Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Good times, Hard Times

Hard Times Café franchise owner Randy Barnette confirms publicly that Clipper City Brewing Company will now be brewing Hard Times Select Lager  for the Washington, D.C. area restaurant chain. He also shares his opinions on the future direction of Coastal/Old Dominion Brewing Company , the prior, long-time, brewer of the chains' beer.

From DC Beer:
Well, thought I'd join the list finally after seeing so much info from here make it over to the realbeer forums etc. I'm not a frequent poster there but a few of you may recognize me. I'm a franchisee with Hard Times Cafe (Woodbridge). I also got a call from Mike over at OD [Old Dominion] yesterday. I've got good money on their never being a OD beer festival again without Mike there to run it. They are really hell bent on destroying the local flavor of ODBC. My opinion is they just want the brand name and the ability to start hawking one particular beer regionally or nationally like Red Hook, who cares about anything except the OD Ale or whatever they decide to concentrate on.

Not only are they stopping REAL Oak Barrel Stout and New River Pale along with both of the Tuppers' but they are no longer brewing Hard Times Select Lager for us (or any other restaurant contracts....only interested re-labeling their beer). That represents FOUR GABF medal winners.

Just today I finished working out the transition of our beer to Clipper City. I believe Hugh Sisson, Tom Cizauskas and their crew will do a very good job at representing the Hard Times brand for us.

If things continue like this there is definitely a void left for someone to come in with a new regional brewery and reclaim the OD market. I think the way things are going there's going to be some long term ill will towards ODBC by the craft beer crowd around here. Maybe Dogfish will fill that mark, they have another location in the Ashburn area they plan to open after Falls Church (I lost a potential restaurant site to them).

photo (l-r): Randy Barnette of Hard Times Café, Clipper City Production Manager Matt Saindon, General Partner Hugh Sisson

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