Will Stone's "Enjoy By' Series influence other brewers re: freshness dating?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by yemenmocha, Jan 30, 2013.


How will Stone's ENJOY BY affect freshness dating in the craft beer market?

  1. Big positive - more breweries will be pressured to use dating

    31 vote(s)
  2. Some positive impact, but not much

    119 vote(s)
  3. No positive impact

    40 vote(s)
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  1. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,482) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Laying my cards on the table here - I love Stone's Enjoy By. Not only do I love the flavors & aromas but I love the in your face stance towards freshness, with the big bold F-you label that screams it is fresh. Some other brewers use pathetic, wimpy, faint freshness dating or even worse - those who use none at all.

    I sincerely hope it raises awareness to a much higher level when it comes to the craft beer market. But, is that wishful thinking? Will things still be much the same where brewers can clearly afford to use a notching sytem or whatever for freshness, but deliberately choose to not do so? Part of me worries that Stone went so unique with the ENJOY BY theme that others can't also do it in quite the same bold way because then they're just copying someone else's idea - so it could possibly backfire in this regard.

    I think it's without doubt that consumer awareness will be increased, but what I'm skeptical about is how much impact it will have on brewers & their decision to have freshness dating of some sort or none at all.
  2. JG-90

    JG-90 Initiate (0) Nov 29, 2012 New Jersey

    I do not think it will have much impact. I do not even think that Stone is doing Enjoy By to give out fresh beer/have other breweries be more cognizant of their freshness.

    In my opinion, Stone is doing this as a giant marketing ploy- taking advantage of supply and demand- putting out an "elite" beer that many beer lovers cannot try
    Bung, Zaphog, beertunes and 2 others like this.
  3. tectactoe

    tectactoe Initiate (0) Mar 20, 2012 Michigan

    It might encourage others to follow in somewhat loose footsteps to create an "ultra-fresh" beer. In one way, that's what Stone did, and that's what they wanted to do - make a hopped up IPA that was to be enjoyed immediately.

    In another way, it is clever marketing by Stone. It puts the urgency of purchase to the forefront by basically saying "you must not only buy, but enjoy this beer on or before this date", putting people in a frenzy to get their hands on this ASAP. As where you may pass on certain beers saying "Ah, I'll get this beer some other time", Stone has basically said, "there is no better time than now".

    I do, however, like the fact that you know you're getting a fresh beer, and it will force bottle shops to keep a fresh stock and possibly offer deals if it doesn't sell quickly (which I'm sure it usually does). Because who's gonna buy it after the due date? Hah.
    ESeab and jglowe77 like this.
  4. chcfan

    chcfan Devotee (466) Oct 29, 2008 California

    It's obviously in part marketing, but Stone is the biggest stickler for freshness outside of RR with their IPAs. It's absolutely about getting their beer out there and to have it enjoyed when it's fresh and at its best. It happens to be really good, too IMO.

    Edit: As to how much impact it will have, I would say minimal to none short term. However, if does make beer fans more cognizant of the importance of freshness, it may lead to some changes down the road sparked by demand for freshness.
  5. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,482) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Yes and I think they're deliberately keeping supply limited so you won't be seeing any of these on shelves anywhere past the indicated date.
    CelticAleMan, jzeilinger and Bung like this.
  6. Goosey

    Goosey Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2012 Missouri

    As the OP indicated, if nothing else, it might make consumers more wary of freshness dates, which could have some impact on brewers. At the high cost of craft beers, we should damn well be able to demand fresh brews, but lets be honest, we are all gonna buy beer one way or another, and breweries know it.
  7. mhksuccess

    mhksuccess Zealot (584) Jul 7, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    I think stone is trying to emulate Russian River and the idea that pliny is suppose to be enjoyed fresh just like
    and a lot of places put bottle dates on it so you can consume as fresh as possible
    i feel like stone is just making a marketing ploy by hyping something up and using marketing techniques such as " you must enjoy by this date" then they flood the market with product and people buy it as fast as possible and consume quickly then do it again, it is a superlative play by the sales department and has nothing to do with putting out a fresh product
    Bung likes this.
  8. chimneyjim

    chimneyjim Initiate (160) Jun 23, 2004 Oregon

    It will have zero impact on other breweries. As reported in other threads and I've personally witnessed time and again, Stone's distributors litter the shelves with past dated beers despite Stone's encouragement to report "old" beer.
    Bung likes this.
  9. tectactoe

    tectactoe Initiate (0) Mar 20, 2012 Michigan

    I will add, though, that I believe in part you may be correct - there was a time when I didn't know or care about bottling dates early in my craft endeavors. Once I became aware of the importance of freshness, however, it changed my purchasing plans completely, especially when realizing how different/off beers can taste (esp. certain styles) when they've been around for too long.

    Seeing Stone advertise this freshness date so blatantly might spark the question in a few people's minds and have them going, "hmm... I wonder if freshness is really that important", which is really all it takes to change their mindset forever. The only question is - how many people (who don't already know/care about freshness) will see this Stone beer and pose this question to themselves? Too few, I believe.
  10. coachdicarlo

    coachdicarlo Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2012 Missouri

    Last summer I was not at all consumed with freshness. For some reason, I found a 4 pack of DFH 90-min IPA that was a year old and bought it. That was the first I'd tried it. It was very so-so. Then I started hearing about the importance of freshness in IPA's and DIPA's and checked the date and saw it was over a year old. Went out and got another (fresher) 4-pack and it tasted totally different (better). Since then, I am somewhat obsessed with freshness.
    powpig2002 and tectactoe like this.
  11. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts

    I would hope so, but I'm not holding my breath. I bet most in the industry roll their eyes over Stone's best by "schtick" due to ignorance or downplaying the role freshness has. Too much money on the line at this point to upset the status quo.
    mychalg9 likes this.
  12. fox227

    fox227 Initiate (0) Nov 19, 2010 California

    I bought a Knee Deep Simtra, and it stated "Enjoy Fresh" on the label, taking after PtE, but then there's no freshness date. That's like a package stating, "don't eat expired food," and then having no expiration date.
    Bung, bastu, afrokaze and 1 other person like this.
  13. KevSal

    KevSal Savant (968) Oct 17, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    im hoping it does. i was at the beer store a few months back when the guy there told me about a brand new beer thats brewed to drink fresh by stone.... too bad he didnt realize all ipas are brewed that way.

    lots of people wont get it.

    in the beer world maybe a few brewers will catch on, i beleive that was the whole point behind these beersin the first place.
  14. TheMonkfish

    TheMonkfish Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Chad

    It definitely can't hurt and I'm loving the increased emphasis on freshness (by brewers, consumers and in some cases kickass bottle shops). It's also great marketing (but in this case it's great marketing that's followed up by a great product and not just a cool bottle with marginal contents.)

    Now that Green Flash started stamping bottles I can consider buying their IPA offerings again I love how Firestone-Walker changed it so you don't need your Spidey senses to read bottle dates. This is a good trend.
  15. papat444

    papat444 Initiate (0) Dec 28, 2006 Quebec (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    Being a "fresh beer" guy, i really wish i could get this one. Hopefully they release it again in a market closer to me (VT would be ideal).
  16. TheTinDoor

    TheTinDoor Aspirant (277) Aug 12, 2012 Maryland

    I've seen 12/12/12 on the shelf in DC for the past month...
  17. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    While a clever marketing venture and a damn delicious beer, I don't think it will have much any influence on how other breweries do business.

    I'm not sure what it will take to mandate breweries to clearly date their bottles but I would certainly sign a petition or help the cause.

    We also need to find a way to quicken the time it takes for beer to get to our shelves. Not every brewery has the pull Stone does to make Enjoy By work.
    jzeilinger likes this.
  18. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,482) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Wow good to know. They're selling out here with bottle limits per customer.
  19. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    I've been championing the 30 day IPA cause for years...

    I think the fundamental problem is the distribution system makes this very difficult on breweries, stores, and the middle men. The issue is compounded by new consumers constantly jumping into craft beer, and IPA freshness is just not something the noobs learn in their craft beer 101 introductions. It takes time for people to figure it out, and by the time they figure it out, there is a whole new batch of noobs eagerly gobbling up 4 month old IPAs off of shelves. Thus the cycle continues.

    Basically, the people who have the power to really help out consumers also have a vested interest in keeping consumers in the dark on the importance of hoppy freshness. It's rather unfortunate, and it's a reminder that in the end craft beer is still a business, despite the touchy feely exterior.

    Long story short - what Stone is doing is a great thing, and they are one of the few large breweries out there that really seems to give a shit about freshness. I would like to hope that other breweries will follow suit, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.
    fmccormi likes this.
  20. EyePeeAyBryan

    EyePeeAyBryan Crusader (703) Dec 20, 2011 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    FYI (and those in PHX), GCM in Gilbert got 5 cases yesterday with no bottle limit.
  21. patkorn

    patkorn Initiate (0) Aug 30, 2007 California

    Agree. And lets not forget they are sending this beer to selected cities where they know it will sell. Try sending to des moine or bismark and see what happens. Pretty sure EVERY brewery that sells beer offsite wants it consumed at optimal freshness but once it leaves the brewery they have no control.
  22. gustogasmic

    gustogasmic Initiate (0) Jan 13, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I live in SW Michigan and I can find anything Stone--- besides the Enjoy Bys. This says something about the beer's limited distro to ensure freshness and I think that's just awesome.

    But I really wanna taste it!

    As for the main question, I think it's certainly a possibility. Stone is one of the giants in the craft beer world and has proven to have much influence in the past, even claiming to have the "first full-time brewed and bottled double IPA on the planet" with the nascence of Ruination in June 2002. (According to the writing on the Ruination Tenth Ann'y bottles) If they can explode a category like that, who's to say they can't up awareness of the importance of freshness to hoppy beer enjoyment by naming their beer after a future date, and slapping it wide across the bomber label? It is certainly clever marketing, if nothing else.
  23. coachdicarlo

    coachdicarlo Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2012 Missouri

    We got the 12/12/12 in St. Louis but doesn't look like we're getting the new one. Must mean it didn't sell well enough here. Too bad cause it's fantastic
  24. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,257) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    No, each batch only goes to a handful of markets. See their website http://www.stonebrewing.com/enjoyby/
  25. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    This. And even more to that point, it seems they're actually poking fun (in Stone's still-completely-relevant "we're so cool" manner) at how some people are very concerned with beer freshness. Which is especially "funny" within the context of the MA market, where Stone is well known for letting things sit on shelves for months gathering dust, not doing anything unless there's a public callout.

    Believe me, I'd LOVE to see more bottle dating, and clearer bottle dating, on ALL craft beers.

    But a brief gimmick by Stone isn't going to impact that.
    chimneyjim likes this.
  26. Giovannilucano

    Giovannilucano Devotee (452) Feb 24, 2011 New Jersey

    A quick point you have made that screams values: those that are bold are challenged by those who are timid. It is not weak to be timid, but it seems that one someone is confident and strong in their convictions, the negative is also implied first.

    I applaud Stone for their bold approach...
    jzeilinger likes this.
  27. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,482) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    I suppose but what I meant by the dig was that some brewers make it hard to read, small, or encode it because there's a sense that they really don't want too many people to know it and use it. To me this means they still want their beer to sell on shelves when past the expiration, or after a lengthy time from the bottling date. It's an ugly truth for some brewers out there, unfortunately.
    Giovannilucano likes this.
  28. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Devotee (400) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Beer Trader

    We want "bottled on" dates not "enjoy by" dates. Stones Enjoy By beers are excellant, but I would not pay full price for one anywhere near the enjoy by date. It's over-extended. The beer is faded a month prior to that date.

    Why not just tell us when it was bottled? They can go on from there to make their reccomendations about age, but then ultimately it is up to the consumer to make the choice based on his own preferences. Frankly "Drink by" dates are worlthless when you don't know the formula used to produce them. Breweries don't use the same formulas so It's deceptive in my opinion.
  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,257) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    They do - "Bottled On: 01.11.13 Enjoy By Date: 02.15.13"
  30. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    I agree completely with you outside of when you said not to drink Enjoy By near its besy by date. The beer life cycle here is 35 days....are you telling me even that is too long to wait to drink it?
  31. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Devotee (400) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Beer Trader

    That's excellant.

    I'm not ragging on Stone specifically, just making the general statement that drink by dates don't mean jack squat. IIPAs often put thoise out 6 months or more. Bottled on dates are unambiguous.

    BTW, Texas received Enjoy By 12/21/12 in mid November. I bought it on 11/24 (there was no "bottled on" date on my bottle.) Also, Stone must be shortening the time-span between bottled on and Enjoy by, because you're indicating to me there's a 35 day time-span posted on the Enjoy by 02.15.13 .... there's no way that my 12/21/12 had that short a span. We just don't get Stone beers that quickly in Texas.
  32. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,257) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    "Bottled On: 11.16.12 - Enjoy By Date: 12.21.12"

    (Don't know why the link in my post above, though in light blue, doesn't work for me. Should have directed to http://www.stonebrewing.com/enjoyby/ ).
  33. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Devotee (400) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Beer Trader

    No I'm not. 35 days is excellant! If that is indeed the span now I was speaking out of my ASS.

    However, the only "Enjoy By" release that we received in N. Texas was 12.21.12. I bought it in Texas on 11/24/12. If that was brewed a week prior to when I received it.... that would make it the fastest delivery time to North Texas in history! I was assuming, like most other CA beers (including Stone), that we received it a minimum of 6 weeks after it's bottled on. My 12.21.12 had no bottled on date BTW. Which really illustrates my point. Enjoy by dates SUCK. Bottled on dates are what we need because they are unambiguous.
  34. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Devotee (400) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Okay, egg's on my face. But it also explains why 12.21.12 was the only "Enjoy By" release we have received. Just goes to show you how much old crap we USUALLY must be getting. See what I mean? All the Stone stuff has a "drink by" date. But Without any indication of a "bottled on" date it's pretty useless. This high-profile age-sensitive release aint coming to us anymore. We got only one of them. How much other time sensitive stuff should never hit the shelves?
  35. SoggyCoasters

    SoggyCoasters Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2013 New Jersey

    Id love to see an "Enjoy By" series for Nugget Nectar and Flower Power
  36. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    Stone has historically taken beer freshness very seriously. This isn't a gimmick. I mean, what other brewery cares enough about freshness to put up a page like this:

    (and they act on it too)
  37. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,257) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Both those beers are date coded - when I find Flower Power (difficult the last year or so), it's usually 2 weeks or less from bottling. Nugget Nectar is similar - we'll see within the week which bottling date(s) NJ gets this year.
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  38. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    My experience differs, albiet only in a couple specific circumstance.

    I will give them that they at least date their bottles.

    That said- I still think this specific beer/series is a gimmick poking fun at beer geeks' obsession with fresh IPAs. Whatever- I rarely buy Stone anyway.

    Still doubt it will have any overall impact on bottle dating. Would be nice if it did- heck, if a bunch of brewers came out and said "Ya know what, this Enjoy by brew from Stone made us think, and we'll now be dating our bottles", I'd go out and blow the whole next beer run on Stone brews just based on principle.


    If they were fresh.
  39. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    Flower Power is only dated on the case, correct? Or are they doing bottle dates now?

    Dating by stamping the case... better than nothing, but if you don't have the cardboard case for reference... not quite as useful.
  40. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,257) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    There's only been one other "vintage" (edition?) of Enjoy By since then - 2/15/13. They only ship each one to a limited number of markets at one time, and I don't think many markets have gotten more than one (NJ did- but both times they disappeared fast. I only got one bottle of the last one - also 12/21/12 - and that was only because I walked in the store when the case was still sitting on the distributor's handtruck).
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