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What is Anchor up to?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by alucard6679, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (259) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    Ever since I first started getting into beer Anchor has been one of my favorites (they still are). I love that they focused on an amazing core lineup. Anchor Steam and Anchor Porter are probably both within my top 20 at least, and Anchor Christmas is one of the best things about winter. But it seems that lately the tone has changed and as a long time fan I don't quite know how to feel about it. I don't want to sound like that guy that wants to tell people how to run their business but from where I'm standing it seems like an odd shift with the past year or two. A lot of releases from them that seem a bit lackluster and maybe even a bit forced. Like now they have a fruit flavored IPA? Is it just a sign of the times? I don't know. Still love 'em, but I figured I'd see if any of you guys have some insight/opinion or have been feeling the same way?

    Cheers!
     
    Tdizzle, joaopmgoncalves and Andy311x like this.
  2. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (769) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Maytag was content to let Anchor remain the same size. The new aren't that's all that going on. Have to agree with you that the new releases seem forced and don't meet the high standards of the core lineup.
     
    Andy311x, zid and alucard6679 like this.
  3. tzieser

    tzieser Champion (852) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I agree in regards to their mediocre (IMO) new releases except for their lager. I love that beer. I'd buy it more often if it weren't so pricey.
     
    alucard6679 likes this.
  4. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (769) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    The lager is a great brew but I consider it part of the core now.
     
    Tdizzle likes this.
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    I had to go to the Anchor website to look that up: a Blackberry IPA!?!

    My guess is that Anchor is creating all of these new beers to provide the beer consumers that are interested in the 'next new thing' something to buy. Sierra Nevada added two new year round beers in 2016: Sidecar (brewed with orange) and Tropical IPA.

    The business environment for distributing craft breweries is very, very competitive right now. It seems that many (most?) of the large(r) distributing craft breweries think this means they need to add more and 'exciting' beers to their product line to increase (or maintain) sales?

    Cheers!
     
  6. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,317) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Most likely the new beers coming out are to adapt to the new trends because you need to adapt to survive. And I believe the Christmas ale is a different recipe every year. You may have just gotten bunk batches you didn't care for although I hear last year's was one of the best in recent memory.
     
    Tdizzle and alucard6679 like this.
  7. zp6167a

    zp6167a Aspirant (233) Apr 19, 2011 District of Columbia
    Beer Trader

    I also feel that Mark Carpenter's stepping down from his head brewer duties (after having brewed for them for 40 years) has played a pretty significant role in the changes at Anchor over the past year plus as well.
     
    Tdizzle, HeilanCoo and alucard6679 like this.
  8. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,028) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Supporter Beer Trader

    I dunno, for whatever reason that Blackberry IPA caught my eye. I'm game to give a few bottles a shot.
     
    Tdizzle, alucard6679 and tzieser like this.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Michael, let me know what you think of this beer.

    Cheers!
     
  10. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (259) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    That is likely, all things considered. It's just shocking as it's the last brewery I always expected that from. I hope they can make it work though, and I'll continue to support them. Just odd at first, you know?

    Oh and I love Christmas Ale (especially the fact that they switch it up every year), this past season's as well. Not sure if that came across wrong in my OP.
     
    Urk1127 likes this.
  11. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (259) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    Just noticed it the other day and have yet to try it, but I plan to. It's just weird because I've always seen Anchor as that brewery that sort of seems to transcend the current trends of the beer world and live on their own terms. Probably an unrealistic notion, just the way it always seemed.
     
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  12. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (259) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona


    Are you referring to the California Lager? I did like that, but they have a lemon lager now that I was excited to try but really didn't care for.
     
    tzieser likes this.
  13. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (259) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona


    This is true, definitely a very competitive time and it's interesting to see how a lot if the established breweries are handling that. Breweries like Stone are especially interesting to watch right now.

    I liked Sidecar from Sierra Nevada, could see myself buying it from time to time. Wasn't bug on the Tropical Torpedo though...Like, it wasn't bad, but I'd probably rather just have regular Torpedo. Cheers!
     
    B_B likes this.
  14. reefer_bob

    reefer_bob Disciple (336) May 13, 2014 California
    Beer Trader

    I've been quite disappointed by the majority of their new beers. I really like their core line up.

    Go West IPA was not good, Anchor IPA was also substandard, the Spring Saison was vile, double liberty, odeprot... all meh.
     
    alucard6679 likes this.
  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    I have had Sidecar a few times (draft pints). I think it is a nice, enjoyable beer. I don't know whether I would choose to buy a 6-pack of this beer but I did enjoy drinking those draft pints on those few occasions.

    I have yet to try Tropical IPA but I will order a draft pint once I see it on tap.

    Cheers!
     
    alucard6679 likes this.
  16. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,317) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Blackberry? Please elaborate?
     
  17. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,028) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Supporter Beer Trader

    No problem. I'll report back here most likely. It'll be some time in April, though.

    It's all over my Twitter feed lately, called Blackberry Daze, so that's all I know. I'm hoping that it's a nicely balanced blend of flavors, and not similar to a wine cooler. If it's hoppy like an IPA that would seem a good bet.
     
    alucard6679 likes this.
  18. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Defender (664) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    Anchor Brewing has been one of my all time favorite breweries for many decades.....since Fritz and Mark C are no longer involved and there is new ownership, of course there will be some changes as they update their core brews and see what trends are popular out there now.....fruit in IPA's is obviously a big thing now, hence their new Blackberry Daze IPA.....I have enjoyed all there new beers, just wish our shitty NE OH distributor would get their beers out into the marketplace here on a more regular basis.....Anchor Steam, Anchor Liberty Ale, Our Special (Christmas) Ale, Old Foghorn, and Anchor Porter are all decades old icons that deserve respect and the honoring of their place in the modern "craft movement", which goes back to the 1970's.....cheers!
     
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  19. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (497) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Was excited for that Blackberry IPA, but really didn't like it all sadly. Just didn't work for me.
     
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Do you have examples of fruited IPAs that you did like?

    Cheers!
     
  21. afrokaze

    afrokaze Zealot (580) Jun 12, 2009 Arizona
    Industry Beer Trader

    I had the Blackberry IPA recently and didn't find it to be too bad, just sort of average really. The blackberry flavor isn't that apparent to me, but it did have a bit of that fruity tartness and the reddish/purple color. Not bad, but I'm probably not going back for another any time soon. The new Liberty IPA is pretty enjoyable, but it doesn't hold a candle to Double Liberty. They really need to bring that one back soon! Like others have said, I was a little sad to see one of my favorite breweries chasing trends, but nobody is immune to the market shifts I guess. I just want to see more Breckle's Brown on the shelves, plus the return of Anchor Bock and Humming Ale!
     
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  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    But none of those beers match the present day trends. What do you think the chances are of those beers making a comeback?

    Cheers!
     
  23. DJturnstile

    DJturnstile Initiate (48) Sep 2, 2015 California
    Beer Trader

    I used to be addicted to that Breckle's brown! I saw it on a list at a beer garden in Brooklyn and it was the first new thing I had seen by them in ages. It was so good.
     
    afrokaze likes this.
  24. afrokaze

    afrokaze Zealot (580) Jun 12, 2009 Arizona
    Industry Beer Trader

    Unfortunately very little at this point, it's hops, fruit, barrel aging, and sour or nothing these days it seems.
     
    tlema1 likes this.
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    That is basically my understanding of today's craft beer trends. Maybe add Turbid IPA to the list.

    Cheers!
     
    afrokaze likes this.
  26. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (497) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Sidecar from Sierra Nevada I liked quite a bit. As are the draft only versions of Jungle Juiced Head Hunter and Super Juicy Hop JuJu from Fat Head's. Hoof Hearted Slippery When Wet (Mango added).

    There are probably a couple others, but those are four off the top of my head.

    We will be in Northern California in two weeks, stopping at Anchor. Look forward to trying their other stuff on draft! (and the tour). Maybe fresh on draft I will like it more.
     
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  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    I recently had some draft pints of Sidecar and I too enjoyed drinking those beers.

    The only fruited hoppy beer that I am a BIG fan of is Grapefruit Sculpin.

    I am guessing that in 2017 we will see more fruited IPAs being produced; these seems to be a recent trend.

    Cheers!
     
    alucard6679 likes this.
  28. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (259) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona


    I actually enjoyed the grapefruit IPA that Abita came out with a year or two ago.
     
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  29. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

  30. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,179) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Supporter Subscriber

    I attended a really interesting marketing meeting recently. I think my company is similar to some brewers - we're big but not huge with a history dating back to the 1930's. We have "flagship" products, but offer a broad range of goods. We're in a category in the grocery store that is suffering from overall decline in consumption and while we're still the big dog, the food bowl is getting smaller. So in my mind, the similarities are there.

    Our number one seller continues to be our flagship product that we've made for 80-ish years with minimal changes. But here's what the marketing data says - yes, people buy the flagship repeatedly, but they also grab the "new shiny" at the same time. We're a trusted brand in the eyes of the consumer, so they expect us to introduce new flavors. They expect those new flavors to be at least of high quality even if they might not find the new flavors totally delicious, point is they try them, continue to buy the flagship products, and repeat sales on the new stuff tell us whether R&D has delivered a paid off on a new product.

    There was a LOT of talk around here a few years ago where there was serious consideration being given to abandoning the flagship products and completely reinventing the company to regain "relevance with the consumer". This recent data seems to say good thing that didn't happen.

    Seems quite similar to me. I don't know Anchor that well, but I seem to recall a what the hell are they doing thread about Sierra and Sidecar and the tropical Torpedo. So I reckon that SNPA and Torpedo are the flagships and volume leaders by a wide margin, yet volume is declining. So what are SN - or Anchor or anybody else with moderate to large scale distro - gonna do? Sit around and wait to go out of business as sales decline? Pull back and become a smaller player? Seem like at least for the near term they are going to put out different products and see what sticks, hopefully maintaining the sales of the flagship, selling some incremental volume with the new products, and maybe snagging some new consumers who might be looking for these flavored variants. That stops working, they will go on to something else, or they won't and eventually Dandy Don sings "turn out the lights".

    So good for them - Anchor is trying this strategy that, by the way, does not seemed aimed at the Beer Advocate crowd specifically, and hopefully it keeps the wolves at bay. Maybe they pick up incremental volume, and people say "this is good, I'll try their XYZ..." I have heard from a lot of casual drinkers how great they think Frootwood is, for example, but that has been pretty polarizing around here. But it's really no win for them here in our subset of a subset of beer drinkers - they do nothing and eventually fall off the map and "we the BAnation" would bemoan the loss. If they try new things and "we" as the aggregate BA hive mind don't particularly like them, we pine for the "old days" and the wheel spins 'round. We are far from a bunch of brand-loyal consumers and are barely brewery-loyal by what I can see.

    Short answer to "what are they doing" is they are trying to stay in business in an industry where things are shifting dramatically, and their consumer world is more vast than BA-verse.
     
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  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Larry,

    Isn’t this exactly what AB has been doing for the past decade+?

    They introduced new products like:

    · Budweiser Black Crown

    · Beck’s Sapphire

    · Fruit*-a-Rita

    · Etc.

    *Lime, Strawberry, Lemon, Mango, Grape, next fruit?

    Has this product extension strategy reversed the decline in sales volume (as measured in barrels) for AB?

    @jesskidden

    Cheers!
     
  32. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,179) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Supporter Subscriber

    No it hasn't if I recall the trends correctly, and I would rely on jesskidden infinitely more than me on that. But diversifying the portfolio seems to be a valid strategy depending on the business model. I think AB continues to invest heavily into the mothership, though, based on Bud and BL ads. I think back to the "new" Coke - blew everything up and put all the effort into something people didn't want. I just read a similar business article about the mistakes McDonald's have made trying to cater to whims - people who go to McDonald's simply aren't looking for the "healthy" choices. So I can see it can have the "why bother" feel to it, but if things go the way they are, what's going to be left? Everybody will be back to small distribution except for a very few. And a lot will be out of business. Well, I think more than a few are headed there anyway but that's been my opinion for a long while as you know.

    It doesn't always work - even for us it can get pretty frayed around the edges and all we have really been able to do is hold onto a greater percentage of the overall shrinking pie in certain business units.But I do believe, to some extent, that offering different things can help. I also believe you can't forget who ya brought to the dance and you have to value those ""tried and true" products just as much even if they are "cash cows".

    And like the smaller "national" brewers, we're in a sort of limbo - damned if we do and damned if we don't. The heritage the company enjoys will eventually run out and we're seeing that in the demographics - the average age of our consumer is pretty high and our trend is backwards. Usually sales drop off with consumer age - ours goes up. Are we replenishing, or are there just huge numbers of people who grew up with our products and when it flushes through are we done for? Maybe...hopefully after four more years of gainful employment...

    It was funny - I was sitting at this meeting next to the former farm brewer who works for us. I said hey, all we gotta do is put 1000 pounds of hops/batch in half our batches, barrel-age the other half, put a $25 per liter price tag on the stuff, sell it Thursday - Saturday only at the plant parking lots with a 6 bottle limit...problem solved.
     
  33. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (259) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    I think this is a valid strategy assuming that there is sufficient retail space (shelf space in the context of bottled/canned beers) for an expanding portfolio of product. Based upon my observations of my local beer store this is not the case. There is more and more product (including ever increasing amounts of locally produced product) and not enough existing shelf space. It is getting to be a real challenge for beer store owners/managers to decide which beers they will place on the shelf. Even for established breweries like Sierra Nevada some store owners are going to say: "Hey, wait a minute here. I can't place all of your packaged beers on my shelf. I have to sell some of my locally produced beers too."
    Yup, there will indeed be more consolidation occurring in 2017 along with some breweries going out of business. There is simply more beer out there than customers. Even if the craft beer industry could 'create' some more customers I don't see this changing that situation.
    Based upon what I am witnessing in my area, that sounds like a winning business plan:
    • Produce and sell locally
    • Use tons of hops (including hop dust)
    • Everything is better in a barrel :rolling_eyes:
    • Price it high because the buy local folks equate high price with high quality
    Do you need an investor?:wink:

    Cheers!
     
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  35. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,028) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Supporter Beer Trader

    You forgot the crappy canning line to heighten the need to drink it NOW!!! :slight_smile:
     
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