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Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Scottsbeer, Nov 5, 2020.
Sorry to read this.
I buy both their imported and their distributed beers.
Sad, but true
A real concern
For those who aren't familiar with the Shelton Bothers, here's an article from 2017 by Andy Crouch that took at look at their impact on the American and global beer scenes.
After reading this I'm kind of surprised they lasted as long as they did
What a complete bummer in every respect .
In a way, this situation explains the sudden appearance of numerous Shelton products at my local shop about a month ago. Such a damn shame what it came at the expense of.
I was just looking at a Dieu de Ciel barleywine at my beer shop like an hour ago... I regret not picking one up to mourn this loss.
Great article. I found this quote from the article interesting "In the face of a challenge, Dan’s response is to double down, a practice he would hone and apply many times over the years since."
Sounds like double down didn't work this time. Love the story on how that got started as I fell in love with English and German beers about the same time (late 80s). I used to drink primarily imports through the late 80s and early 90s.
The same thing is going on here. I saw bottles of Drie Fonteinen sitting on the shelf yesterday.
Wow, how unfortunate. Hopefully someone else picks up some of these brands.
Imports are getting harder to find, this will be a huge blow
This explains why some of my favorite beers that happen to be imports are getting harder to find. When all this takes place will there be a resurgence of these imports and places to buy/drink them come around again like it did some 40+ years ago?
Luckily I got a bottle of Panil recently... not sure that's gonna happen again anytime soon.
And maybe that’s why we just started seeing Drei Fonteinen all over the place after never seeing it...dumping inventory.
Seems inevitable that someone will come in a swoop these up, but I have a feeling that anyone who is in the business of importing European beers is in a similar boat - loss of sales due to Covid, low cash flow and the general trend of US craft taking shelf space from imports. Let's hope a competent and beer-focused player moves in, not some equity firm that guts it out to flip a quick profit.
I ask myself, “Would I bring these beers in in the current US climate?”
My answer is an easy, “No”.
@AlcahueteJ I'd have to agree here. There's no way that they'll get true market value for the brands but then again looking long-term, it might make sense. Buy when the valuation is low is a dream come true for the equity guys.
I agree with you here but for this business case to ultimately be successful (e.g., profitable) there needs to be a combination of US consumer demand and proper retailing of these imported products. I am personally motivated to purchase imported beers from Europe but if the beers at my local beer retailers are old I refuse to buy them. How does a functional equivalent of Shelton Brothers make sure that fresh imported product is available for sale to beer consumers? If this can't be achieved my money will go to US craft brewers producing English/German/... beer styles.
Stinks not only to lose your business but personal bankruptcy. This won't be the last of these in these times.
Really sad, but in this economic environment, probably expected.
Even prior to COVID, the push for fresh, local beer was causing mid-sized breweries like Stone, Victory and Green Flash problems; I can't imagine what that was doing to the European scene, especially as American interests were in DDH NEIPAs, adjunct stouts and kettle sours, none of which would be brewed nearly as prominently in Europe as in the States.
Couple that with wallets tightening, and it was most likely inevitable.
While I appreciate their dedication to great beer, it's hard to be successful at business being litigious asshole. I just home someone can replicate the great beers from their portfolio over the next year.
From Andy Crouch's linked article:
In a trade built on collegiality, Dan developed a reputation for trashing his competitors. His favorite target was and remains Lindemans, the Belgian producer of a line of Lambic and fruited sour beers. While trying to sell Cantillon to people, he’d see glass after glass of Lindemans go over the bar. After a few beers, Dan would tear into the unsuspecting drinkers, scolding that they were drinking sugary crap made for kids. “They were all artificially sweetened and not Lambic at all yet that was being pitched as Lambic, especially Lindemans,” he says. “I’d get in fights with people and tell them, ‘You could taste it if you had any sense.’ People just thought, what an asshole. They thought people don’t like your stuff so you’re just badmouthing everyone else. That’s the way people thought of us for a long, long time.”
Well, they rarely deigned to sell their precious nectar out here in the PNW, so we won't really notice they're gone.
Among their line-up, I can only ever recall seeing Fantôme (at my store, it didn't not sell whatsoever), 3 Fonteinen (seems to get a small but steady following around this area), Anchorage (gaining in popularity here) and rarely Cantillon. It's a loss for sure but, as has already been mentioned here and other places in this forum, the general trend has ever increasingly shifted to local beer, with exceptions being online delivery options from places like Tavour, CraftShack, etc. for stuff further away and delivery options from in-state breweries (depending on municipality; mostly sparked by COVID). Why buy import beer that could be a few months old when you can get fresher, great quality beer from less than 100-500 miles away? And why buy import beer that is incredibly hard to find when you can find stuff that is as good more readily available? We are in a bit of a bubble here on BA when it comes to things like Cantillon; the average consumer has never heard of and/or doesn't care about them.
EDIT: I realize after posting this that they are merely partnered with a distro for Anchorage, among a slew of other brands. I think my point still stands.
I do wonder just how much of the mystique of their line was cultivated through a combination of scarcity and relying on the retailers to seek them out. From what I've heard, until this recent warehouse dump, a sales flyer from them was a rare thing.
I know the people and their amazing people in market, and am saddened by the loss.
Whether you know it or not, we're all a little smaller here today.
So I read about 20% of the article, will this shut down all imported beers the US gets from Europe or just select beers from Belgium? I guess I want to know how this will impact us clearly, what should we stock up on if things will disappear from shelves soon.
The Sheltons are hardly the only beer importer in the US. There is a list of all the breweries they import on the bottom of this page, should you want to know what brands will likely disappear from the market. That said, considering how slowly some of these beers sell, old stock may linger on shelves long enough to fill the gap until someone else picks them up.
I can see an importer like B. United importing some of these breweries, but they already have a vast portfolio that is undoubtedly struggling with some of the same problems. That said, Matthias is not out in the market trashing the competition, alienating potential customers, and suing former business associates like Dan was, so that could help.
De La Senne
Dieu Du Ciel!
These are the beers I buy the most from their list of beers. Most was on tap at Monks but Dieu Du Ciel stouts are seen here in bottles so I need to grab a hand ful just in case
I assume those are rhetorical questions but I will answer them: "Because a consumer might prefer those beers."
The "why buy imports" or "I don't buy imports" stance comes up all the time here. For a website with the raison d'être of providing a home for beer reviews from a bunch of enthusiasts - reviews that compare and contrast beers with scores that break things down to a hundredth of a point after a decimal, it's odd how much this comes up.
If someone prefers the beers in their backyard that's obviously fine, but it's only their preference not a universal truth.
Timothy Taylor, Mahr's, Ritterguts, Gänstaller, Blaugies, De Ranke, Drie Fonteinen, Fantome, Thiriez, heck - even contract brewed Coniston, to name a few...
If you have brewers by you making beers just like them that you can get fresher and that you prefer, then great. From my point of view, American brewers more or less don't even try to make beers like much of the above (and any that do likely don't fall into that "readily available" category). Freshness is an important thing but it isn't the only thing that's going to drive a purchase decision. Every beer review on this site is a testament to that.
Just a thought, their market is the US/ Canada of course, logistic lines are long so it’s very difficult to get fresh beer to market, and they are selling and targeting a small but fairly knowledgeable consumer base. Their target consumer is a very narrow part of the beer drinking world, and with the logistics of distance, taxes, import/export taxes I’m sure it’s extremely difficult to manage, and obviously not profitable. It’s a shame when anyone in the market bows out.
Without being too personal, I love Will and despise Dan. I know these guys well, sold the beers, and grew my business as they grew theirs. Dan is a lawyer and Will is a musician. And that's all I have to say about that....
Damn.. Peche Mortal is a top couple beers for me- all time.. it’d be sad to not see it anymore
There is also Mechant du Vin and Global beer, besides others.
You got me actually LOL here at home with that post.
Their customer base was even smaller 40 years ago, but it still grew.
They only way to do that would be for the importer to also be the distributor. I'm not sure if that's even financially or legally possible.
Here's the list of their beers
There wasn’t much of a craft beer wave 40 years ago either, AALs ruled the world, still do. But international business has certainly changed, not so much for the better perhaps.