Sam Adams to introduce nationally distributed hazy IPA

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by meefmoff, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (538) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    I stumbled upon this article on the same page as one posted in the Clown Shoes acquisition thread. I'm sure it will be conducive to a very bland and non-opinionated thread :grimacing:

    The article makes it sound like this is something different than Rebel Raw, but it's a little unclear. It also says they have made it available in the Boston area in small quantities over the past couple of months, though I don't recall any talk in the New England forum about it. Anyone seen whatever it is they're talking about? Rebel Raw was a bit of a miss, to my palate anyway.

    Additionally, the article mentions that they will be releasing a "drinkable" lager called Sam '76. The details are a bit vague but it sounds like it may be aiming at being sort of a craft AAL?
    Ranbot, StoutElk_92 and AlcahueteJ like this.
  2. StoutElk_92

    StoutElk_92 Poo-Bah (1,977) Oct 30, 2015 Massachusetts

    Sam Adams has had a draft only offering recently, just called New England IPA. I tried it on tap at a bar/restaurant. It's not bad, a little sweet though. I wonder if this is going to be the same beer or a similar recipe. I thought Rebel Raw was pretty good but also a little sweet.
    DonObiWan and meefmoff like this.
  3. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,388) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    So they are hedging their bets that a Hazy IPA will save them, well I sure hope they are kidding. What are they going to do about shelf life, etc. Isn't the main issue with NEIPA is their stability and all, how are they overcoming this.
    Anyway, curious to see how this plays out but my bets are it won't work as they think....
    What is with the Sam 76 deal "people need craft flavor that is easier to drink" talk. Isn't that market filled with beers named Bud and Miller... LOL So they are saying we need a watery version of something craft so Joe Average will consume? WOW.
    Daveshek28 likes this.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,710) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It appears that Boston Beer Company is addressing two parts of the beer market:
    • The beer geek market with a Cloudy IPA
    • The more mainstream portion of the market (e.g., the folks who like Yuengling Lager) with the "drinkable" lager
    If I see either of these beers on tap I will order a pint.

  5. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,030) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    I'll wait until I drink the 76 beer before commenting but I think the idea is sound. If one of the goals is to compete with AALs though the price should also be competitive.
    dcotom, Gemini6, woodchipper and 4 others like this.
  6. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Crusader (795) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    Skeptical about the hazy IPA. It kind of seems like this is the one style that really benefits from its ‘rarity’ because it’s shelf stability is usually shit. These beers get bought immediately and drunk fresh. We’ll find it Sam figures out a way to make that work on a national scale. I’ll definitely try it fresh, however.

    Sam ‘76 sounds like they are trying to cash in on their ‘crank beer’.
    Lots of breweries brew a low alcohol, lightly hopped, low flavor beer that isn’t going to blow anyone’s mind, but is really good at growing big, healthy pitches of house yeast. I mean, Boston Lager isn’t the priciest beer to brew, but its 30 IBU and uses all Noble hops.

    Some breweries look at profiting off their crank beer, because it’s basically printing money (think Goose 312). Low-risk, high reward move. Sam Light was always a niche product that I could see being replaced by this.
    dcotom, Gemini6 and AZBeerDude72 like this.
  7. frozyn

    frozyn Zealot (572) May 16, 2015 New York
    Premium Trader

    I expect the opposite -- they're hedging their bets on '76.

    Yes, exactly. They've seen declining sales for multiple years now and need a way to bring in more business. I would hazard to guess they know that SA and their other brands are not considered to be on the same level as other "craft" breweries -- at least, the ones all of us go nuts over on this site -- so they are looking the opposite direction to bring in more consumers. The number of craft drinkers whose first foray into the field was drinking SA/Sierra Nevada/the likes is legion, so it's fair to think that a beer brewed in the same vein as BMC might bring more customers into the Sam Adams/Boston Beer Company fold. There are far more people in that category than in ours, and if they can get a million or few to start drinking '76 over BMC, and try some other SA-branded beers, well that'd be a coup in my book.
    Gemini6 and HoppingMadMonk like this.
  8. Sheppard

    Sheppard Champion (857) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    I live in MA so our market might be extremely skewed, but I see NEIPAs just about everywhere. Liquor stores, bottle shops, most breweries. Even the breweries that are known to excel at other things are brewing them. I see NEIPAs popping up around the country. I'm not exactly convinced that it is the unicorn it was may be two years ago. I don't think it's hard to find. This is like what Lanigan said when he started LHBC...which started two years ago.
    oldbean and soheadyithurts like this.
  9. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,388) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    I am just trying to figure out "who" they are trying to get? Craft people won't drink watery versions of what they love, why would they. NEIPA, we have world class ones already, why would any craft person go for a sub-par one? So with that said we eliminate most True Craft drinkers. So that leaves the remaining market share that desires watery beers with low ABV and Carbs so they can keep their girly figures. Well that market is saturated already, SA already serves that market in my mind as do all the Marco guys. I don't know many causal drinkers who desire a NEIPA or Watery Craft beer, they like their Coors, Bud, Miller, Corona, etc. I just think if SA wants to THRIVE they need to look at their roots and realize that you need to keep relevant, a lot of the big guys have grown TOO comfortable and think their brand is never going to suffer, I think that is the true issue...
    Time will tell I just think this is a Hail Mary type play that fails most times.
    dcotom and Sheppard like this.
  10. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (230) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    I am interested in this '76 beer. There are so many hoppy beers or overdone adjunct porters and stouts on the market (and these NEIPA that look and taste like juice) something different is welcome. Just beer for drinking could be that something different. I'm really into Cigar City's Tampa style lager lately. A really nice Helles. You know the big breweries are doing the research and maybe the all IPA or die trend is calming down.
    rgordon and ESHBG like this.
  11. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,299) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey

    It would be foolish to not attemp a hazy ipa in today's world. Ill try it for the sake of being a fan of beer.
    jcos, meanmutt, RobHB and 2 others like this.
  12. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,388) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    I am not trying to beat up on SA, I like them. Just not sure I see this one working, but we will see. I would prefer to see them take a new route, fire off some killer new beers, get into cans for all their beers and get some bad a** can art going etc. I think part of the issue SA has is they feel like old guys beer, lol am I wrong.....I think if they are suffering an image issue more than a beer issue. ..
    A2HB likes this.
  13. Samlover55

    Samlover55 Defender (641) Oct 8, 2015 New York

    meefmoff likes this.
  14. Sheppard

    Sheppard Champion (857) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    I think that there is an identity issue that includes image. They're an old timer that worked hard to get into a lot of the regular bars (pubs and sports bars). They still thrive off being the best option in whatever location they are, but not necessarily for the right reasons. They struggle to get into the actual craft beer bars that are popping up. They haven't adapted to changing palates. In fact, Jim Koch has been a vocal critic of IPAs, which made the release of the Rebel series seem disingenuous without even considering the quality of the beer.

    This is the company that sold itself and its product based on the passion and story of its founder. It seems like a lot of the "new" stuff they've done has been very reactionary and hasn't been an all in effort. There's no direction on the beer side. You see well regarded seasonals get nixed. They just seem to be going sideways.

    Luckily for them, they're doing well in the other beverage categories.
  15. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,388) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    You hit the nail on the head, that is exactly my thought, they seem to not create anything new just react to trends in hope of increased revenue. It is that failure that is driving them into the ground....
  16. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,388) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    Bingo, and for that reason people sort of walk away from it. I feel this way, its like hey your playing us for a sucker, you don't like the style but your marketing guys who probably don't drink beer tell you its a winner.
    HorseheadsHophead likes this.
  17. Stewmeister91

    Stewmeister91 Initiate (119) Apr 7, 2008 New Jersey

    I was at a "Big Box" retailer on Saturday and saw two guys ask the crew if they had "anything hazy." There is a strong business opportunity with the periphery beer drinker as these flavors are attractive to a less-seasoned palate.
    jcos and stevesbeer like this.
  18. Tmwright7

    Tmwright7 Initiate (112) Feb 3, 2015 Pennsylvania

    I think you both have made some valid points, but at the same time, how many breweries are actually bringing something new to market? I'd venture to guess it's a very very small percentage. Every brewery will have to be reactionary at some point; they can't innovate every step of the way. Why are we holding Sam Adams to a different standard? You may say that they have a larger R&D budget and access to more resources, but that doesn't mean they'll knock it out of the park with each attempt.

    Personally, I hope they have figured out a model for delivering a quality NEIPA to a national footprint. And quite honestly if this Sam 76 is an AAL equivalent like everyone is speculating, i'll likely purchase it over the Miller/Bud beer i'd purchase today.
    LuskusDelph, frozyn and Jaycase like this.
  19. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,213) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois

    Good points. The proliferation of NE IPAs is reactionary as well as most other beers du jour (e.g.,Mexican stouts). If one is going to criticize SA for being reactionary here, criticize a brewery like Monkish too.
    eldoctorador likes this.
  20. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Disciple (310) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon

    IMO, there's a difference. When a brewery like Monkish (or someone else known for solid IPAs) starts putting out hazy IPAs it seems like a natural evolution of something they're already good at. On the other hand, Sam Adams resisted brewing any IPAs until they saw the IRI numbers showing that IPA had overtaken "Pale Ale" and "seasonal" as the biggest categories of craft beer, and they realized they had to come out with one. It's nothing if not reactionary.

    To use a sporting analogy, Monkish is an X-Games loving college kid who's been skateboarding all his life. One day he visits his friend in Hood River, sees this new sport called wakeboarding, and thinks it looks like a great way to take his skill and passion for skateboarding out onto the water. He scrapes up some money to buy a used setup, and has a blast learning with his friends.

    Sam Adams is like a divorced baby boomer who hasn't done anything cutting edge or "extreme" in a couple decades, but he sees that all the cool kids are now into wakeboarding and figures it might be a good way to fit in with them. He buys the best equipment money can buy and thinks he'll automatically be good because of it. If nothing else, he thinks he'll "look cool", but he doesn't have the passion for the sport that led those kids to start wakeboarding in the first place, and they see right through him.
  21. Sheppard

    Sheppard Champion (857) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    I don't think it's necessarily about bringing something new. I feel like it's being committed to what you're bringing to market. When you sell your brand or promote an ethos, that ethos better carry through to everything else you do. I do think one of the difficulties in being a big craft brewery is keeping face. Koch is a national figure. He's the only one. They haven't really put a face on any of the other brewers who might have some input on R&D or product development. Like say Megan Parisi was super passionate about developing this NEIPA and was very excited to overthrow people's belief about shelf stability. That's a better story than hey we brewed an IPA like everybody else's IPA, enjoy!

    I don't think we hold Sam Adams to a higher standard than our local breweries. We hold them to a different standard. The way in which I am exposed to Sam Adams is different than the way I am exposed to say a Trillium or Tree House. A lot of what those breweries face in the form criticism is consistency and the customer experience. Believe me, those breweries get a lot of criticism, despite all of the praise. Boston Beer gets criticized for being in bars that don't clean their lines, old product on shelves, seasonal creep, and yes, not being fully invested in their product.

    It's different because of who they are. We live in a country with an ever increasing number of breweries. More and more pop up every day it seems. Every brewery is under scrutiny. Why? Because we have choices. Not all breweries are going to be judged the same way.
    Tmwright7 and AZBeerDude72 like this.
  22. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,631) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Interisting for a guy who hates ipas and thinks they're a gimmick, keeps churning them out. Money will do that I suppose.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  23. oldbean

    oldbean Aspirant (272) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    The market can keep buying hazy IPA longer than you can stay solvent.
  24. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,631) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    One phase to the next, but ipas are still evolving. Used to be all Citra was the business, then dank, onto turbulent beers, some orange some straw colored, but it's what's hot. He couldn't live off Boston Lager in today's market. Don't like The Rebel stuff all that much, a half hearted attempt.
    Bitterbill and AZBeerDude72 like this.
  25. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Zealot (551) Dec 12, 2014 California

    seasonal creep -> That is ridiculous. Sierra Nevada is always a couple of weeks earlier than Boston Beer, yet they don't get criticized about it. Different standard.

    not being fully invested in their product. -> Care to explain?
  26. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Devotee (498) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Bandwagonesque much?
  27. Sheppard

    Sheppard Champion (857) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    Are you saying that seasonal creep isn't something that should be criticized or that it's something that Boston Beer shouldn't be criticized about? I'd say both SN and BB should be criticized for it, especially considering that they're taking up a lot of shelf space at grocers, leading smaller brewers to have to follow suit to compete. They've kind of got a first mover advantage as influencing what's on shelves. You're right that SN is held to a different standard. I don't know if it's higher or lower, but different, yes.
    eldoctorador likes this.
  28. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,647) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    FYI, I've seen several criticisms of SN on this.
  29. LuskusDelph

    LuskusDelph Aspirant (246) May 1, 2008 New Jersey

    ...and all of the criticism is pretty ridiculous.
    DonObiWan, ecpho and drtth like this.
  30. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,647) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    In my view most are. Back in the day which brews were brewed when was dictated in part by the seasons of the weather and their effects on brewing. These days "seasonal" has morphed to mean "quarterly" since it is driven more by the market, the bottom line and scheduling of brewing schedules.
    Samlover55 and Bitterbill like this.
  31. Tmwright7

    Tmwright7 Initiate (112) Feb 3, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Sam Adams has been in the game a long time. Long enough to see the market change. The styles they are well respected for aren’t the hottest options on the market anymore. Are we saying that because they didn’t specialize in IPAs (the #1 market) from the beginning, they aren’t allowed to brew their own version now?
    ecpho likes this.
  32. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,388) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    No, what most are saying is that SA never wanted to make IPAs, now all the sudden due to their popularity they are getting into the game in attempt to gain back some market share. So, least for me they are not making beer out of the love of beer and the style, they are simply doing what the Macro guys do and go after the hot trend of the day, sort of half hearted if you ask me and why their brand is struggling...
    thuey likes this.
  33. Sheppard

    Sheppard Champion (857) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    They also produced two IPAs (Grapefruit and Juiced) which were essentially copying the ideas behind Ballast Point's wildly popular fruited Sculpins. It wasn't even make IPAs. It was let's do what they're doing. They literally tried to make what was hot at the time for IPAs. Now, they're doing the same with the NEIPA.

    Side note, this is some good discussion.
    AZBeerDude72 likes this.
  34. Tmwright7

    Tmwright7 Initiate (112) Feb 3, 2015 Pennsylvania

    I can understand the hypocrisy in it for sure. But at the same time it’s a business and maybe a quickly failing business if they don’t engage in biggest markets.

    I also don’t think that it’s as simple as saying Sam Adams is putting out a NEIPA, regardless of quality, for a quick boost in sales. They have established a standard of quality for their other beers and I can’t imagine these would be an exception.
  35. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,213) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois

    Ha. You've forgotten that Monkish did not brew a single IPA for its first 4 years? Their first IPA which was released I believe was their collaboration with Other Half, First Things First. That's a pretty quick evolutionary process there. :wink: In either case, SA or Monkish, it's being reactive to the haze craze, which is the point I was making above, and to say otherwise is not accurate imo.
    Samlover55 likes this.
  36. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,388) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    If SA wants to be relevant again they should be creating the next trend, not jumping in as this one is peaking. I guess that is how I see it. They have a massive group of people and where are the creative minds? Sorry but it leads me to think there is no creative juice left just follow the other trend setters. Oh wait, they can put out $200 bottles of beer less than 1% will ever see, maybe they need to get back to basics and brew from the heart not the wallet.
    beergoot likes this.
  37. Abstractual

    Abstractual Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2015 New York

    Just want to chime in real quick to say that the first IPA Monkish brewed was 4 years into their existence, with Other Half. Prior to that, the only hoppy beers they brewed were Belgian Pale Ales. They jumped ship, like many of their other contemporary, small, craft American breweries have done and focus a massive percentage of their attention and output on making canned hazy IPAs. We love to comment negatively about the moves larger breweries like Sam Adams are making in order to stay afloat in this marketplace, but the smaller breweries are being swept away in the same torrent.
    3SH33TS and Samlover55 like this.
  38. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,388) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    When a company says they are against the IPA style and now selling them because sales are slipping, that screams desperation. The comparison is not the same. Also, just because SA is large has no relevance to me, and I actually enjoy their beers, just not happy with their decisions.
  39. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (2,301) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
    Premium Trader

    No, I don't think the "old guy" beer analogy is wrong, speaking as an "old guy." It used to be that, when I went to a place that had a "limited" beer menu, Boston Lager was usually available and what I had. Now, those same places have Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and Boston Lager is not available.

    I know which beer I prefer, 100 times out of 100.
    Squire and AZBeerDude72 like this.
  40. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,388) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Premium Trader

    LOL I am getting older also so that is directed at myself too.