Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A few of you may be missing something...

...and boy do I mean a few.

A rare outtake from the Hanami label shoot.  That giant lizard finally won.

Hanami Ale, our spring seasonal release, has been discontinued.  We've had one or two emails asking for release dates, but being discontinued doesn't lend itself to scheduling a release date.  Instead, we decided to extend Winter Ale season and begin Summer Weizen earlier (we just bottled the first round right before we removed our old bottle filler last week), essentially bridging the gap left by Hanami.

There were several reasons for this, but none more vital than slow sales.  Slow sales in and of themselves aren't always a problem, but with seasonal beers, conventional wisdom says they need to sell so a brewery maintain its placements on shelves and in coolers.

Hanami was an odd beer in the sense that it wasn't easy to classify.  Sure, it was a fruit beer but "fruit beer" typically means one of two things.  The first fruit beer style is typically a light, innocuous, golden beers, which may or may not be brewed with wheat, and then get a dosing of  fruit or fruit extracts.  Once the modifier "Belgian" gets thrown in, a second sub-style of sour, tart, fruited lambics enters the discussion..

Hanami wasn't really like any of these beers.  It lacked a dryness that would have accentuated the tartness from the cherry juice, which basically means it wasn't "lambicky" enough.  What the beer did have, was a broader range of flavors beyond the typical American-style fruit beers. This neither-one-nor-the-other character of Hanami left beer drinkers, wholesalers, and sales people scratching their heads.  Some people really loved it and a few actively hated it.  I'm not haughty enough to claim that this beer was ahead of its time, but I'm also not willing to say it was bad; it was just very unique in the most literal sense.

So with this blog post, I officially put Hanami to rest, while wallowing in the irony of several pallets of freshly-bottled Summer Weizen in our warehouse, while over a foot of snow sits on the ground, right outside my window.

Thanks for making yours a Smutty!



Anonymous said...

reading this blogpost breaks my heart. I've been looking foward to the release of Hanami since my local store ran out from last year. Hanami was by far my favorite beer. Once it started showing up on shelves you got to enjoy the great taste, and it brought you the awareness that warmer weather was soon to come. Ill lift my next glass of smutty in hopes that you guys will brew it again and find a way to make it profitable.

Rob, NJ

Brian said...

While I applaud the good effort put behind this brew this only opens doors to more new beer from Smutty. Excited to see what's coming down the pipe.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Had Hanami at my wedding (an exclusive Smuttynose event) a few years ago in May. It definitely generated some conversation. Sad to see it go.


TJ said...

This was my favorite Spring seasonal! Sad to see it go. Maybe put out a revival as a small batch in the future?!?

Anonymous said...

That was my only favorite beer in the world.... I may never drink beer again! I definitely won't drink Smuttynose again unless Hanami ale ends up coming back. Until then you have lost one loyal customer, sorry, not trying to be mean but I tell it like it is.