Friday, April 15, 2011

Old news item: Avery joins flight from Indiana; Publican yawns.

Beers and breweries have always come and gone in terms of availability. Wholesalers make agreements, and then the agreements change. The merry-go-round spins, well, merrily. In the past, perhaps it mattered. Does it really matter now, I an age where the rotation comprises hundreds of excellent craft beers, rather than a dozen?

First, the Shelton Brothers portfolio of outstanding imports, formerly with Cavalier, departed Indiana. As an insider, I knew about it a long time ago, and already had grown so weary of banging my head against the wall after failing at receiving what I wanted, that any sort of comment seemed superfluous.

In fact, having once considered making Shelton’s brands the basis for the Public House beer list, I channeled my abject feelings of deprivation into a positive “buy local” epiphany, which has re-energized me, and generally has done the job when it comes to my personal beer drinking needs -- except for when a strong yearning for Lambic overwhelms my senses. Then, I miss them quite dearly.

Next, Dogfish Head vacated our Hoosier premises. Avery followed them. As the Eagles once observed, Allagash was already gone. You could hear the sounds of furtive sourcing as shelves emptied of valuable brands. The wails of lamentation kept me awake at night as craft beer fans weaned on the tender mercies of Beer Advocate and Rate Beer vented their despair.

They should have been asking: Should one’s go-to beer come from another time zone?

And: Your forefathers had it far tougher, whiner.

Me? I shrugged, yawned and filled a growler of fresh local beer.

It’s now 2011, there are now 1,700 breweries (you’re within ten minutes of one), and hundreds of available beers still flow into the state. Indiana itself soon will have 40 brewers, and who couldn’t subsist on Three Floyds, Sun King, People’s, Flat12 and the like? Here in New Albany, there’s BBC and Cumberland (maybe still Browning’s?) right across the Ohio River.

In fact, there is precious little in any of this that’s grim, and there’s nothing but sweetness and light in my world. For instance, I’m told that New Holland bottles are trickling down to the Sunnyside through North Vernon Beverage. This is good. We still have Great Divide, which withdrew from other states. And Southern Tier. And Schlafly. And (fill in the blank).

The ones that went away will return. Somehow, we’ll survive until then. Maybe it’s all about the grass being greener elsewhere, and humans wanting what they cannot have. I suppose this is understandable. Just remember: I used to walk ten miles in waist-deep snow just to score a six-pack of Sierra. Your troubles are miniscule by comparison.


Rob said...

Am I missing some Browning's rumor?

yournamehere said...

I was going to ask the same thing regarding Browning's. I was there two weeks ago and had two pints of their beer.

The New Albanian said...

I know that Browning's has "contracted" to serve only at the pub and not distribute beer any longer.

I am told that Brian Reymiller has resigned, but has returned to brew here and there when needed under a piece work sort of arrangement.

That's what I know. It isn't clear whether anyone new has been hired to brew.