It’s the Great Pumpkin Arms Race!
We touched on the craziness of how early Pumpkins are coming out yesterday on the blog. Although we’d prefer to pick and choose the exact date for Pumpkins to arrive (probably around late September/early October), this isn’t realistic for a variety of reason.
We’ve also seen a couple of people complain that Pumpkin beers coming out at this time of the year aren’t using this years Pumpkin crop. They’re not, nor do most breweries pretend they are. Pumpkins aren’t harvested until October/November, so unless a beer is coming out in November or later, it’s likely to be using last years crop. We also find it funny for a brewery to complain about this, when they themselves have used last years crop in the past.
Most Pumpkin Beers actually focus more on the spices than the actual Pumpkin flavor itself. Pumpkin has such an earthy subtle flavor. There’s a reason why we put spices in the pie. A Pumpkin pie without any of the spices wouldn’t taste all that great. They’re added to enhance the Pumpkin flavor, not hide it.
Capacity: Almost every brewery has a limited capacity. To schedule Pumpkin beers in around the various other year round beers that we all make, we need to start brewing Pumpkin beers in June/July. This ensures that none of our other beers go out of stock. The last thing any of us want is for customers to be unable to get the beer they want. This is even more difficult for the larger craft breweries as the demand for their Pumpkin beers is far greater than ours, meaning they have to allocate far more capacity that we do, meaning they need to start brewing very early to meet the demand.
Fear: Wholesalers also put breweries under pressure to get the Pumpkins out early. They in turn are under pressure from the retails to get it to them. It’s a Pumpkin Arms race, with no one wanting to be the last one out of the gate and be left with Pumpkin beers in December. The irony is that customer will find it hard to find ANY Pumpkin beers by November 1st. The only one’s available at the a point will be some fresh Pumpkin beers (these will be very limited) and ones that didn’t sell well.
Demand: We can all complain about how we’d like Pumpkin beers to come out later, but interestingly enough, people WANT to buy them now. No one forces anyone to go into a store and pick up a case or six pack of Pumpkin beer. (And most people don’t realize they should get it now before it’s all gone). People see the packages and want to buy them. It might be still hot out, but as the evening cools down, a nice Pumpkin beer after a meal (even in August) can be absolutely delicious.
Grab some Pumpkin while it lasts, and enjoy it when you feel like it!