Death of a Beer
For better or worse, not every beer survives. Most brands die when the brewery itself is terminated. But what about brews that go bust? Here are three beers that didn’t survive:
Miller Clear, 1993-1993: Possibly the most bizarre concept for a beer, Miller Clear test marketed in three cities for six months right around the time Pepsi tried to sell us on colorless Crystal Pepsi and Coors branded the translucent malt beverage Zima. Keith Villa was already brewing at Coors and said of his pre-MillerCoors colleagues, “For the most part they’re fond of the beers they’ve made. Marketers create the face of the brand.”
Dogfish Head Arctic Cloudberry Imperial Wheat, 2004-2005: Cloudberries are tart, amber berries that only grow in far northern latitudes and are so valuable, blood has been shed over their cultivation in Scandinavia. Obviously, Dogfish Head had to brew a beer with them. Sam Calagione found a way to source them from the Arctic Circle and said, “The challenge wasn’t just the cloudberries, but the expense of getting them safely to the brewery. But never say never. We may do this beer again in the future”
Deschutes Black Butte Porter XXII, 2010: This year’s Reserve Series Imperial Porter, following the twentieth anniversary and Black Butte XXI, didn’t really make it. Paul Arney, “I developed this recipe so it was kind of a bummer when it didn’t work out. I was excited about chilies, chocolate, and orange.” Gary Fish commented, “experimental chocolate used in this year’s formulation never fully dissolved in the beer. The beer tastes fantastic.” The bottles’ visual presentation, however, didn’t fly so the stork never delivered bottles to retailers. Kegs were still tapped at the Oregon pubs.
Brian Yaeger is the author of Red, White and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey.