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Seasonal beers are one of the best parts of being a craft beer fan! Variety is one of the major benefits of being a fan of better brew and seasonals give you that variety and also help to make certain beers more special (it always tastes better when you have to wait for it). Every year we wait eagerly for the stouts of winter, the assortment of styles that spring brings, the lighter and refreshing brews of summer and the Oktoberfests and pumpkin beers of fall. For many breweries seasonals are their best sellers, and with good reason. Somehow few things are more delicious than one of your favorite beers that you’ve had to wait nine months.

Over the past few years, though, we’ve been seeing seasonal beers released earlier and earlier. It used to be that the first summer brews arrived in May. Now, we expect them in March. Spring beers...well we’re pretty sure we saw some as early as February this year (sick, we know). But brewers pushed us over the edge when we started seeing pumpkin ales in early August. AUGUST! That is literally the middle of summer. We don’t know about you, but when it’s 90°+ and humid as hell, the last thing we want is anything involving pumpkin! Plus, this means there’s never any left for Thanksgiving, when we all want it most! In our poll about seasonal beer, a full 68% of you even said that seasonal craft beers are coming out too early!

From hanging around the industry as long as we have, we know why this is (but we still don’t like it). All the brewers want to be first to market. The first beer of the season you try is the one you’re going to stick with most likely and has switched your taste-season to the next season. The craft beer diehards (like us) may disagree and say that you try them all and will switch back to the current season, but 90% of the craft beer market is the casual drinker...and THAT person will usually stick to their first and move to the next season. Plus nobody wants to have extra inventory on the shelves come the end of the season (do you ever drink Spiced Christmas Ale after Christmas? Neither do we.). So it’s a race. And every year that race starts earlier.

Now that we’ve identified the problem, what’s our solution? Simple: don’t buy seasonal craft beer until YOU think it’s appropriate. Don’t want pumpkin beer in August? Don’t buy it. Wait until Thanksgiving...or at least Autumn. Spiced Christmas Ale? Let’s stall until after Thanksgiving. We don’t want to hurt craft brewery’s sales, we just want to shift the seasons back to normal. So once that season hits, as Jim Cramer might say, “Buy buy buy!” Let’s show brewers that they don’t need to launch pumpkin beer in August to sell it all in time for Thanksgiving.

Also, we’ve launched the Campaign For Seasonal Beer. So what do you think? Want to discuss this with us on Twitter or tell brewers to hold off on how early they launch these, use #CampaignForSeasonalBeer. Or hit us up on Facebook. Or, you could always just leave us a comment below. Either way, let us know your thoughts! Cheers!