The Great Bourbon County Brand Swerve

Hey guys! Are you excited for Neapolitan stouts?! Strawberry! Chocolate! Vanilla! You know, like that great beer Cycle and 3 Sons made, or the allegedly unsanctioned Bourbon County Brand Scooop also made by 3 Sons, or that More Double Rainbow that was pretty okay?

What about a cinnamon forward Horchata stout?  It could be a fun spin on the Mexican drink that’s very popular as almost a dessert drink. This beer style that has had fairly successful efforts done by Untitled Art, and Ballast Point. Just think what a fresh take on Bourbon County this could be.

Just kidding. Those beers aren’t real. Goose Island got you good.

They played beer people like a bunch of rubes

If you haven’t already read by now, the official lineup of bottle variants of Bourbon County Brand Stout was released today.  It included 2 of their mainstays, and several other variants learned about via TTB label filings. The list skewed towards bringing back old favorites like Bramble and Vanilla Stout, but missing from the list was the previously teased variants, as well as the now annual favorite Coffee and Barleywine, replaced with well, a Coffee Barleywine.

The 2018 Bourbon County Bottle Lineup

  • Bourbon County Brand Stout
  • Reserve Bourbon County Brand Stout (12-year-old Elijah Craig Barrel Bourbon barrels)
  • Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout (Prop with dark chocolate and cocoa nibs)
  • Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout (aged with Madagascar vanilla beans)
  • Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout (aged in rye barrels with raspberry and blackberry
  • Bourbon County Brand Wheatwine
  • Bourbon County Brand Midnight Orange Stout (with chocolate and orange zest)
  • Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine (with Intelligentsia coffee beans)

If you haven’t had BCBS randalled through Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso beans, you’re in for a treat. I’m personally excited for that being bottled for the first time, but this post isn’t about Coffee Barleywine, and it’s definitely not about the orange labeled bottle that has the same color as that photoshopped Pumpkin BCBS label from a few years ago.

“According to a source they were diversionary tactics to throw beer nerds — and the media — off the scent of this year’s actual lineup of eight beers,” – Josh Noel

How is intentionally creating higher expectations for your brand than you plan to deliver, a good business decision? Did someone think this was a Hulk Hogan joining the nWo level swerve? In reality it came out looking like the Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son angle.

I think a lot of beer nerds enjoy surprises, like going to a bottle release and the brewer dropping a secret 1pp without an announcement or going to a beer fest with a brewery whose list of beers in the program turn out to be way more pedestrian than what they actually tap.

Goose Island has done some cool surprises before like dropping Double Barrel BCBS out of nowhere or doing the Mystery BCBS festival pours before, where they didn’t tell you what variant you were drinking. However, promoting something that sounds great that turns out to be an intentional decoy really benefits nobody.

If we learned anything from the 2015 release, if the infected BCBS didn’t keep customers away from Black Friday lines, this certainly won’t either. Just think…for a month they convinced people they were making new beers that tickers were excited for. You sure got us all, Goose.

Also they made an orange beer for some reason, because citrus stouts are all the rage apparently.

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