As 2017 gets into its second month breweries either already have its plans all lined out or are just finalizing. The success of previous creations — be it a one-off or a plan for a new seasonal, or even ramping up something that could be a core brand — have leant themselves to what could be the future.
Brands released by Florida’s Funky Buddha, for example included an entire line of beers called the “Little Buddha Small Batch Series” said the brewery’s John Linn.
It was a rotating series of 22-ounce bombers each month.
The entire line was a big success according to Linn, but the most notable new brand of the bunch included some barrel-aged beers — Morning Wood and Last Buffalo in the Park — which created a huge amount of positive buzz for the brewery and sold very well.
“Both are of the very rare/extreme ilk and are brands we’ve had periodically on draft over the years, but this large scale release allowed us for the first time to really get a decent amount of this barrel-aged beer to market,” Linn said. “In Florida, I think this fills a consumer gap where typically these sort of highly sought after BA beers are only available at the breweries they are made at, where we got out to distribution in a large way.”
On draft before 2016, Eureka, California’s Lost Coast added Watermelon Wheat to its bottle lineup and it took off.
“The quality of the beer sells itself,” said Chris Pennington, the brewery’s marketing and design manager. “It has done very well in the marketplace. We expect it to surpass Tangerine Wheat at the No. 2 in our lineup.”
Pennington said that maintaining high standards and doing what the market demands helps dictate what the brewery does in the future.
It’s not always the case, noted Pennington. In 2015, adding Arrgh! Pale Ale was not as much of a success. Pennington said sales did not reach expectations.
“Perhaps it is the name chosen for the brand?” he pondered. “But the beer itself is wonderful.”
A launch of seasonal cans and non-alcoholic beverages started in 2016 for Caldera Brewing. A Belgian-Style White Ale in the summer, Dry Hop Orange Session IPA in the fall and South Side Ale in the winter along with Ginger Ale, Root Beer, Soda Hop and Hibiscus Rose Petal Ice Tea all debuted for the Oregon brewery.
“Expectations were not very high,” said founder Jim Mills, adding that he expects the next two years to be an indicator of the success of the launches.
For Beth Bechtel at Boise, Idaho’s Bear Island Brewing, a launch of bottles was the brewery’s first and it found inroads for new paths of distribution.
“It has determined for us that it is a very good idea to do specialties to keep our consumer’s interest in our brand peaked as well as develop more loyalty towards us,” she said. “[The launch] actually went better than we thought.”