SweetWater Brewery acquiring Green Flash Brewing/Alpine Beer Co.

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by shand, Dec 20, 2021.

  1. shand

    shand Poo-Bah (1,741) Jul 13, 2010 Florida
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    More at the story: https://www.sandiegobeer.news/blog/beer-news/sweetwaterbreweryacquiringgreenflashbrewing
  2. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (6,503) Mar 25, 2013 Connecticut
    Moderator Society Trader

    If I understand the article correctly, Green Flash and Alpine labels will continue under SweetWater - as in, you can buy SweetWater Alpine Nelson and SweetWater Green Flash Palate Wrecker, however they choose to carry on the names) - but the breweries themselves are both gone forever. Neither Green Flash nor Alpine will exist; just the recipes, now brewed somewhere else, by someone else.

    I know this sort of thing has gone on for a long, long time in the world of big beer. It just feels kind of wrong - and sad.
  3. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (4,132) Dec 11, 2006 California
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    More like Green Flash in the pan :stuck_out_tongue: In reality though, seeing once great Alpine like this is a bummer.
  4. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Aspirant (222) Apr 9, 2015 California

    Kinda makes me angry even though i haven't bought shit from them in over a decade
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I really have to wonder if this is a prudent business move.

    I had the pleasure of drinking a bottle of Alpine beer (Duet) that was brewed by the original Alpine brewery and that beer was excellent. Then Green Flash (California) purchased Alpine and started brewing Alpine beers and by all reports they were not as good. Later Green Flash started brewing beers at their new East Coast brewery (Virginia Beach) and I had a number of those beers (varying brands, both on draft and packaged) and they were of varying quality - some were good and others were meh. At that point I gave up on Green Flash (Alpine) beers since they just weren't worth the price they charged.

    Will the Sweetwater (Colorado) brewed beers be any better? I am personally never going to know since I have decided to 'write off' these beers.

  6. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,192) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    At least @RaulMondesi got in a nice "Green Flash in the pan" crack. Anyway, I sold GF in the early 00s and could sell all of the WCIPA that we received each delivery (generally 4 pallets) in three days. The red and stout did OK, but the WCIPA and Imperial IPA (22oz only) were the stars of the Green Flash Show. The Belgian line-up never worked in North Carolina at all, and it was the beginning of the end here. In retrospect I would say that GF tried to grow way too fast and had stars in their eyes. Brand loyalty generally became less of a business driver as skads of brands deluged the market. Say 2010 forward.
  7. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,267) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Since Cali has a law preventing Non-compete clauses, I wonder if the owners of GF/Alpine will just take the money and start another brewery?
    BrewsOverHoes, BigIronH and ChicagoJ like this.
  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    How long did you sell Green Flash beers?

    There was a time (2010 I think) when Green Flash switched from six-packs to four-packs and in my area jacked up the price on a per ounce basis. I remember having a conversation with an employee of a local beer retailer (Whole Foods) when this occurred and I commented that I would no longer be buying packaged Green Flash beers. He was shocked to hear me say this since he was of the opinion that Green Flash beers were 'top notch'. I replied that if they are going to use a change in packaging (6 -> 4) to raise their prices they are a business I will no longer support.

    I did still drink Green Flash beers on tap afterwards since they price of a draft pint was still the same.

  9. beerjerk666

    beerjerk666 Poo-Bah (3,150) Aug 22, 2010 Florida
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    Gave up on GF beers a long time ago. The quality dropped off and the change from 6 to 4 packs with a price increase, mentioned by @JackHorzempa was the last straw. Which kinda sucked, because WCIPA and Palate Wrecker were phenomenal back in the day.
    Never had a chance to have any Alpine.
    BrewsOverHoes likes this.
  10. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,192) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Circa 04-12. And sure enough when they did the candy bar switch (smaller product and bigger price) sales slowed significantly.
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The Alpine brands as brewed at the Alpine Brewery (Alpine, CA) 'back in the day' were excellent beers. Just a damn shame what happened to those beers over the years with the various changes to where the beers were produced (e.g., Alpine Brewery -> Green Flash Brewery (CA) -> Green Flash Brewery (Virginia Beach)).

    If the goal of Green Flash Brewing was to 'damage' a beer brand they succeeded here IMO. And then there was the business decision as regards the packaging change for the Green Flash brands.

    There is an old saying: You can't out the genie back in the bottle.


  12. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Defender (637) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    Get ready for Dank Tank Palate Wrecker
  13. beerjerk666

    beerjerk666 Poo-Bah (3,150) Aug 22, 2010 Florida
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    Ugh, that decision to change GF the labels was effin' horrendous! That font was absolute shit.
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The business acumen of Green Flash Brewing Co. can pretty much be summed up:


    Why Sweetwater thinks this is a brand worth purchasing? :confused:
    Scrapss, turfy, JayORear and 8 others like this.
  15. beerjerk666

    beerjerk666 Poo-Bah (3,150) Aug 22, 2010 Florida
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    Agreed! I believe it's too late to recoup any of what the brand used to be. The damage is done and the chance to revive it are long gone. That ship has sailed, unfortunately.
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    FWIW, the best rationalization I can think of for why Sweetwater made a decision to purchase the Green Flash/Alpine brands is:
    • In July Sweetwater decided to purchase the Red Truck brewery in Ft. Collins, CO
    • They need to 'better' utilize this new production facility and brewing the Green Flash/Alpine brands there will 'justify' this new facility acquisition
    Is there a sufficient consumer market for Sweetwater produced Green Flash/Alpine beers? I suppose time will tell.

    The only thing I know with certitude is that I will not be buying these 'new' beers since I have already been 'burned' by these brands in the past. Too many other high(er) quality products out there to 'waste' my money here.

  17. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 Poo-Bah (2,881) Jan 4, 2013 California
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    So.. can I get a Rayon Vert during my layover at ATL or..?
    keithmurray, VAcrossr, Squire and 8 others like this.
  18. JamFuel

    JamFuel Poo-Bah (7,470) Mar 26, 2009 Sweden
    Moderator Society

    Green Flash was one of the first American breweries I got into, and the classic WC IPA was a damn good beer. A shame, but it seems like the leadership hasn’t really known what they were doing for quite a while.
    Scrapss, JayORear and jasonmason like this.
  19. jasonmason

    jasonmason Devotee (497) Oct 6, 2004 California
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    Well that's a shame. I definitely agree with the sentiment that GF grew way too fast, and I still remember the 6- to 4-pack nonsense that pissed a lot of people off (myself included). In it's day though, WCIPA was to me one of the archetypes of, well, west coast IPA. Great stuff. It's been very good to see that Chuck Silva moved on to create his own (excellent) namesake of a brewery post-GF.

    The nostalgic logo/branding talk makes me chuckle, only because at the time I recall a number of posters talking about how the new branding was great and kept GF 'current' and was 'needed to stay relevant'. I'd like to hope there would be some reflection about the perils of rebranding and brand recognition.
    sharpski likes this.
  20. wponz

    wponz Initiate (110) Dec 22, 2005 California

    I can see Pat and Shawn Mcilhenney right now with a big smile on their faces, having a Mcilhenney beer.
  21. officerbill

    officerbill Champion (882) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    That law pretty much applies to employment contracts. Sounds like the Green Flash owners just want to pay off debt, close up shop, and move on to something else.
    BBThunderbolt likes this.
  22. cg123

    cg123 Initiate (100) Feb 27, 2012 Ohio

    I am amazed at the "fall" of two iconic west coast breweries in Green Flash and Ballast Point (three if you want to count Alpine). When I first got in to beer 15 years are, anything from GF and BP was highly sought after. When they showed up in Ohio it sold like crazy. Crazy Crazy. Sweetwater probably bought GF cheap like Kings and Convicts did with BP.
    deanzaZZR and Stignacious like this.
  23. FLBeerGuy

    FLBeerGuy Poo-Bah (1,612) Feb 6, 2007 Florida
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    Potential good news for Delta Airlines Frequent Flyers, since Sweetwater is a supplier for them. Maybe this will lead to an expansion of choices on Delta flights. Although, based on opinions being voiced their beer and Alpine is not the same since the previous acquisitions. I loved both breweries prior to the acquisitions. Haven't had either of them post acquisition. I remember the first time I had WCIPA on tap, it was so bitter I could barely finish it. This was before I had acquired a taste for West Coast IPAs
  24. Franziskaner

    Franziskaner Poo-Bah (4,995) May 27, 2005 Missouri
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    I remember both breweries fondly during their heyday. Green Flash West Coast IPA used to be one of my favorites. They did get pricey and then I remember them aging on the shelves everywhere.

    I went to visit the Alpine Brewery during a trip to San Diego. It was a bit more of a hike than anticipated and I think my wife wasn't too thrilled by how long the trek was out of the way, but we had a great meal and some great beer. Much to my surprise a few months later Alpine got distribution to Missouri and I remember getting more Duet and Pure Hoppiness. A few months later it was gone and I haven't seen it really much since even on trips to California.

    I think it just goes to show you can have a great product, but if you don't have the right people making sound decisions it can all still go south.

    I would be open to trying these beers again if I saw them brewed by Sweetwater, but I suspect I would be disappointed.
    BrewsOverHoes, mikeinportc and JLaw55 like this.
  25. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (661) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I'm more curious about who might buy the brewery. From the OP's article link:

    "...former Green Flash ownership will maintain possession of the company’s brewing and cellar equipment as well as other assets at its headquarters. The 45,000-square-foot facility is expected to be put on the market for entrepreneurs interested in a turnkey brewery opportunity..."

    Who is expanding and looking for a brewery like that? We will find out...
  26. PatKorn

    PatKorn Initiate (177) Aug 30, 2007 California

    I bet quite a few ex GF/Alpine employees are getting a good chuckle out of all of this.
    BrewsOverHoes likes this.
  27. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,935) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    the original owners of Alpine currently own and operate Mcilhenny brewing in Alpine, California. Folks seem to be fairly happy with their quality
  28. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Zealot (524) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    The production space there is quite large fwiw

    I think you’re onto something…
    BrewsOverHoes and JackHorzempa like this.
  29. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,226) Oct 11, 2010 Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands
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    They already did that. GF v1 was helmed by Mike Hinkley, who oversaw the rapid expansion and subsequent shitting of the bed. The assets were acquired out of bankruptcy by WCIPA LLC which was led by, you guessed it, Mike Hinkley. Apparently Mike was able to convince new investors that someone else was the problem that time, don’t know what his excuse is this time.
  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania


    “The former Red Truck space — which comes in at a whopping 32,450 square feet — will undergo an extensive renovation of its brewing, packaging and taproom areas in hopes of opening the new SweetWater location Oct. 1, according to SweetWater.”


    I know that Red Truck also did some contract brewing. Do you have any idea how much this facility was utilized when Red Truck was operating there?

    BrewsOverHoes likes this.
  31. Xpotential

    Xpotential Initiate (107) Dec 27, 2007 California

    No doubt.
    BrewsOverHoes likes this.
  32. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Defender (697) Mar 28, 2009 California

    Cans of old bad boys sitting on warm shelves at total wine is a travesty.
    BrewsOverHoes and RaulMondesi like this.
  33. wet_hopz

    wet_hopz Initiate (5) Sep 2, 2021

    Such a fantastic beer. People said it was a Orval clone but I actually liked it better. So much Brett
  34. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 Poo-Bah (2,881) Jan 4, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Same. It was absolutely epic.
    BrewsOverHoes likes this.
  35. BrewsOverHoes

    BrewsOverHoes Meyvn (1,408) Nov 17, 2013 Georgia
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    That’s a beer name I haven’t heard in awhile…
  36. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Poo-Bah (1,876) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    What is sad is the Green Flash and Alpine beers beers on the shelf right now.

    I doubt Sweetwater could do worse.
    Scrapss likes this.
  37. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,267) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    I never for a moment thought it was anything like Orval.
    jasonmason likes this.
  38. PatKorn

    PatKorn Initiate (177) Aug 30, 2007 California

    Broke out a couple of bottles from the third batch made. Drinking so lovely right now and it actually did not gush out all over the place. Miss that beer.
  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,283) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Maybe you could start a petition to get Sweetwater to re-brew Rayon Vert?

    Squire and readyski like this.
  40. PatKorn

    PatKorn Initiate (177) Aug 30, 2007 California

    With weed...