Good Beer Hunting

Avery to Discontinue Demons of Ale and Dictators Series

Avery Brewing is discontinuing its vaunted “Demons of Ale” and “Dictators Series,” retiring five high-octane beers that hit the scene long before consumers were demanding the types of intense flavors and potent alcohol content the two lines exemplified. With them, so too goes Salvation, a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, and Dugana, an Imperial IPA. The seven beers will be retired at the end of this year. In their absence, Avery plans to push behind its core offerings and a growing line of barrel-aged beers.

The company is positioning this move as a step further into the brewing unknown, rather than any sort of retreat to center. Per company CEO and co-founder Adam Avery: “The Demons and Dictators series were ahead of their time when they first came out, but that was over a decade ago… These beers led the way for everything we do today to push the boundaries of our beer. Now we are taking all that courage, expertise, and quality control we gained and amplifying it in a much bigger way in our barrel program.”

The sentiment Avery is laying out here very closely echoes what Firestone Walker co-founder Adam Firestone said last month in light of his company’s decision to discontinue its Proprietor’s Reserve line: “This was a hard decision made for the sake of innovation,” he said then. “These beers were born of that ideal, and now they are yielding to it.” In both instances, there’s a tacit acknowledgement that the roads these products first forged have since been thoroughly explored and paved over by those that followed. Not that that’s a bad thing—it should excite beer drinkers when industry leaders decide against resting on their laurels.

But there’s more to it than that, too. The portfolio shakeup will enable the company to grow behind some other core brands—including White Rascal, Liliko’i Kepolo, and El Gose—as well as its growing “Botanicals and Barrels” series. That series is currently comprised of its Raspberry Sour and Vanilla Bean Stout brands, but will ultimately boast a total of six year-round, nationally distributed beers in 22 oz. bombers. Tangerine Quad, Apricot Sour, Ginger Sour, and Coconut Porter are slated to join the aforementioned sour and stout in the series by late spring.

And it certainly does seem the company is going full steam ahead on dominating the barrel-aged beer game. Avery built on the above quote, saying the company is focused on “making our barrel program the biggest out there with annual production of multiple different styles.” Just how big the “biggest” barrel program can be, well, that remains to be seen. But if the cost of building it is seven legendary beers, look for it to be fairly significant.

—Dave Eisenberg

Avery Brewing Co. To Exorcise Its Demons and Kill Off Dictators in 2017 [New School Beer]