Sierra Nevada Refocuses on Pale Ale

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by dennis3951, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. mudbug

    mudbug Zealot (582) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    Here's the truth, If I'm in a restaurant and can get tap SNPA, I'll choose that over a whole lot of other choices, in fact almost any.
  2. Giantspace

    Giantspace Defender (678) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Not a fan of the pale ale. Just tastes blah even when fresh. A beer I loved back in the 1980's.

  3. peteboiler

    peteboiler Initiate (137) Dec 16, 2010 Florida

    It is refreshing to read something honest from someone who works for the company. Not that most are dishonest, but most blame the market or anyone else but themselves. He acknowledged that the company he works for needs to change to adapt to the ever growing market.
    JMN44, TargaFlorio, Tdizzle and 11 others like this.
  4. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Crusader (777) Nov 4, 2015 New York

    As long as it's been out, I've yet to have an SNPA that was remotely fresh. Still waiting for my first. :rolling_eyes: 9-10 weeks is the best I've had. I can see the potential, but have yet to experience it. It may have been there , somewhere along the line, but I missed it, because I didn't think to look that time.

    Reminders ,as he mentioned, showing up in person & handing out samples, and maybe pulling some of the egregiously old stock might help. I've seen some SNPA that was as much as 8-11 months old, when I've bothered to look.

    Back when I first discovered better beer, Ithaca Pale Ale was a go-to, and the (new) brewery near me has made ones that I like, so I'm not averse to the APA.
    #5 mikeinportc, Mar 6, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  5. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,275) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Trader

    Still a standard of the style by my reckoning. I had a Stein of it today .:slight_smile:
  6. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (247) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    SNPA is one pale ale which I personally find to be unique among American pale ales and I could see them do well by advertising it a bit more. Especially if people start to look for an alternative to IPAs and DIPAs. They have the history and brewing practises to back up any advertising push with real substance. I hope their investments into marketing pays off.
    meanmutt, GOBLIN, meefmoff and 16 others like this.
  7. raynmoon

    raynmoon Crusader (782) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado

    It is true that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale isn't as trendy or sought after as it was ten years ago. But I still get excited for Sierra Nevada seasonals. Every year they seem to be getting better, especially in their hoppy game. Last year's Hoptimum was really good, and Hop Bullet thus far has been Lagunitas-level-hoppy quality and at two bucks cheaper, too.

    NOAA_ALL_HAZARDS Initiate (43) Jul 13, 2017 Illinois

    Sierra Nevada Summerfest is there best beer by far or there Octoberfest collaboration
    Can_has_beer, BJC, tzieser and 3 others like this.
  9. lic217

    lic217 Champion (828) Aug 10, 2010 Connecticut

    Incredible beer. I would also like to recognize the fact that SNPA tastes great at 6 months old. Most hoppy beers will not taste good at 6 months. I have had some damn good old bottles. Great cost too.
    Its one of the best hoppy beers to pair with spice dishes, Mexican food, Chinese food, and BBQ. Extremely versatile.
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,766) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    From the liked article:

    “So this year, Sierra Nevada is scaling back its focus on innovation in an effort to refocus on Pale Ale, which accounts for half of the company’s volume,…”


    “With our sales force, we don’t want them to focus on all shiny toys,” he said.”

    But then:

    “Nevertheless, Sierra Nevada has or will introduce several new products this year, including a year-round New England-style IPA called Hazy Little Thing, a reformulated Otra Vez with lime and agave, Hop Bullet Double IPA and Sidecar Orange IPA.”

    If that doesn’t define ‘talking out of both sides of your mouth’ I don’t know what does.

    My suggestion to Sierra Nevada if they want to improve sales, at least in my area, get your various beers (including SNPA) here fresher and when they are old on the shelves have them removed.

    I recognize that what I will state next is anecdotal but I do not buy a lot of Sierra Nevada beers since what is on my local beer retailers’ shelves is old product. If you can’t fix and maintain your distribution system people will continue to buy the other ‘shiny’ and fresh beers.

    Premo88, AZBeerDude72, nc41 and 13 others like this.
  11. jeebeel

    jeebeel Initiate (159) Jun 17, 2003 Texas

    “I think there’s so much emphasis on new that it’s kind of gotten irrational.”

    I agree, but then again there's Otra Vez, Orange IPA, Hazy IPA, Tropical IPA, Hop Oil IPA, Hop Bullet IPA. no Porter or Stout, etc...:neutral_face:
  12. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (874) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    This might have been the best post that I've ever read from you on this board.
    mikeinportc and JackHorzempa like this.
  13. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (874) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    An added bonus: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is more sessionable on draft than in the bottle, being only 5% ABV on draft.
    surfcaster and Jaycase like this.
  14. followerofmen

    followerofmen Initiate (82) Sep 9, 2012 Massachusetts

    I don't think this is necessarily accurate at all. That's 4 new beers they're introducing. As compared to a given year when they might produce two to three new beers for a spring/summer/fall packs, 2 to 3 new beers for each seasonal hop pack of which there were 2 last year, 12 Beers for the beer Camp variety pack, plus a couple new core beers last year. You're looking at many many many more new products than were referenced right there. I would guess that the number of mix packs will decrease, the collaborations will slow down a little, and they will work on reestablishing the brand while still making some new products because they are business after all. None of which sounds to me like talking out of both sides of one's mouth.
  15. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (454) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    Absolutely love SNPA and would buy it all the time... If it was fresher. I still buy it, but it's sad when I have to consider two months old fresh. It does age far better than most pales/IPA no doubt, but still. If I could stumble on 2-3 week old SNPA often I would buy much more of it. Sadly, I think people who focus on dates and freshness are not exactly their target audience.
    Troutbeerbum, GOBLIN and mikeinportc like this.
  16. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,080) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    That was a good read and I wish them well.
  17. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Crusader (777) Nov 4, 2015 New York

    No, but if that 7 month old SNPA is the first one somebody tries - a customer who is unaware of the effect of age on hop flavor, or to look for a date - what is SN's chance of repeat business? Maybe they need to do the work for the customer, at least for awhile. Along with raising brand awareness, maybe they should risk (temporary)retailer irritation, & educate the end customer as to what to look for? Stone does to some degree. ( & I let them know one time, on Arrogant Bastard, that was months past BB. Next time I went, about a week later, it had been replaced with fresh stock. & I bought some. :sunglasses:)

    There's local ones that can, who have this problem, and all but one of their canned beers* don't hold up as well as SNPA. I've told 'em (& in one case, at an event, 4 people behind me told 'em), others have told 'em, the retailers have told 'em , & finally, listened. They started dating, so there's a chance bad beer won't be blamed on them. (Increased distribution has, alas, been offset by....the distributor :rolling_eyes:........delivering old beer.)

    * Surprisingly, it's the 4% session IPA that holds up well . It has oats, for better feel, so maybe that's it? :thinking_face:
  18. Hayden34

    Hayden34 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2014 Georgia

    I just wish they would brew more Coffee Stout...
    GOBLIN and riegler like this.
  19. MJS08

    MJS08 Aspirant (291) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    The one-two punch of Oktoberfest and Celebration is something I anticipate, and will again later this year. The marzen colabs have been an annual treat. SN works hard to deliver what we want. They are not afraid to fail, and so we get Hop Bullet when they succeed. SNPA is a workhorse, and the consistent good quality is why folks keep coming back to it. Big Mac, anyone? And, finally, I hope spring comes early for a guy named Bill.
  20. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,625) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Premium Trader

    Yeah that is the marketing thing. I think this is a marketing push to get the tap handles back. Looking at their release calendar they still have 3 more hop packs coming out and a grapefruit Otra Vez, so there's that. I honestly think in the long run what they are doing with these samplers is terrific, especially those that are all new beers and focus on new hops. I will get them just to try out these new hops. I wish them luck, they have always handled themselves with class.
  21. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (227) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Looks like the new Otra Vez comes in cans and I'm excited to try it, it's a good summer beer and something different and I'm a fan of lime and agave, I used to drink Tequiza when I was younger and a Corona or a Dos Equis with lime is nice once in a while too. I also enjoy Flying Dog Numero Uno regularly during the summer, pairs very nicely with my constant Mexican food cravings. And SN is supposed to have a Mexican Lager in their summer variety pack so looking forward to that one also.

    Very interesting times in the craft beer world and I think that we will be seeing a shift where lower ABV and core lineup beers bubble back up to the surface a little more. SNPA is a certified classic and I agree that freshness can be an issue at times but it does seem to still move pretty well and unlike an IPA freshness on a PA is a littlle less of an issue (but SN beers do seem to hold up well regardless). But I do think that SN could benefit from marketing how the draft and bottled versions are different and it would be neat to create a "comparison pack" or something where you can do a side by side.

    And I remember when SNPA was hoppy for my palate, now I find it to be quite balanced. Ah the memories...
    mikeinportc likes this.
  22. Tucquan

    Tucquan Poo-Bah (2,802) Oct 11, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    It'd be interesting if SNPA could compete in the 15 pack format for about $1.00 per beer, ala All Day IPA. SNPA, where I live, is about $1.50 per 12oz by the case of 24.
  23. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (323) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    Think I'm have one now. Almost always some in my fridge.
  24. VitisVinifera

    VitisVinifera Initiate (108) Feb 25, 2013 California

    I can think of something that would breathe some life back in SNPA. About 2 years ago New Belgium put out a mixed twelver of 6 pairs of beers (IIRC)- each was a collaboration with another brewery in which they made a variant of Fat Tire. Some were good and some weren't quite so but I really enjoyed that. SN should do a Beer Camp type thing but it's 6 or 12 different variants of SNPA each done with another brewery.
    ESHBG likes this.
  25. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,366) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    When was that? I just pulled a 1999 Bigfoot out of the cellar and can clearly see a bottling date code stamped near the shoulder 8351E15:59, so obviously Dec. 17, '88. The cases of that era were likewise date coded (different vintage Bigfoot case):

    Checking a 1984 Celebration Ale bottle, and it appears they used a "notching" system which required the distributor to have a card to "read" the notches. While that technique was not "consumer friendly", it was a pretty standard date coding method within the industry at the time.
  26. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (874) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Is that just four new CORE beers they're introducing though? Or only four new beers all year? I suspect it could be the former.

    Haha, this is one of the first beers I liked in my drinking career...that was a long long time ago.

    Tasted like a Corona with the lime already in it!

    I'm sure @mikeinportc will reply, but I think he was speaking to a local brand, not Sierra Nevada.

    ESHBG and tzieser like this.
  27. Kraz

    Kraz Initiate (83) Feb 12, 2018 Indiana

    SNPA is one of the old guard, a cornerstone in the craft scene. It was a good read. You could hear the realization that it just has to be done
  28. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,366) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    :astonished: Ha! Yeah, OK - I didn't catch that "local ones" referred to breweries not the Sierra Nevada "retailer" he was discussing in the previous paragraph...or that " 'em " wasn't the brewery which is the subject of the thread. :grinning:

    #29 jesskidden, Mar 7, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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  29. rypkr

    rypkr Champion (814) Nov 19, 2011 Pennsylvania

    It's almost impossible to find it fresh in pa or ohio. I can name over ten places right now that have it but the bottled date is October or November. I check for some pretty much every time I beer shop.

    I think once in the last year I've found it fairly fresh around here. In said case it was phenomenal.

    In an attempt to scratch the itch for it, I've bought it a few other times at 4 or 5 months old, and it was a regret.

    This is what SN should focus on if they want more sales.
    AlcahueteJ and JackHorzempa like this.
  30. TheGent

    TheGent Meyvn (1,443) Jun 29, 2010 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is my go to when I’m traveling at the airport. When fresh it is as good as any other pale ale.
  31. sefus12

    sefus12 Aspirant (203) Sep 7, 2006 Virginia

    Not trying to argue with you at all, but I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of people on here would not be able to tell the difference in a 2-week old SNPA and a 2-month old SNPA in a blind taste test. It holds up that well, IMO of course.

    I have some 2-month old cans in my fridge right now and they are lovely. Still one of my go-to beers no matter the occasion or time of year.
  32. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (234) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    I do have to say - at least anecdotally, based on my local bar/restaurant/grocery stores, in the last 2-3 years any SN availability has been really spotty. I've complained to Sierra Nevada Bill when he was around, spoke to the local rep but very little change. I think they need to really get their salespeople out there to get tap handles and shelf space back. Fat Tire is everywhere now, Sam Adams has 12 pack rebates in grocery stores. When I do see on of these new hop mix packs, they are over $20 and I think that discourages retailers from carrying that pack and maybe other SN products. Just no more fruited Pale Ale - ok?
  33. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (839) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I doubt Sierra Nevada would do that. It's one thing to package and sell a new beer like All Day IPA at a lower price. No one is claiming SNPA costs to much. Lowering the price would do nothing but lower their margins.
  34. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (454) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    Oh no, I absolutely agree. SNPA holds up extremely well... Even with months on it like you said. Just saying that I would be buying it more often if I found it more frequently with less than two months on it (typically it's at 3 or so for bottles/cans I find).
    Troutbeerbum and dennis3951 like this.
  35. StephenM

    StephenM Initiate (86) Apr 22, 2016 Iowa

    SNPA is like the Toyota you rent, solid and reliable, but you're not drawn to it like something more sporty. I always have the same dilemma when shopping for a PA/IPA: local and fresh vs. national and not so much. I've never had a SNPA on tap, suspect it would be noticeably better.
  36. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,002) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    I really do love me some SNPA, but like others have said, it's a pain in the ass to find fresh and even when you do it's sitting next to beers that are similarly priced for similar (sometimes greater) quality. It's sad for me to say, but the only Sierra Nevada products I now buy often is their Oktoberfest and Nooner. Other than that, I'm not very happy with them. I'm still kinda peeved that they discontinued Stout, Porter and Glissade Golden Bock (yes I know that was years ago...still not over it:persevere:). In all honesty, most of the beers on their release schedule I have little to no interest in.

    This probably should go in the 'controversial opinions on beer' thread....but If I had a kill list for SN it would be:
    • Tropical Torpedo
    • Hoptimum
    • Sidecar
    • Hazy Little Thing
    I'd gladly have a Stout, Porter or Glissade above all those 4 beers. However, my tastes in beer probably don't reflect the current market demos so I won't hold my breath and wouldn't be surprised if they throw on another fruited IPA or two next year. Let's just leave it at that.
    #37 tzieser, Mar 7, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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  37. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,688) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Lets not leave out the retailers who sign off on a delivery of old beer.
    mikeinportc and AlcahueteJ like this.
  38. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,766) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I do not think you are alone here and I would suggest that the declining sales that Sierra Nevada has been experiencing the past two years is indicative of this situation as well.

    I can report with certitude that I personally do not buy Sierra Nevada often since those beers are too old on my local beer retailers' shelves.

    Kadonny and Squire like this.
  39. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,366) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    But, they didn't discontinue the Stout or Porter - but it does seem many SN distributors don't carry them, as well as most retailers not ordering them when they do have them.

    Up here in central Jersey, Shore Point apparently still stocks Porter (using SN's Beer Locator) but when I do find it, the date codes suggest they've been sitting around either at the distributor or the retailer.

    A SNBL search for the Stout, tho', does send me to PA or NYC...:rolling_eyes:
    tzieser likes this.