Those cloudy New England-style brews were once the private domain of your local microbrewery but now the largest of craft breweries want a piece of the action. Sierra Nevada and Samuel Adams, two of the biggest in the country, are distributing their very own hazy IPAs.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. released their Hazy Little Thing IPA in December to a few markets and are distributing the beer nationwide this month. Also in January, The Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) started selling their New England IPA in the northeast region and they’ll distribute the beer nationwide in February.
Challenges for Sierra Nevada and Samuel Adams
There are obstacles for the two breweries and one hurdle is convincing consumers that their product can be as good as the smaller craft breweries they’re trying to emulate. These hazy brews have been around for a while and breweries such as Alchemist, Treehouse, Trillium, and Monkish have built a rabid cult following. It’s possible those consumers will balk at the idea of the larger breweries wading into their pool.
But many craft beer connoisseurs will be curious enough to give these new hazy IPAs a try. And whether Sierra Nevada and Samuel Adams will find success hinges upon their ability to deliver a fresh product. By their very nature, the New England-style brews demand freshness in the extreme.
Over time these brews begin to fall apart. The hops lose their bite, the aroma fades, and their iconic cloudiness dissipates. And its because of this that some aficionados line up for hours just to score recently canned brews. What will they think of a product that might have lingered on a store shelf for a few weeks?
Both Sierra Nevada and Samuel Adams recognize that their beers can’t deliver the same experience as a freshly canned brew. But they’re counting on their beers coming close enough to please those who love the style. And they’ll also be distributed to parts of the country where the New England-style brews have yet to gain a foothold.
If they can deliver a product that comes close, they may find a niche of consumers who love the style but don’t have access to it where they live. Or maybe they do but are turned off by the idea of waiting hours in line just to get it. At the very least, Sierra Nevada and Samuel Adams ought to reach a segment of consumers that have never tried the style before. And if their product is up to snuff, they just might find tremendous success.
The Hazy Little IPA Review
How did Sierra Nevada do in crafting its New England-style brew? Not too shabby. Click here to read the review for the Hazy Little IPA.