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Nov 8, 2013 06:07 PM

Bear Republic withdrawing from east coast?

I heard a rumor that Bear Republic will stop distributing its beers in the east. I haven't been able to find any confirmation of this in my (admittedly non-exhaustive) search online.

Do any hounds know whether there's any truth to this? I'm already feeling Racer 5 withdrawal coming on....

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  1. Have not heard anything. But it is still readily available in Philadelphia.

    1. it sounds like the issue has been capacity, and just last week Bear Republic announced an agreement with Cloverdale CA to help build new wells to service the locality. They are supposed to come on line mid 2014. Who knows how Bear will choose to distirbute its beer in the interim but the announcement says that Bear Republic is committed to exponential growth over the next few years. Hardly sounds like a brewery that will withdraw from markets.

      4 Replies
      1. re: cwdonald

        There are quite a few examples of breweries that have pulled out of far away markets in recent years and are still experiencing overall growth.

        1. re: LStaff

          While I agree that you can still grow while limiting distribution, I find it hard to experience exponential growth while pulling out of large markets. Frankly i do wish that breweries would limit their distribution more because the quality of the product can suffer. Or if you are going to grow do what SN and other breweries have done.. build a second brewery.

          1. re: cwdonald

            Many growing breweries have had to apply the brakes while adding capacity. In the case of Bear Republic, the brewery faces some water-supply constraints, which they are working to alleviate.

            A few years ago Dogfish Head was having problems supplying adequate quantities in its core market, causing it to back off in some areas.

            Yuengling faced a similar problem a while back and pulled out of some markets for a time.

            1. re: Jim Dorsch

              I know about all of those cases. But when the brewery has solved its water supply problem, (as witnessed by their announcement last week) that will go online next summer, it seems unlikely they are going to back out of markets not when they use terms like exponential growth.

              Yuengling has always had a regional strategy. Took them decades to even launch into the state of ohio, right next door to PA. And they really have defined themselves as an East Coast beer.

              I have never heard Bear Republic define themselves as regional, not with the aspirations they have. That said, I really do not think there is anything wrong with regional beers. Fresher, closer to the source. Just like their are seasons to food and beer, the idea of distinct beers by locale is something that I like.

      2. Been dead to me for a while now anyway. Can hardly ever find their beer fresh enough to buy (12 packs not dated on the outside makes me tend to ignore them as well) and the drafts I have had of Racer5 and Hop Rod have been sub par at best -again mostly a freshness thing, but the last Hop Rod I had tasted meaty.

        1. "Im already feeling Racer 5 withdrawal..."

          So Brandy, I'm generally a fan of Racer 5... what will be your other go-to IPAs if it is off the market?

          5 Replies
          1. re: TombstoneShadow

            That's a very good question, Tombstone.

            1. re: TombstoneShadow

              At bars: Ballast Point Sculpin, Port wipeout, Uinta Hop Notch(Nosh), locals like Trillium, Backlash, Jack's Abby Hoponius/Mass Rising, and Wormtown Be Hoppy. And even though I haven't had a good one in well over a year, I keep trying Greenflash WC IPA hoping it returns somewhat close to what it was.

              From stores: Ithaca Flower Power, Jack's Abby Hoponius, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Lagunitas Lil sumptin, Founders All Day cans, Peak Organic IPA (if its not buttery).


              1. re: LStaff

                I haven't noticed any falloff / differences in GF WC IPA on tap but, I didn't even recognize it when I tried it in a bottle.

                1. re: LStaff

                  goes to show you the variety in this country... I've not had at least half of those... in fact way less than half, only the Firestone and Lil Sumpin... Love lil sumpin in the bottle, never had it on draft...

                  I presume you guys get the dogfish and victory IPA's ? those are all great... bells 2 hearted is excellent too....

                2. re: TombstoneShadow

                  Actually, I've got several, some of which were mentioned by L Staff: Ithaca Flower Power, Ballast Point Sculpin, and less often, Firestone Walker Union Jack. Bell's Two-Hearted is my most frequent go-to, now that it's regularly available at most beer-centric places in Chester County. Evolution Lot 3 is becoming a standby, as is Troeg's Perpetual.

                  So, it's not like I'm hurting in the IPA department. But Racer 5 is a particular favorite, and I'd hate to think it won't turn up at least occasionally.

                  And L Staff: I'm curious. Where have you had poor drafts of Racer 5 recently? The places I frequent (in Chester County, PA and north Wilmington, DE) only have it occasionally, but I've never encountered a quality issue when they do. (12-packs aren't an issue for me, since I rarely keep beer at home.)