Denial: NO. No way they can do this, holy crap no.
Bargaining: Ok Stone, give me another chance. I’m going to my local beer store to buy some right now, ok? Ok?!??
Depression: Ruination 2.0? Just not going to be the same. Man that really sucks.
And finally, acceptance: Ok, I get it. Ruination was seeing some decline in numbers and 2.0 is bound to be amazing. Way to stay relevant guys.
Then, after acceptance finally sank in, a final feeling swept over me: guilt.
I started to think to myself. . .
When was the last time I sought out a four pack or bomber of Ruination?
And I honestly couldn’t remember.
Breweries do not casually make decisions about murdering iconic brands. It’s sad but true: Ruination is just not selling the way it once did. I’ve seen this scenario play out in my day to day as a sales rep, watching as we pick up out of date Ruination and are ultimately forced to replace it with some newer, special, or limited release. More than any other brewery, Stone is vigilant about the freshness of their beer (as evidenced by the brilliant Enjoy By brand and their own website where you can literally report out of date Stone beer you see in the market). But there’s only so much expired beer that a brewery can tolerate being dumped down the drain.
It’s not for lack of trying either. Stone attempted to bring Ruination back from the precipice with marketing strategies such as #RuinationDomination, a month where bars keep Ruination on draft for a month straight. Brands like Ruination are deserving of such respect and strategies like this remind people how awesome the beer is.
Despite such strategies, in the end, Ruination couldn’t be saved. I can’t even blame Stone for their decision. Actually, after thinking more I’m thrilled that the brewery is willing to change with the tides, because their flexibility and innovation will keep them at the top of the craft beer scene.
While Ruination 2.0 is bound to be a thing of beauty, I’m still sad to see my old friend go.
Ultimately we, the craft beer people, should accept the blame for her demise. It has been proven that many of us are fickle, polygamous creatures not wed to particular craft beer brands. While nothing is inherently wrong with this sentiment, next time you visit your local beer store simply consider the implications of your choices. Then imagine a world without Dogfish 60 Minute, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, North Coast Old Rasputin or any of the classic craft beers that are truly exceptional. Are these beers still relevant? I think so. I also think it’s important to show respect to these icons by occasionally picking up a six-pack or bomber, and sharing it with friends. Not only will you get to enjoy an amazing, classic beer, you might also be saving a life.