There's a Bock Day. An IPA Day. A Stout Day. Probably more that I'm not familiar with. And, nearly every day in every major market, there's some sort of pop-up 4-pack beer release of current hottest and buzziest style.
And then there are Flagships. There have always been Flagships. And, an overwhelming majority of professional brewers and brewery owners will tell you, if they're being truthful, that a successful long-term strategy and vision for a brewery is centered around Flagships. Well-made, identifiable, and dependable. Beers that help build a critical mass of customers that will return for them time and again, dabbling in the creative sidetracks along the way.
That would explain why, when I contacted 28 different breweries (25 local to Philly and 3 out-of-market/national), all but four replied in less than a day to say that they were enthusiastically on board with Flagship February and whatever I needed to support my end of the deal. Some had heard of it, some had not. A few were extremely familiar with the concept.
Quite possibly not, is my hunch. Let's back it up a few weeks.
Flagship February is a "movement", if you will, that really only got off the ground back in the first week of the new year. Instead of retelling the story here (it really isn't all that complicated), please take less than the five minutes required to read the background as told by beer writer (and much more) Steve Beaumont at Taps Magazine. This story over at Forbes and written by Tara Nurin is also a nice primer.
How was that? Pretty cool, eh? Thus far, I've seen very little negative reaction to it. Honestly, this ain't no get-off-my-lawn curmudgeon take on the beer industry. Those of us behind this little project and the many that will get on board love the industry and love the beer in all its many styles and possibilities. It's what many have always professed to love over more single-minded beverages. So whither the Pale Ale, the Stout, the Kolsch, the Pilsner....etc? For the breweries that make them on a regular basis, here they are -- in Flagship February. It's a website; it's a social media movement; it's an opportunity to drink great beer and reacquaint ourselves with some that we may not have enjoyed in far too long.
I mean, really, is there really any difficulty recognizing that longtime flagship beers from landmark breweries can still be very solid and well-made, very enjoyable beers? In today's market of 7,000+ breweries and a non-stop avalanche of new beers hitting the market for the growing segment of short-attention span beer drinkers, it's not unusual to hear something along the lines of "...oh, Sierra Nevada Pale? Solid beer, but can't tell you the last time I had it. Dependable, though. I'll order it if there's nothing else. And it'll always be there...."
Or something like that. Thing is, in the original story that prompted this outreach to Flagship beers, with well-documented black-and-white data that shows declining sales for the ol' tried-and-true, there's no guarantee that they will be forever available. It's a business, man. Can't make something that the market is buying less of.
Back to the long-term strategy. As trends in tastes and consumption change over time, as they always will, when that craze-of-the-day fades, will the brewery have rock-solid beers to fall back on? To introduce and transition their current customers over to?
Enough of the soapbox tutorial; I think you get the points being made here and how they fit into the Flagship February fun.
So you ask, how's this all coming together? What's happening? What's Bryan's role in this?
For starters, FlagshipFebruary.com is a sort of portal into the happenings and stories throughout the month? What are "stories", you ask?
I am honored, truly honored, to be one of 28 writers across the globe who are being featured during the month of February - one writer per day. Our task is to feature a Flagship beer. Could be from a seminal brewery or could be from a younger brewery. Judging from the roster that I see, I'm pretty sure all breweries being covered are at least twenty years old and/or have some historical significance. Regardless, the point is that the story will cover the specific beer, the brewery, the people, the place, some combination of all or some of those, and the value that the sum of it all brings to the brewery and to the industry. There'll be history woven with personal anecdotes.
I'll withhold for the time-being the brewery that I'll be featuring, but I'll share that my date is February 21.
What else am I doing? Well, if you have followed me here long enough, you know that I can't do much in a small way.
Therefore, what you'll see on TheBrewLounge.com is a daily feature of a Flagship beer from eastern PA, southern NJ, or DE. And, I'll keep it all organized in a sort-of Table of Contents over here on this page. For now, I'll only list the styles that I plan to feature and reveal the brewery and beer names as each day passes.
So...you on board with this too?
© Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge, 2019. All content is owned and uniquely created by Bryan J. Kolesar. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kolesar is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, images, and links may be used with advance permission granted and only provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan J. Kolesar and The Brew Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact Kolesar at TheBrewLounge@gmail.com