Just in time for the Fourth of July…
Pumpkin ales have already hit shelves in some markets according to various reports on Twitter.
Breski Beverage, a Pennsylvania beer distributor and retailer, reported on June 28th that Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin and Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale were already in stock.
Beer author, Joshua Bernstein, reported Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale coming off of the bottling line last week.
Onion Pub and Brewery also put its Pumpkin Ale in cans last week.
The tweets have drawn the usual buzz around seasonal beers coming out seemingly earlier each year though, in reality, the practice has been going on for quite some time.
BeerPulse reported back in 2010 that Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin shipped before the July 4th holiday that year as well.
Weyerbacher Founder and President, Dan Weirback, defended his pumpkin beer strategy on Seen Through a Glass (as paraphrased by Lew Bryson):
It’s a matter of demand and capacity. Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale, for example: to meet wholesaler pre-orders, they have to start brewing it in May and continue through to September to have enough for it to be available through the whole season. They don’t have room to store it until September, so they start shipping it out in late June…and well, the wholesalers don’t have unlimited room either [and I assume no one really wants to have fresh beer just sitting around; I don't] so they start releasing it.
Some in the industry have taken note and are taking action into their own hands.
Al’s of Hampden is boycotting pumpkin ales before August.
Notch Brewing Founder, Chris Lohring, penned a piece last fall on the death of seasonals and won’t be releasing his harvest ale anymore because he has been told that it would be out of the season in the fall.