Sierra Nevada Issues 36-State-Wide Recall

Austin Ray

THE GIST
Sierra Nevada has issued a 36-state-wide recall of select bottled beer, citing a packaging defect that could trigger “a small piece of glass to break off and possibly fall into the bottle, causing a risk for injury.” The recall is specific to beer made at the brewery’s North Carolina facility—beer made at the flagship brewery in Chico, California is unaffected. The company is now encouraging consumers in the listed states to dispose of eight different brands in the 12-oz. bottle format packaged between early December and mid-January. Full details regarding the affected beer, specific packaging, and production dates, can be found on the company’s website.

WHY IT MATTERS
Sierra Nevada is the third largest craft brewery in the country, so a recall of this size, stretching across more than half of the U.S., accounts for a huge amount of volume (even after recognizing the unquantifiable, but no doubt large amount of recalled beer that has been already safely consumed). That’s particularly frustrating because the liquid itself is fine—they’re dealing with a packaging defect. To make matters worse, the defected bottles are essentially individual grains of sand on the beach (or, as the company believes, one out of every 10,000 bottles). Nevertheless, it’s offering refunds on principle.

“Sierra Nevada has set the standard for quality in the craft brewing industry since 1980 and we have decided to take this precaution to ensure the safety of our consumers,” says Mike Bennett, the company’s chief supply chain officer. “To date, we have not received any consumer reports of injuries resulting from the potentially affected bottles and we are working with our supplier to determine the root cause of the issue.”

GBH reached out to ask, among other things, whether the glass supplier was responsible for the defect, and, if so, would it be footing the bill. A Sierra Nevada spokesperson was unable to provide additional details.

Regardless, this is the latest in a seemingly growing list of recalls from prominent breweries. Goose Island, Revolution, Boulevard, and Left Hand have all in the past year or so issued recalls on infected beers. Not every noteworthy recall has been about the liquid itself, though. Stillwater recalled a beer inspired by Kanye West over a merchandising rights issue. And in March, similar to the case at hand here, Constellation Brands recalled select Corona packages over concerns the bottles contained glass particles.

As for Sierra Nevada, the company has stopped distributing all affected beer and is “actively” working with its retail partners to remove beer from shelves and halt any further shipments.

—Dave Eisenberg

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Quality Matters [Sierra Nevada]