Q&A with Anderson Valley Brewing Company

This is the Bumpin’ Pumpkin Beer Q&A sessions. This week I speak with the folks at Anderson Valley Brewing Company in California. Known for Bahl Hornin’ since 1987, these guys consistently make solid pumpkin options including the hefty Pinchy Jeek Barl. Enjoy!

It’s 2016 and the shelves seem to be saturated. What differentiates your pumpkin beer option from the others this year?

Besides having a well-balanced spice profile and not having the word “pumpkin” in the name, we offer Fall Hornin’ in both twelve-ounce bottles and cans, as well as a Wild Turkey® barrel-aged version (Pinchy Jeek Barl) available in large format 22oz bottles.

It’s no secret America has driven a fairly strong craft beer revolution around the world at this point. What role, if any, do you feel pumpkin beer has played in the craft beer revolution?

Much like fruited IPAs or other herb/spiced beers, pumpkin beers can often be a good introduction to craft beer for the “new-to-craft” drinker as it’s a familiar flavor profile found in many food and beverages during the season (pumpkin spice lattes, scones, ice cream, etc).

Many of the breweries I’ve contacted this year are surprisingly not making pumpkin beer. Why do you think this is? Is it because of the labor, the market, a fall in demand, or otherwise?

The pumpkin season is so short that it’s understandable why some breweries would choose to focus on other seasonally appropriate styles.

Many have remarked that the past spring saw the first really noticeable overflow of pumpkin beer inventory. It’s not uncommon to find pumpkin beers on shelves well into the spring. However, Greg Avola of Untappd did a research for Forbes that found a 50% increase in spring time check-ins of pumpkin beers in 2015. I too have seen everything from Pumking to Roadsmary’s Baby on shelves still and we’re almost a year later. In your opinion, just how badly was distribution overestimated this past year, if at all? Did you guys see growth or have you found your numbers have stagnated?

Considering the saturation of pumpkin beers you mentioned previously, Fall Hornin’ still performs well within our distribution network.

What methods do you employ in making sure that you obtain the pumpkin ingredients needed to sustain a good pumpkin beer year after year? Over the past year many have reported a shortage of pumpkin puree. Have you guys experienced any struggle in terms of ingredients and if so, where has it made you reassess your strategy for the fall season?

We haven’t encountered any production issues with Fall Hornin’.

If not pumpkin spices, what seasonal ingredient(s) do you believe could make a meteoric rise in the beer industry in the coming five years?

Rather than ingredients, we’d certainly love to see a renaissance of classic styles such as pilsners, amber ales, saisons, etc.

Short and sweet! I appreciate you taking the time to speak on behalf of everyone at Anderson Valley. You guys continue to rock it! Cheers!