those that visit are able to enjoy the beer without waiting in lines or any such thing.

    If you want to distribute across your immediate area, you should be ready for the consequences. I understand the founders' chose brewing beer as a "lifestyle change," but sometimes fate sends you a calling that is hard to ignore. Maybe you should try to meet the consumers halfway or else severely limit your distribution range. I dislike RR's callous position precisely because they are so stubborn in wanting to remain small: why not sell beer at local bars and cultivate the locals to respect your brand and bring them away from the international conglomerate brewers, why not make Blind Pig the next Stone IPA in terms of availability, why not make a larger brewpub to accommodate the people that have travelled across the country to sample your beers? Rarity and hype will only carry you so far. A committed local following that has grown accustomed to drinking your beers on the regular will keep you afloat through the toughest times.
    hopazoid, bluehende and BBThunderbolt like this.
  18. kplooki

    kplooki Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 Illinois

    I think this is just craft beer in general. Three Floyds is crazy, and I can only imagine Russian River is the same. I have had limited brews from them and I enjoy them all, but honestly there are other "shelf turds" that are just about as good that I would rather drink. That is why I limit my Three Floyds trips to like 4 a year or so, just don't like dealing with the hassle. It is amazing though, how hard it has gotten to get some limited releases like the new surly's darkness, abraxas, ect. I think the goose island release is going to be a total nightmare.
  19. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Pooh-Bah (2,549) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Just want to say that RR is in the 3000 bbl/year range, while New Glarus is maybe 60,000+ bbl/year. RR had the distribution on the west coast, CO, and Philly before it all blew up to todays demand. They pulled out of WA state to help supply the remaining distribution.

    Why don't they expand and become regional/national? This is a question form them, and not a simple answer.
    breadwinner and drtth like this.
  20. jamvt

    jamvt Savant (1,114) Aug 5, 2005 Massachusetts

    RR is 15,000 bbl/year
    NG is 100,000 bbl/year

    Why people can't understand why these successful family businesses do not wish to take on any additional debt is beyond me. Why deal with the headache if your happy and comfortable economically if you don't have to?
  21. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Pooh-Bah (2,549) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Man, I wanted to say 13,000 bbl, poor typing on my part. I'm behind on the volumes regardless.
  22. SiRCRX

    SiRCRX Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2008 Michigan

    To the OP, forget everything from MOST of the replies before my reply. Craft Beer is a victim of it's own success, the only true answer is to move on and find another local place to hang, or brew yer own. There is a huge portion of craft brew drinkers that have nothing better to do than support this exploding industry, while I, have more work than I can ever get done in a lifetime to do, so I just move on to the next up and comer, I don't have time to wait, so I do the only logical thing, move on, your NOT a Whiner, you don't read like somebody who thinks their entitled, your just frustrated from the success of RR, and wishes for the simpler days, move on, and it will be simpler.
    1000lbgrizzly likes this.
  23. scream

    scream Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    1st, I put on my flak jacket.

    I do not at all understand all the hoopla over Pliny unless it's due to the lack of availability. I definitely would not go out of my way or wait outside the pub to have another one. There are just way to many other options out there for great beers. For me it was maybe in the 88 pt range. Friendly place w poor service.

    Now I'll duck.
    QuietAlien likes this.
  24. 1eyed_jack

    1eyed_jack Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2012 Illinois

    No need to duck!

    Lack of availability is what drives most of the hype in this hobby. Some admit it, some don't, but it's true.
    elchicodelgado and Mitchell57 like this.

    THANAT0PSIS Pooh-Bah (2,189) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    Pliny on tap is god-tier, but that's not replicable many places. The real stars of Russian River are the wilds, though. Nothing quite like Supplication or Consecration out there that's affordable or more easily attainable.

    I do agree that service there was underwhelming. No reason to feel the need to flak up for your opinions. Not every beer will appeal to every person.
    Raj and cavedave like this.
  26. DrunkenMonk

    DrunkenMonk Initiate (0) Jun 2, 2012 California

    Their direction as a brewer has little to do with their remodel. Yes, it's more inconvenient as a diner and as a bottle buyer. But that has nothing to do with beer production and style development.
  27. davegray

    davegray Initiate (0) Sep 23, 2006 California

    Why do you think the cost of housing is so damn high in SD and SF/OAK? It's all about the beer! Central Cali is the speed bump.
  28. davegray

    davegray Initiate (0) Sep 23, 2006 California

    BTW, I come down to Monterrey all the time, can I bring you something from RR? I'd love to grab a beer. Cheers.
  29. davegray

    davegray Initiate (0) Sep 23, 2006 California

    Shit, you've had way more than me...doesn't look like I can bring you anything. I'll still grab a beer, just can't offer much.
  30. HeyHotDogs

    HeyHotDogs Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2014 California

    How can I get me a hectare of that cheapass Monterey real estate?
    Phocion likes this.
  31. LakerLeith

    LakerLeith Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2013 California

    absolutely! Let me know when you make it out here and I'll meet you for a few beers. Always down to share some beers
  32. Anhyzer

    Anhyzer Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2007 Oregon

    I was just at RR, for my first time, this past fall. Went on a Sunday afternoon, waited outside in the beautiful Cali sun, went inside and enjoyed some delicious drafts and left with a case of PtE... Wait, at which point was I supposed to be unsatisfied about my experience?
    StuartCarter, BSW and breadwinner like this.
  33. cavedave

    cavedave Grand Pooh-Bah (4,083) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    BTW I recently had a day at Hill Farmstead when we arrived at about 3:00 and there was no line, only two folks in front of us. First time that has happened, and it has never happened to friends I have told about this. Just wanted to update a comment made in this thread.
    Phigg1102 and rozzom like this.
  34. rozzom

    rozzom Pooh-Bah (2,534) Jan 22, 2011 New York
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Imagining this is like thinking about space
    cavedave likes this.
  35. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    Aw, come on. You called and told them you would be there at 3:00 and they simply cleared the place out for you, a visiting beer dignitary from the Hudson Valley, correct? HaHa.
    cavedave and jrnyc like this.
  36. matedog

    matedog Crusader (421) Jan 25, 2010 California

    I made the mistake this weekend of trying to stop by for lunch around 2 on a Saturday. There was about a 20 minute wait to get in to wait another 60 minutes for a table. I was hoping the rain and late lunch hour would have worked in my favor, but it was still a pain in the ass. I just ended up getting some bottles to go which was pretty easy.

    Fine, don't expand production, but for fuck's sake, expand the dining area. If it's close to a perpetual hour and a half + wait for any time that's not opening, that sucks for your customers. I left with bottles for gifts, but still annoyed with the company.

    I'm swearing off ever going again for a time that's not opening.
  37. Phigg1102

    Phigg1102 Initiate (0) Sep 29, 2013 New York

    This happened to me as well in October 2013. It was my last trip before moving out of VT, Lucky Me!
    cavedave likes this.
  38. Pulltabs_only

    Pulltabs_only Initiate (0) Oct 8, 2014 Indiana

    Sssshhh. 18th St, Baby
    Thanks for the brew Rob.
  39. Crackerbarrel

    Crackerbarrel Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2014 New York

    I heard a similar story when I was up there about 6 months ago. I had gotten there for the opening, but as I was leaving I could see how there could not much of a line left by later in the afternoon. I asked the cashier and she said its often the case.
  40. Raj

    Raj Savant (1,146) Jun 25, 2014 Illinois


    I agree completely. Pliny is great but gun to my head I couldn't differentiate it from a well made local dipa. The sours are where Russian River really shines.
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