Oregonians broken-hearted at the news of Henry Weinhard's cancellation

Originally published at: Oregonians broken-hearted at the news of Henry Weinhard's cancellation | Boing Boing


Oh Noooooo!

Was one of my first beers as a teenager, always enjoyed having one when I was back in the area. It was good value, a slight cut above bud/coors/miller for about the same price.


Wow… that “most Oregonian commercial ever made”… surprising and hilarious end (and accurate, as far as attitudes in the 1970s and early 80s).


Ooof, that hurts my ears.


Consolidation has not been good to cheap regional beers. I remember being awestruck by the Weinhard’s brewery when I was a kid, then returning the next year to see that it had mostly been torn down. Ditto for Olympia.

What are the other extant independent breweries in the $6 six-pack class? Naragansett in Rhode Island is still privately owned, I think—surely there are others?


Headline fail: we Oregonians are not broken-hearted; we say good riddance to this mockery of a craft beer. From TFA:

“The quality really deteriorated,” he said. “It’s a common story when these popular brands get bought; they find ways to cut corners. We still see it when craft brands today get bought by big beer.”


A case of Henry’s in the mid-90s was a great buy! My friends and I were deep in these during that era.


Current state of mind: processed this while skimming as ‘Hardy-Weinberg cancellation’, paused, re-read, still didn’t get it, and then really read it.


I’ll see myself out and try to relax differently. Reading BB BBS as a distraction clearly isn’t working.

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Yuengling. I think Genesee might still be independent. A couple of others.

Most such brands went under in the 70’s. The vast majority of the ones you see today are all owned by Pabst. Who bought up the IP for a bunch of long dead brands, and then most of the remaining independents.

Including Olympia, which was brought back by Pabst as a sort of crafty shell to get at some operating breweries and divorce some of their brands from the Pabst parent.


Officially, yes, but it’s merely a brand at this point that has traded hands a half dozen times and bears no production similarities. The brewery was destroyed in 1981; they are actually being produced by Genessee.


Didn’t know that about Olympia. I thought it had initially been bought up in '99, but looks like it was getting shuffled around even before that (like you mentioned). Just out of curiosity, what was the impetus for companies collapsing in the 70s?

Genesee came to mind, but looking at the Wikipedia page, seems it is now a subsidiary of Florida Farme and Ice Co. Womp womp.


Damn damn damn. Shows what I know.

I guess I’ll pivot my East Coast cheap beer loyalty to Yuengling…oops!


The same thing happened to the Mendicino Brewing Company – bought by some huge Bev Conglomerate and it rapidly went down the toilet. Red Tail Ale, Black Hawk Stout, Eye of the Hawk. All turned into trash.

Henry Weinhard’s was my parents’ go-to beer from the time I was about 11 until I got back from college. They’re in their 80s now and they can’t drink anything stronger than Pacifico.

This was the first commercial of theirs I remember:


Keeping Schludwiller at bay:


Narragansett went through the “just a brand” thing in the 70’s. The current ownership bought them out of the weird investment portfolio status they were in specifically to bring the company back.

They’re independently owned, and I think qualify as craft by current industry standards.

They do contract brew at Genesee (who it turns out aren’t independent anymore having been bought by an investment firm and merged with Labatt USA and Magic Hat). But some of your favorite craft beers are probably contract brewing there too. Genesse is a major contract brewer and contract brewing is insanely, insanely common in the craft scene.

They’ve been brewing some of their own beers for a few years, and recently got a small brewery going. And they otherwise work with independent distributors, treat their employees well (from what I’ve heard), focus on smaller independent businesses for their customer base, and operate almost entirely through the craft and independent systems.

You can shit on a lot of the other brands of this sort for this kind of thing. Especially Pabst who set the model.

But I don’t think it’s fare to dismiss Narragansett given they’re in the midst of pulling the brand out of that situation. It seems to be a well run company. And they’re very much not in the owned by a vulture capital firm, or secret Pabst situation most such brands are in.

It started with prohibition. The vast majority of American brewers never made it through.

The first wave of consolidation began after that with a handful of extent brands in each region expanding rapidly to fill demand.

They used those funds to snap up smaller operators. Then began cutting costs, and bracketing owned brands into market segments. Regional brands often becoming the ultra value option.

The 50’s and 60’s saw the original cocktail boom and expansion of wine drinking. Which put increasing pressure on remaining beer producers, accelerating the rate they were going under.

By the 70’s beer drinking was on the rise. But there were already very few breweries operating in the US. Bud, Miller and Coors had such deep pockets they could undercut everyone, vastly outspend on national advertising and effectively gain control of distributors. Pressing other brands out. Or they could just buy them and shut them down.

That let them swallow most of the remaining competitors and shutter them. Others simply shuttered and were snapped up or were leverage buy outed into investment portfolios.

Towards the 80’s the very low quality of most of these, whoever was making them. Basically tanked most of the brands. As consumers looked for a quality option they bought imports.

That was kinda the death nell. And it kicked off the next wave of consolidation with what would become inbev buying everything.


Sad, really. We’ve got something like 1600 independent breweries here in the U.K., there’s something like twenty to thirty within a roughly thirty-mile radius from where I live! I can smell one that’s about a quarter mile from where I work, my best mate’s nephew has a brewery that’s not all that far away, and two brothers who currently run a pub that’s my regular drinking place will be taking on an independent pub in the near future where they’re planning on having up to fifteen beers on tap at any one time, and they’ve got a huge number to choose from!


out of all the beers they are discontinuing, Henry’s was the only one that i even liked. i haven’t had it in years, and since it became a macrobrew i’m sure it’s not as good anyway, but it’s still sad to hear.


A favorite in my college days, and it (along with some imports) was my gateway to craft beer. I was really excited Henry’s they got to bottling number 69.


A friend of mine was in International Mergers and Acquistions at Miller Coors (distinct from Molson Coors) and offered similar corporate speak when we discussed the inevitable decline in quality when Big Fish swallows Little Brewery.
One of her most painful lines was, when asked what they do if an up and comer is hurting their profits. “We just buy them. Everyone has a price…Eventually.” Since she drinks no Coors products, I asked what happens when Big Beer comes for her faves? “I’ll adapt.”
This is why I don’t buy brews without this seal:
Screen Shot 2021-08-04 at 1.39.37 PM


Not sure that Henry’s was every really a craft beer, but certainly better than most of the swill available in the early 90’s when I drank it college. Because I was fancy.