Galvanized by the crazy-popular Not Your Father’s Root Beer, Small Town Brewery has, in just a few short years, puzzled and captivated drinkers in equal measure. And now, The House That Hard Root Beer Built is gearing up to roll out a number of new products behind the cheeky name that put it on the map. But a trio of forthcoming labels hints at more traditional products may be on the horizon.
WHY IT MATTERS
Okay, “traditional” may be a bit of a stretch here. In addition to an IPA, they’ve got Not Your Father’s Cherry Ale and Not Your Mom’s Iced Tea coming down the pike. Those may not have been the preferred libations on Viking ships, but still: plenty of reputable craft breweries drop beers brewed with cherries, and hard iced tea is a staple at most barbecues where beer-averse drinkers are present. Earlier this year, the company also released Not Your Father’s Vanilla Cream Ale, a cream soda replicate and sign the company is still in on the genre.
Before going any further, remember that correlation does not imply causation. So take this not as inference, but merely something worth noting. In June, Just-Drinks reported that U.S. volume share for the hard root beer brand had been cut by more than half: “The hard soda, which helped spark a resurgence in the channel after strong sales last Summer, took just 4.1% of the US flavoured malt beverage (FMB) category in April, analysts at Bernstein said. The figure was the brand's lowest since July last year.”
That dip was, of course, preceded by an absolute meteoric rise, in which the brand accounted for 0.1% of all FMB volume in January of 2015—10 months later, it owned 10.3%.
Analysts pointed to new hard soda entrants from Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and even Boston Beer as the reason for the dip. Now, as the IPA rocket ship continues to fly steadily through new universes, it seems plausible that Small Town is hitching a new ride to prevalence by taking a page from the competition (much the same way A-B, MillerCoors, and Boston apparently did when they could no longer ignore hard soda’s viability). Whether the “Not Your Father’s” identity carries the same weight when pinned to the lapels of more typically produced beer styles remains to be seen.
Small Town: Not Your Father's Taproom IPA and Cherry Ale [My Beer Buzz]