Within the past few months, both Oskar Blues Brewing and Boulevard Brewing have announced all new product offerings. The twist – They both are unveiling hard cocktail lines – hard seltzer for Oskar Blues and “craft cocktails” for Boulevard.
Now, I am not one to say breweries need to be stuck in their ways. I like when breweries diversify into new styles and have no problem when they jump on a national craze (Hazy IPAs, Brut IPAs, etc.).
And I like a brewery that offers a wider variety of styles of beers, because I believe everyone’s palate is different and that there is no one “superior” style of beer to drink. A good brewery will have something for every beer enthusiast that walks through the door.
I even understand the growth of breweries producing their own cider, which feels like a natural extension, even though the process of making a cider is more akin to wine than beer.
From Oskar Blues’ own press release about the new seltzer they are “building on their long history of innovation,” but a part of me thinks this is innovating too far.
But as neither of these breweries are truly independent (Oskar Blues is owned by Fireman Capital Partners and Boulevard is a Duvel offering), I guess it should come as no surprise to me. It is simply another way for them to hide the truth of ownership behind the “craft” label.
Why have a boring hard seltzer when you can have a “small batch craft” one?
It allows them to reach a new sector of the market who may want in on the “craft beer” craze, but are not beer drinkers themselves.
In the end, I am sure it will work, it just feels strange to see these offerings from craft breweries. I fully expect more breweries to follow. I guess this is where we are headed now.