2 Beer Guys Blog

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Long Hammer IPA

At the turn of the year, Redhook re-named their very popular IPA to Long Hammer IPA. As I sit here in the Redhook Cataqua Publick House, sipping this concoction, I can assure you that it is every bit as much the IPA that it was before. Long story short...it's the same beer.

Now, for me, this would appear to be a good thing. Redhook's IPA is one of my favorite local beers, if not my favorite. It's smooth, hoppy, but well balanced, and is very drinkable in more than one bottle.

However, this is also disturbing news for me. Given that they haven't tinkered with the recipe, I have to wonder what their motivation was for re-titling the beer. None of Redhook's other offerings have 'names'. They are very much a truth-in-labeling sort of company. IPA, ESB, Blonde...what you read is what you get. With the introduction of Long Hammer, you get their first launch into the popular craft beer trend of having clever names for beer. Redhook, to this point, has been able to get by with just a solid product, without any clever marketing gimmicks. This is where its gets disturbing.

As we've been assured several times, Anheuser-Busch's 49% stake in Redhook affords them nothing more than handling the distribution channels. However, the move to naming the IPA just calls out to me saying "Hey, we want to grab some more attention and hopefully people will cling onto this flashy name." Well, to me, it reeks of big brother intervention, perhaps not in a forceful way, but perhaps someone on the board saying hey, how about this? I can only hope that this is not the case, and that someone in the marketing department had too much to drink one night and had a zany idea. It would be unfortunate if big A-B had anything to do with this decision, as most certainly more "big ideas" would trickle down, eventually into the beer itself.


  • At Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 10:14:00 AM EST, Blogger Ignace said…

    I'm sorry to hear AB is a big partner in that business.
    What will happen is this: AB is going to voice their displeasure about the fact that the beer isn't selling to the standard they would prefer.
    Then, they will give some hints and tips, a twisted arm here and there, a nice big paycheck for soandso, to steer the production of the beer in 'the right direction'.
    The right direction is to produce the beer at the lowest possible cost. If a quality corner has to be cut here and there: hey, you can't expect to have an accident without some casualties, right?
    So, in all their wisdom, they will dilute the proud standing of the house and reduce a great beer to the lowest common denominator [or brew whatever the customer will still accept].
    They want to make a beer that as many people as possible will want to drink. We don't want 'character' because that upsets and offends the customer, we want: ooh, yummy.

    You don't have to believe me, but if I look at what InBev is doing in Belgium, I have no reason to think that an American beer giant isn't going to do the exact same thing.

  • At Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 1:07:00 AM EST, Blogger Mark said…

    I LOVE the beer, and have been a longtime customer.

    But I HATE the new packaging / branding. Green?! Ick!


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