ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
30°
Partly Cloudy
H 62° L 27°
  • clear-night
    30°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 62° L 27°
  • cloudy-day
    46°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 62° L 27°
  • clear-night
    40°
    Evening
    Clear. H 50° L 32°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Holiday
Early pumpkin beers brew dismay among drinkers
Close

Early pumpkin beers brew dismay among drinkers

Early pumpkin beers brew dismay among drinkers
This Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 photo shows pumpkin beers on display for sale at a Whole Foods Market in Richmond, Va. Labor Day may be considered the unofficial end of summer, but some craft brewers couldn’t even wait until then to roll out their pumpkin and other fall seasonal beers. Many already have been in stores and on taps for a month. (AP Photo/Michael Felberbaum)

Early pumpkin beers brew dismay among drinkers

It's bad enough that back-to-school comes in June, and Halloween arrives in July. And of course we all know Christmas begins in September. But now even the craft beer industry is caving to seasonal creep. For this year, the beer drinker's harbinger of autumn — pumpkin ales — apparently couldn't hold off until the pumpkins actually ripened.

Labor Day may be considered the unofficial end of summer, but some craft brewers couldn't even wait until then to roll out their pumpkin and other fall seasonal beers. Many already have been in stores and on taps for a month. And not all beer drinkers are saying, "Cheers!"

"Everyone likes pumpkin beer, but you don't want it to come too soon. I definitely like to drink it in the appropriate season," says Nate Marsden, 23, of Boston, who nonetheless recently gave in to the temptation of his favorite seasonal brew, Pumking, an imperial pumpkin ale from Southern Tier Brewing Co.

He's got company. Beer connoisseurs who wanted to savor summer a bit longer have been airing their gripes on social media. Taking to Twitter with hashtags such as #HolidayFail and #SummersNotOver, people like Andrew Hickey let it be known they weren't impressed with the early start.

Forget being irritated about back-to-school ads, the 33-year-old tweeted — complete with a photo of the offending brew — back on Aug. 16. "Why is there pumpkin ale already on shelves?!?"

"I think it's just a rushing the season kind of thing," said Hickey, of East Brunswick, N.J. "I'm guilty of drinking them but it seems like it's getting earlier and earlier each year."

Brewers were quick to explain that they didn't have much choice. They said increased demand and the size of their breweries meant they needed to start making the beer earlier. And that means it gets to consumers earlier, too.

"If you think it's too early for Pumpkin Ale . don't go get some," Schlafly Beer in St. Louis posted on its website in August. "It will still be on shelves for the next couple months (hopefully) and you can pick some up down the road."

Dan Kopman, the brewery's co-founder, said that in a perfect world they'd have their summer offerings available through the end of summer, then start selling their fall beers soon after. "When something changes that has been very traditional, you're always going to get a comment," he says. "It's a great problem to have and is simply reflecting what's going on in the market."

Bars across the country also have weighed in on the availability of pumpkin beers when temperatures are still hovering in the high 80s.

"We will not be tapping pumpkin beers until the fall, when the season is appropriate," says An Bui, the self-proclaimed chief beer officer at Mekong, a Vietnamese restaurant in Richmond that offers 50 revolving taps and more than 200 varieties of bottled beer. "Seasonal beers are where you taste the fruit or the flower of that period," Bui says. "It's so early. What's going on?"

Those who follow the retail trade also noted a possible reason for the premature arrival, aside from needing to start production earlier: capturing early demand.

"When you're selling seasonal merchandise, there's only a certain profit pool available to be had from that," says Craig R. Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy. "If you're objective is to capture the maximum share of the profit pool, you want to have your goods out their early because you'll be first in the marketplace."

And Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with The NPD Group, says brands and businesses trying to get that top-of-mind business are "willing to risk the absurd — even earlier than expected."

___

Michael Felberbaum can be reached at

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • Jacksonville, Florida, officers say a man when he shot and killed a driver on I-95. >> Watch the news report here Police said 32-year-old Tyrell Brown was sleeping in the passenger seat of 25-year-old Steven Shawn Grady's car as they drove through Jacksonville on Sunday. The group was traveling from Orlando to North Carolina. At one point, Brown woke up and shot Grady in the face, a witness told police. The witness, who was in the backseat of the car, tried to gain control of the wheel. The car ran off the interstate and crashed near the Union Street exit around 3:15 a.m. >> Read more trending news  Officials said Brown violently resisted officers when they got to the scene. There was no indication of a prior altercation between Brown and Grady, officers said. A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesperson said Brown smoked a cigarette dipped in formaldehyde and marijuana before the shooting. He was taken to UF Health Jacksonville for his safety, officers said. Brown is facing a murder charge. His next court date is Dec. 12.
  • After an eight-week special session, the House fell just five votes short of a tax-raising plan to stabilize state revenues. Once the special session was over, Governor Mary Fallin caught legislative leaders off guard when she vetoed a bill that would have closed a $215 million hole in the budget. The plan called for a combination of cuts to agency budgets and raids on state savings accounts. Gov. Fallin will soon ask the Oklahoma Legislature to return to the state Capitol.  Fallin spokesman Michael McNutt said Monday the governor is working to pin down potential dates and define the parameters of her special session call that will determine what kind of bills lawmakers can consider.
  • As the Oklahoma Blood Institute moves into the final stretch of its 40th anniversary year, it’s trying to get word out about what it does, and the need for extra help during the holidays. In those four decades, OBI has grown to become the ninth-largest non-profit blood center in the nation. OBI Recruitment Manager Kenda Burnham told KRMG Tuesday they serve about 90 percent of the hospitals in the state, and for most of them, are the only source of blood. “That includes all childrens’, all veterans’, and all Indian hospitals in the state,” she said. “We also supply St. Francis Health Systems, which is the largest user of blood here in northeast Oklahoma.” That requires a lot of donations. “It takes close to 1,200 donors every single day to ensure we meet the needs of patients all across our systems,” Burnham said. And that need does not go down during the holidays, but unfortunately donations often do. “Holidays are a little more challenging, because people just get out of their regular routine,” Burnham told KRMG. “People are busy doing other things, so sometimes they forget to take time to give blood. So we still have patients in those hospitals, no matter what day of the year it is, that are counting on life-saving blood donors.” The process takes about an hour for a standard donation, and she said most people actually qualify, even if they’ve traveled out of the country or had a tattoo. But only about one in ten who can donate, actually do. Anyone who can help is urged to visit the OBI website and make an appointment, or find a nearby blood drive.
  • The Massachusetts tribe whose ancestors shared a Thanksgiving meal with the Pilgrims nearly 400 years ago is reclaiming its long-lost language, one schoolchild at a time. “Weesowee mahkusunash,” says teacher Siobhan Brown, using the Wampanoag phrase for “yellow shoes” as she reads to a preschool class from Sandra Boynton’s popular children’s book “Blue Hat, Green Hat.” The Mukayuhsak Weekuw — or “Children’s House ” — is an immersion school launched by the Cape Cod-based Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, whose ancestors hosted a harvest celebration with the Pilgrims in 1621 that helped form the basis for the country’s Thanksgiving tradition. The 19 children from Wampanoag households that Brown and other teachers instruct are being taught exclusively in Wopanaotooaok, a language that had not been spoken for at least a century until the tribe started an effort to reclaim it more than two decades ago. The language brought to the English lexicon words like pumpkin (spelled pohpukun in Wopanaotooaok), moccasin (mahkus), skunk (sukok), powwow (pawaw) and Massachusetts (masachoosut), but, like hundreds of other native tongues, fell victim to the erosion of indigenous culture through centuries of colonialism.
  • A photo circulating on social media appears to show a Memphis Police Department officer . >> Watch the news report here The photo was posted on Saturday, and several viewers sent it to WHBQ. >> See the photo here Memphis police acknowledged the photo and issued the following statement: >> Read more trending news 'The officer in question has been identified, and an administrative investigation is underway. This behavior will not be tolerated, and I can assure you that corrective actions will be taken,' said Director Michael Rallings. 'This type of behavior does not represent the hardworking men and women of the Memphis Police Department.