The big news yesterday was Bridgeport Brewing was closing for good.  35 years it had been running.  Hell, it was over 20 years old when I got into the beer tasting and blogging game.  I remember picking up a 15th year pint glass at the anniversary.  Great old building, super beer and the feeling this was going to stay forever.  Fast forward 20 years a few lbs added, a kiddo and moving to another state.  Having known Blue Heron Pale, Black Strap Stout and later adding Hop Czar IPA. I never thought we’d lose an Icon like this.  

However, I can’t remember the last time I had a Bridgeport. Sure, I saw the new artwork plain as my face and to be honest it was not exciting.  The what’s new game I can admit I am also caught up in it.  The latest flavor, great Collaboration or who has the new “New” hop in their beer. Gone are the days of old when you had 10 breweries to pick from.  For me here in WA State there are 400 plus and more coming.  I can get a new flavor every day.  Untappd, RateBeer and Beer Advocate help me with apps to find the latest and crazy creation.   But wait is it our fault as a consumer?  Or it is the business that does not keep up with the trends?  I think to a point it is the later.  Yes, it is hard for most to come up with a crazy new concoction every week. How do some of these breweries do that.  Story for later. 😉 

So keeping up and making yourself viable.  We in the industry hear about Heritage brands ones that have been around the game for a long time.  We know Widmer, Fish, Pike, Harmon and Deschutes.  How do some of these keep up?  Some you see do bring out the “new” when they can.  They must put the idea in the production schedule, clear 5 levels of management while getting purchasing and marketing involved. Finally, the fresh new beer they put out was so six months ago.  Sure, they have “Small” pilot system 5bbl or more which for a lot of new places is a regular size system. But, then hardly anyone even tastes the new from the big boys.   

Widmer just closed their pub a few weeks ago and that was the place to try new stuff.  Did you know they have real cool new funky beers, and only a few saw or heard of them? Hello, a huge company with big budget for social media and you can’t get the word out.  It goes the same for the others that have been around for the past 20 or more years.  Look at the Heritage brands that are around. Do they keep up with the latest or are they soon to become the next to fall? I say this is a wake up call for a lot of places, but I also think it happens it is a part of life the old goes away and the new comes in the cycle of business.  Some places stand the test of time and adapt and others well we now see what happens.  Amazon takes over while Sears, Kmart and Shopko are about to go away.

As I type this out, I go back and remember the great Black Strap Stout. The fun I had with Bridgeport at GABF with the Hop Czar the booth and the tasty beer.  That was almost 10 years ago.  As time passes so do some of our Icons.  To, Bridgeport Brewing for me, you will always be a pioneer of the Craft Beer world.  Cheers…

Leave a Reply