Over the two-and-a-half years we’ve been brewing Crushin’ It, one thing is certain: our fans absolutely love this beer.
And for good reason! Who would have thought that an IPA with orange juice could be so delicious and so refreshing and so completely hit the spot in every imaginable way?
From a beer that began as the winner in one of our internal homebrewing competitions to scaling it up this month and completely selling out of it within a few weeks, we’re extraordinarily gratified that our fans have embraced this beer so thoroughly.
In fact, earlier this week, we released yet another small batch of Crushin’ It in the Brewtique, and the response was exactly what we expected: our fans went crazy for it.
While our fans love this beer, our experience with Crushin’ It this year has been a wild ride -- for us, for our fans, and for a brand we have all come to know and love.
When we released the canned version of Crushin’ It earlier this month, we received a lot of feedback from our fans, both positive and negative. A lot of people really loved Crushin’ It. They were thrilled to finally have a chance to get their hands on a can or two, and, judging from how fast this beer sold, they couldn’t get enough of it, particularly while squirreled up at home during a quarantine.
Yet, there were also some people who were unhappy with the beer. These folks had been the ones standing in line for each limited release last summer, and they’d noticed a difference in that release of Crushin’ It.
And it was different. This time around, in order to get Crushin’ It out to as many people who wanted it, we needed to make it shelf-stable. You see, there’s always a little bit of yeast left over in a beer once it’s canned. Usually, it’s not a big deal, but with a beer like Crushin’ It -- or The Bog -- the fruit juices in those beers contain a lot of sugar, and the yeast could begin to ferment that sugar, resulting in bursting cans.
No one wants that.
So, this time around, we needed to get Crushin’ It pasteurized. Since we can’t do that down in Cape May, we brewed the canned version of Crushin’ It at a brewer up in New York who could pasteurize.
If you recall, we did the same thing last year with The Bog, and it was a success. People everywhere are loving The Bog, so we had no reason to believe that we couldn’t have the same success with Crushin’ It.
Of course, no one expected COVID-19.
This pandemic has affected everyone in ways we never imagined: mostly, it makes even the simplest of tasks incredibly difficult. Usually in this situation, we’d be at our partner in New York for each step in the process: brewing, pasteurizing, and canning.
However, because of the pandemic, they asked that we not make an on-site visit. Completely understandably, they were trying to keep their circle small -- as we are in Cape May -- and didn’t want to risk their workers.
So, they sent us an unpasteurized sample to taste test, and, with a thumbs-up, our production team gave them the go-ahead to pasteurize and package Crushin’ It.
Once it was canned, this batch was delivered to our new warehouse in Egg Harbor Township and was placed on our trucks to get out to our retail partners throughout New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and Delaware early the next day.
A few cases made it to the brewery, and when we finally cracked them open, we noticed what you’d noticed when you opened your cans at home: that the pasteurization process had removed much of the vibrant, orange color and some of the orange flavor. While it was still a good beer, it was different.
Throughout all of this, we had a batch of Crushin’ It brewing in Cape May -- this was for our Tasting Room and for our draft accounts. Since this beer would be kept cold, there was no reason to pasteurize it and was much closer to the original, unpasteurized version.
As the marketing department needed pictures of the beer before we were set to receive the batch from New York, we used pictures of the beer brewed in-house throughout our blogs and social media. We had no reason to believe that the final, canned beer would be any different from the version brewed in-house.
Many of you contacted us about this, and we apologize. Your trust in us is something we hold in extraordinarily high regard, and we’d never intentionally compromise that.
So, what does the future hold for Crushin’ It?
We’re working with our partner in New York to get Crushin’ It closer to the beer you’ve come to know and love. The next canned batch will be closer to the original version. We look forward to hearing your feedback: please let us know how we’re doing.
Through all of this, we know that this was the absolute worst time that this could happen. We know that everyone out there is simply trying to find some piece of normalcy during this crisis, and our fans were hoping to get that with Crushin’ It. We apologize if we let you down -- it’s the last thing we’d ever want to do, and we’re working hard to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
In the meantime, thanks for not giving up on us. Know that we’re always working to Make It Better. We love our fans, we love that you love our brews, and we promise to do better in the future.