What was once one of the hottest breweries in the country is now making donut beer for Sheetz a gas/ convenience store chain.
An unlikely odyssey (or maybe not) for a brewery renowned for its sour beers which was purchased by Anheuser-Busch in 2017. An acquisition that caused many craft beer fans to abandon them in droves.
Before that sale, the Asheville, North Carolina-based brewery was incredibly in-demand, its beers were cutting-edge, and the nation’s most prestigious breweries lining to collaborate with them.
At the time of Wicked Weed’s purchase, Anheuser-Busch was on a craft beer buying spree, that had started Goose Island in 2011, and eventually grew into a family of once ‘craft’ properties (at least according to the Brewers Association’s craft beer definition) that included Blue Point Brewing, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Golden Road, Breckenridge, Four Peaks, Devils Backbone, Karbach Brewing and others.
And although those acquisitions we’re judged severely by many of the craft beer community’s passionate core, the backlash the Wicked Weed purchase generated was immediate and brutal.
“Treachery,” set the tone for a piece that was published in the Chicago Tribune. The quote itself was lifted from the many comments left on Wicked Weed’s Facebook page after they made their announcement, and pretty much captures the tenor of betrayal that many of the brewery’s fans still feel.
Jester King (another prominent wild ale brewery) immediately cut all ties with the organization. There would be no more collaborations with Wicked Weed and they would no longer be selling its beers at their taproom.
And to be fair, we’re not sure how Wicked Weed’s beer sale are currently faring. What fans the brewery has lost has to be weighed against the massive economic power of the world’s largest brewer and the enhanced distribution network that the deal has afforded them.
But we’re pretty sure we wouldn’t have received a press release from Sheetz, a gas station/convenience store chain headquartered in Altoona, Pa, announcing that it had partnered with Wicked Weed Brewing to produce a donut-infused beer for the holidays.
Brewed using Sheetz signature donut holes, and available at 432 Sheetz stores across Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia, Project Happy Hole-idayz is described s a golden Pale Ale with notes of fresh baked donuts, vanilla frosting, graham crackers, honey, and malted barley.
And while a beer like this may seem like something that Sheetz would sell, it doesn’t sound anything that Wicked Weed would want to put its heart into…
Not the Wicked Weed that we used to know…