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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another Disappointing Brick Press Release

It seems that every new press release that Brick Brewery issue these days has to do with another bland version of their Red Baron, new packaging for the Baron, or a Statement of Claim.

Back in March, Brick announced that the Red Baron brand would undergo significant packaging changes while maintaining the discount 'lowest' price cost. Then in May they received a Statement of Claim by Labatt Breweries of Canada for Red Baron's infringements on Labatt's Brava. And at the end of July, Brick announced that they would be introducing the Red Baron in a 15pack for $18.25.

Then, this summer, Brick decided to throw their hat into the Lime Beer ring as they introduced Ontario citizens to six packs of Red Baron Lime for just $9.35. A beer that sold very well and probably pleased the shareholders no doubt. Brick again received another Statement of Claim from Labatt Breweries of Canada for their use of limes on the packaging and their website.

And today, a press release about another new Red Baron product - Red Baron Light. The new beer is now available at the Beer Store in 12packs for $15.95.

Why do I bother mentioning all this? It all has to do with a line in the press release, "Brick Brewing Company has crafted Red Baron Light to compliment their already successful Red Baron Lime and Red Baron Lager line up of premium blonde beers. Like the Red Baron family, Brick will be launching Red Baron Light in a clear glass bottle giving Ontario beer drinkers another reason to help celebrate Brick's 25th Anniversary as Ontario's first craft brewery."

I don't like that line. As Ontario's first craft brewery, it would be nice to see Brick do some interesting beers to help celebrate the 25th anniversary. I know they produced a limited run of their once respected Bock, but you'd think that "as Ontario's first craft brewery" and celebrating a true milestone, Brick would come out with something unique for the people that helped propel them to where they are today. 25 years ago, Brick was a struggling small brewery that opened the eyes of beer drinkers in this province with beers baring a flavour profile not tasted in years. This 25th year has been rife with lawsuits, uninspired beer releases, and bad press (the whole Brickman saga), and that is not something other Ontario craft breweries need to be associated with.

Yes, as their bio indicates, "credited with pioneering the present day craft brewing renaissance in Canada", with releases like these however, Brick is no longer helping the craft segment or promoting what craft beer is all about - something that was lost along the way.


bushidoka said...

As a shareholder I think this is great news, personally. They still have some interesting beers - Waterloo Dark is one of my all time favorite Ontario Craft Brews, and one of the big reasons why a few years ago I put my money where my mouth was and bought shares in the first place. Since they they have gone down sharply and are worth only 1/3 of what they were. But in the last 6 month they've been doing well and making a recovery

There is an economic reality to running a brewery - if your beer does not sell, you go broke and go out of business.

Troy Burtch said...

bushidoka - I hear you when you say it's good for shareholders. I do. But Brick keeps promoting themselves as a small craft brewery and then they come out with beers like this.

I understand that breweries must make money to stay afloat, any business does, and Brick seems to believe that the cheap, discount brands, which are no better than Lucky Lager or Busch, is the way to go. And that is why I feel they should no longer use the craft beer terminology.

Thanks for commenting.

3 Dog Brewery said...

I agree with Troy. Brick is going the wrong way in my opinion. 25 years? They should at least introduce an IPA or something like that. Light beer? No thanks.

Stephen said...

Assuming you cut and pasted that line directly from the press release, Troy, what bugs me more is this: "Brick Brewing Company has crafted Red Baron Light to compliment their already successful Red Baron Lime..."

So the Red Baron Light is standing beside the Red Baron Lime and voicing the opinion that she looks pretty good in her new dress and, oh, by the way, I love your purse...? Or perhaps the Light is meant to complement the other brands in the Red Baron portfolio.

This isn't just me being pedantic, I think. If you're going to issue a press release to journalists, at least make certain you've copy read it first!

bushidoka said...

I'm curious how much others here actually spend on commercial beer in, say, a week? I'm a homebrewer, so very, very little. And yeah, the odd time I do spend money on store-bought beer, it is almost always Ontario Micro.

The thing is that the Ontario Micro market is pretty small. I know tonnes of homebrewers and most of them are in the same boat as me. But of course even though none of us are prepared to step up and actually spend money on store-bought beer, we expect the world at our door the odd time we want to. But one leads to the other.

Also I know a lot of homebrewers who are under the misguided misconception that there are no good beers at the Beer Store, when in fact the truth is that this is by far the best place to get a selection of Ontario Micros

malcolm said...

Are you serious? The Beer Store? The Beer Store is pathetic - stuff sits in the warehouse forever, it's dominated by macro beers, no 2stores have the same micro selection...
Any large LCBO beats the hell out of the liquor store.

malcolm said...

Oops, I mean Beer Store.

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