Well, here it is January 19 and this supermarket has several spring beers on the shelf and no winter. It's not their fault, the wholesalers sold out of winter beers and the spring seasonals hit the wholesalers in the middle of January so as soon as the winter seasonals are gone we populate the shelves with spring even though its the 4th week of winter. Hell, there's a foot of snow or more in Seattle today and I know the breweries are introducing their spring seasonals into the market. I wouldn't want to be beer sales reps up there today, I can hear it now as they enter stores and bars and those retailers are wanting to replenish their winter beer back stock, " Out of winter, rolling out spring." And the retailer goes berserk, "are you daff? I got customers still drinking winter, there's a blizzard outside." Salesman replies, " the breweries quit brewing winter and started brewing spring so thats what I got." Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, this is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy!
The seasonal beer selection begins to get interesting every year with the fall selections which are rolled out at the end of July and beginning of August, I have no problem with that. Then the pumpkin beers hit full stride in September and all of those are flushed down the drain on November 1 so winter seasonals can hit the shelves, I have no problem with that. Fall and winter are the two best selling seasonals by far; spring is a huge drop from winter and summer barely moves the IRI data forward after that. And it seems to me that if your winter beers are number one and we long ago quit calling them Christmas beers and its still winter until the end of March that the brewers would at least keep brewing winter seasonals so as to run out at the earliest at the end of February. Afterall, you only bring in the fall beers a month and a half before time not THREE MONTHS before season.
What does that tell us? We like bigger beers! What a surprise. If a comet was on target for collision with earth tomorrow, I would grab my last two bottles of 14% abv. 2010 Samichlaus Classic from Eggenberg in Austria and sit on the deck gazing at the Tucson Mountains and remark how at least I saved them for a good occasion. And then hit the tequilla, there's a lot to be said for being numb before you get sent to it, but I digress.
So, the reason for this rant is that I purchased a mixed six of spring seasonals and the first one should have been held back until summer. No monk could have possibly fasted and survived on that beer during Lent, which is in winter and no friend of St. Patrick would have had a second sip of that beer until summer. What in the wide, wide world of sports was this brewer thinking? IRI supermarket scan data tells us that bigger is better, HOWEVER, THIS BREWER IGNORES THOSE NUMBERS! PLUS, I'M STILL EATING CHILI FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!
I know, I know, I know, that I am a self proclaimed apologetic for brewers but let's put the seasonals back into the proper season. The beers are good when consumed at the right time of the year, how did we get so crazy as to make the time of the year when seasonal sales are the worse, spring and summer, the longest seasonal times. The best selling seasonals are fall and winter seasonals and we have those at the beginning of August through December, that's 5 months. And spring and summer, the worst selling seasonals, are January through July, thats 7 months. This is so wrong!
It's still winter, I want winter beers, so I will brew my 8% imperial Brown Ale and buy my favorite Imperials of every kind and ignore your spring seasonals until the end of March and then summer hits the stores at the beginning of May so I will buy Belgian dubbels and quads and sit smuggly on my deck gazing at the Tucson Mountains waiting for that comet to approach us so I can open my last two bottles of Samichlaus.