I was talking with Fred Colby, Owner and Brewmaster for Laughing Dog Brewery, and he informed me that the Coeur d’Alene Brewery had shut down. That was quick. They made a pretty good pale ale that I reviewed about 8 months ago. At the time I thought Hummph…Thats too bad.
Now you all know I am not a huge fan of Pete’s Wicked Ale. I did a guest review over at Thank Heaven for beer on their Strawberry Blonde, and basically thought it tasted like crap! However you must give a pioneer his due, and I was a little late on the craft beer scene to try Pete’s Wicked before it was bought out and watered down and is now the crap we know today as Pete’s Wicked. Well, that business model won’t cut it anymore in this ever more cutthroat business of craft beer. Pete’s Wicked, it was announced today by the Gambrinus Company, will no longer be distributed and is being dropped from production. I saw this story today over at The Brew Club posted by Bob the Brit…
There Bob recalls that Pete’s was one of the brews that pulled him into the craft beer scene. Interestingly enough I also saw another post last week that said that craft breweries in the country had just topped 1700. (I’m sorry, but I can’t remember where I saw that or I would link it for you.) Anyway the person that posted that was very excited about the fact that craft beer and brewing were becoming so popular and all the choice etc that was available to the consumer at this time. At the time I thought there are externalities in play that will, in a very heartless way bring the craft beer “business” into an equilibrium. Well Pete’s is a well known casualty of that equilibrium process, and to a lesser extent so is Coeur d’Alene brewing.
Whether you liked Pete’s Wicked, or thought it was bad like I did, you can’t deny that it was a well established brand that had struggled to the point that the decision was made to cut it loose. As more brands combine into larger companies (lookin’ at you Craft Beer Alliance) the smaller beers that you may love will fall victim to their inability to gain market share, and good brews will be lost, potentially forever.
This is the business side of the industry we all love. There will be winners and losers, and clearly Pete’s Wicked was a very well known loser. I think we will see more of this, and the losses will become more and more painful. What do you think? Does the cream always rise, or will we see good beer lost because of business? Let us know in the comments.