Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey won't allow craft brewers to use its name on their labels anymore

Categories: Beer Man

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Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey has asked the Colorado brewers who buy its sought-after barrels for the purposes of aging certain beers to stop using its name on their labels, and the distillery, which was bought out by New Jersey's Proximo Spirits late last year, will no longer sell any of its barrels to out-of-state beer makers.

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It's a decision that ends a six-year partnership between the distillery and some of Colorado's most respected brewers, including Great Divide, Oskar Blues, Avery, Dry Dock, Upslope and Breckenridge, which entered three beers into the Great American Beer Festival competition this year that were all aged in Stranahan's barrels.

The news is particularly relevant this month as two local breweries will release bottled beers that were aged in Stranahan's barrels. Great Divide's Barrel Aged Old Ruffian Barley Wine will carry the Stranahan's name on its label, however, while Dry Dock's Bligh's Barleywine Ale will simply read "aged in whiskey barrels."

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Great Divide will keep the name because it bought the barrels more than a year ago, says brewery founder Brian Dunn, adding that he had been aging his beers in Stranahan's barrels since 2005. Great Divide is also using the Stranahan's name on its Barrel Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, released in late September, and on its Barrel Aged Hibernation Ale, which will hit shelves in December or January 2012. After that, however, Great Divide will no longer use the Stranahan's name, although it will continue to buy barrels from the distillery, as well as other whiskey makers.

Dry Dock chose not to use the name at all -- at Proximo's request. And Dry Dock owner Kevin DeLange says he no longer has access to Stranahan's barrels, which is frustrating since he believes they make some of the best whiskey when it comes to aging beer.

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Proximo's vice president of marketing, Elwyn Gladstone, says the company has another plan for its barrels, which it will reveal soon. As for the out-of-state sales, he says, "We were concerned that people from outside of Denver were using them to capitalize on our provenance and terroir."

Some of the non-Colorado brewers that have used Stranahan's barrels include award-winning and highly-regarded companies like Cigar City Brewing in Florida, Nebraska Brewing Company, Deschutes Brewing and Full Sail, both of Oregon, and Flying Dog.

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18 comments
Bluedreadz
Bluedreadz

Just like Flying Dog. I saw this coming years ago. I haven't bought a Flying Dog beer since the day I heard they were moving. I also have a bottle of batch #1 which I bought from the first tour they did. I'll be selling that one to some idiot that thinks its worth more than msrp.

erriblet
erriblet

So first they stop selling out of state, and now the barrels? 

Dry Dock had a killer stout or porter aged in those barrels.  Sad that they will never be able to do so again.  And it has been hard to find for quite awhile now.

Doesn't Colorado have any kooky, eccentric kagillionaires that would buy it back it return Stranahan's to its former glory?

Aerofanbig
Aerofanbig

Breckenridge Brewery is getting exclusive rights to Stranahan's barrels and is creating a barrel aged program. Its staying local, heck VERY local since they are very close to each other, only a few minutes apart. 

Dave Butler
Dave Butler

Another example of why bigger isn't necessarily better when it comes to growing a corporation. If you hurt your following you lose your unique identity and reputation you've built up.

Aceranchero
Aceranchero

To J$: my local liquor store, which was out of Stranahan's with no firm date on when they'd be resupplied, suggested Breckenridge Bourbon. (Over Leopold's, I should add.)

I wonder what sort of notes they'll put on the label going forward? "Yo, Snookie in da house!"

ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz............

DailyBeerReview
DailyBeerReview

Stop buying their whiskey so they don't have any more barrels to sell.

scandal
scandal

Stranahan's was sold to a corporation the are no longer "colorado" anymore so screw them.

j$
j$

They might as well pull out of Colorado too then. Move that shit to New Jersey and see how well it sells. Terrible move on their part to push out craft brewers. I hope a new whiskey start up takes their place here in Colorado soon.

JC
JC

So much for keeping it local and cultivating mutually beneficial partnerships.  Stranahan's is well on their way to becoming Jack Daniel's.  Congrats!

Fletch
Fletch

Yeah, I hate free advertising too... especially on such low-brow products such as Deschutes  and Great Divide beer. 

Alex Karklins
Alex Karklins

So they don't want any good publicity for their product? I think this move, combined with their sale to Proximo is signaling the end of Stranahan's.

Nicole Relyea
Nicole Relyea

I hope they have a good plan for whatever else they're doing with the barrels. If I see that a beer has been aged in a Stranahan's barrel, I'll almost definitely order it. I think the name does a lot for them, and I'm sad to see that go. 

Barrfly2
Barrfly2

Here we go. Let the shit fly! Destroying local relationships is probably a smart thing in their corporate, passionless, soul less existence that is the future of Stranahans. I really like the capitalize on terrior comment, that is a beauty. Winemakers share their knowledge and learn from each other, don't they?I also didn't we were such a sought after province....

Big Sigh
Big Sigh

More lame, backward corporate thinking.

"We were concerned that people from outside of Denver were using them to capitalize on *our* provenance and terroir."

Hmm, like you are, Proximo?

Nofzac
Nofzac

George Stranahan.

epl
epl

Leopold Brothers. 

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