9 Comments

  1. Jim
    April 23, 2019 @ 9:55 pm

    Had the regular Sculpin a few times. It’s good but it’s not $14-16 / 6 pack good! Never really bought much by them due to their absurd prices, I just can’t swing that.

    Was in San Diego about a month ago and went to one of their brewpubs. Eh, it’s fine. Lotsa hype, not a lot of follow through (these days at least). Pretty disappointing

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  2. Evan H
    April 18, 2019 @ 5:58 pm

    That blackberry sour is so epic though.

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  3. Balkhawk
    April 18, 2019 @ 5:17 pm

    Many, many IPAs ago, I happened upon an IPA top ten list. This was years before the time I could go to any grocery or gas station (in Florida) on a highway and get crafty beer. So I went to whole foods to see what they had from said list and see where the bar for IPAs had been set out West.
    I only remember two beers from the list. Coming in at #1 was Sculpin. I probably paid five for a single can as the price seemed astronomical. I was none too impressed. It was enjoyable, but certainly not twice as good as the best I’d had. It was clear to me that this was a pretty can for people who shop at whole foods.
    I’ve given Sculpin and Grapefruit Sculpin a whirl once or twice since but always with the same conclusion.
    The other beer I tried that day was equally obscure (to me anyways.) I’m was also expensive to my tastes but competitively priced. Ballast Point got my $5, and Bell’s Two-Hearted got a repeat customer.
    Now, I can drive fifteen minutes and get some fantastic beer that was canned a few days earlier. (I’d take Motorworks Pulp Friction against Grapefruit Sculpin any day.) So I do. And when I don’t feel like going out of my way, I balance my favorites and variety, but I never get Ballast Point.

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  4. BruceB
    April 18, 2019 @ 5:00 pm

    I think it’s more a classic case of the Craft market correcting for its own values. Craft drinkers want to support local, independent brewers, not one of the big corporate “craft” entities. Ballast was a great San Diego brewery, but trying to go big and corporate and national just doesn’t work well in the craft world. Most of the sellout breweries have tanked pretty hard after being sold. Craft consumers (not all, but many) are conscious of who owns these places and make buying choices accordingly. Also, the soul of craft is being a local business, connected to the community, and being creative and innovative with the beers you make. Becoming part of a profit-above-all corporate beverage company doesn’t support that, as you say, they just want to “move liquid” and make bucks. That means creativity and niche beers go out the window in favor of whatever can move the most SKUs through the supermarket. Most craft consumers aren’t in it to buy the same ‘ol mass-market IPA from some other state any more than they want to buy the same ‘ol mass-market lager from AB or MillerCoors. Corporate people don’t understand that mindset, that’s why they keep doing faceplants with all of these buy-outs. I hope they’ll learn to leave well enough alone, but probably not: they have a lot of money to burn!

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  5. Robbie
    April 18, 2019 @ 4:55 pm

    The real bad move was rebranding Fathom as just another IPA… Bring back the IPL!

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  6. Rudy
    April 18, 2019 @ 7:58 am

    Constellation did a wrong move, payed too much, planned too little. The essentials of Ballast Point got lost among piles of money. I’m from Rio de janeiroand had the opportunity to drink some Ballast beers. Before 2015. And I just loved it. After the 1 billion transaction, which I did not know about at that time, Ballast disappeared from the market down here. It left a great impression in every craft beer lovers. RZ

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  7. YoScott
    April 17, 2019 @ 12:06 pm

    They caught lightning in a bottle with grapefruit sculpin, and unfortunately continued to seek out more lightning at an astoundingly bad price point. Do we really need 20 variations of Victory at Sea and sculpin? No. Save that for the tasting rooms to bring in people seeking something different.

    Sadly, these movements left no room for their best core beers, Sculpin and Grunion.

    Their only hope is to abandon all the adjuncts, and launch a new sales and marketing push to “revisit the brews that got you into craft” and go with 3-4 core SKU’s (and occasional seasonals) at a more wallet-friendly price. Maybe even revisit the formula for Fathom and Dorado to reflect the tastes of the moment.

    If I can get Grunion for $11-12 a six pack of cans, I’m buying that all day long. That said, I haven’t seen Grunion on a shelf in 6+ months.

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    • Tachikoma805
      May 13, 2019 @ 2:12 pm

      THIS! Where the hell did Grunion go?
      I’ve only been able to get it at their taprooms and I never see on shelves anymore.
      Lost their base, their core for sure.
      I’ve been a longtime fan of Firestone Walker too but at least after being purchased by Duvel their new stuff they come out with is actually interesting and it’s marketed to be a little bit lofty which ultimately is what hipsters as well as craft lovers want.

      Reply

  8. Ron K
    April 17, 2019 @ 11:37 am

    Agree completely with the statements and sentiments of this piece. Still, the Temecula closure was odd–open on Monday, closed w/o notice on Tuesday, save for an afternoon Facebook post. And while I don’t presume to know the financials, the place always seemed busy, and popular with a well-dressed millenial crowd. With a Barrel Republic coming to Old Town soon, I think I know where some of those folks will end up.

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