The fan-favorite beer was suddenly re-released this week.
In recent years, one of the biggest sea changes in the craft beer industry has been how and when beers are released. Most brewers used to stick to a schedule: Beyond their core lineup, they’d also offer seasonal releases that came out around the same time each year. Even breweries without an annual plan would sometimes offer a calendar explaining which beers would be released when. But though many breweries still follow these systems, lots of breweries have switched to a more mercurial approach: releasing whatever beers they want whenever they want—sometimes seemingly out of the blue.
Grimm Ales is one of the many hip, modern brewers that subscribes to this philosophy—and the Brooklyn-based brewer also serves as a perfect example of why not having a release schedule can be surprisingly successful.
As Grimm explains on their website, every beer they brew “is a limited-edition release that may never come around again.” Obviously, if a beer sucks, this policy isn’t a big deal, but to the contrary, Grimm continually makes some of the most coveted beers in the country, landing acclaim from Great American Beer Festival medals to top spots in beer tastings. As a result, Grimm regularly creates a classic economic scenario: extremely high demand with little-to-no supply. So when these beers do come back around, and inevitably many of them have, excitement can go through the roof.
Take, for example, Grimm’s acclaimed Afterimage double IPA. The beer was the brewery’s first canned release back in 2015, and they produced only 200 cases worth. It’s been brewed and released again only a handful of times over the ensuing years, and needless to say, when it happens, a buzz (and not just the alcohol kind) comes with it. The brewery just re-released a new batch on April 10, and according to BeerMenus, interest in the beer went through the roof, with views of the Afterimage page going up a whopping 1,645 percent!
Of course, the problem with the no-set-schedule method of beer releases is that it takes a certain kind of brewery to pull it off: It helps to make extremely good beers and do it consistently. If a re-release isn’t as good as fans remember, that can be a major turnoff. Meanwhile, if the rest of the brewery’s lineup isn’t enjoyable, customers can get frustrated waiting around for that one good beer to come back. Luckily for Grimm, they have the quality and consistency issue down pat, making them a great example of how the beer industry is able to take advantage of the element of surprise.