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The end of Shelton Brothers?

Sad. The intrigue is indeed mostly gone, but Shelton was a huge reason we drink what we drink. Maybe the ppl who pick up some of these accounts will charge a little less.

Probably the biggest news in the industry this year, if not more. The closure of Shelton will have ripple effects across the entire industry and probably put many small brewers that relied upon Shelton to drive their sales out of business.

Total comments on Ratebeer: 1

Well, three now. But I take your point. Whether that says more about RateBeer or the US beer industry is harder to tell though - although a quick look says it’s the former.

They were important and part of that is that they were so influential their success sawed off the branch upon which they sat: in championing interesting and exotic imported beer they encouraged American drinkers to know enough to not need their advice and brewers to make local nearly-as-good equivalents.

Couple that with an inflexible, combative, high margin and litigious approach to business and you’re going to be vulnerable.

That is a good comment. I live in the UK so don’t properly understand their influence beyond the fact they imported a huge amount of Belgian and European beer into the US for the first time, and I see their logo on every Belgian beer I buy. The ‘wow’ factor that impact had was bound to wane, coupled with the modern era of social media which commands new releases and trends on a daily basis, which the classics cant fulfil.

A couple of big independent distributors here have set up online beer shops, under different names effectively squeezing out the businesses they sell to. Strange times.


I wonder how much of this was also caused by the changed beer market in which European brands, with Belgians (excluding lambics) having a lot less cache. Now, for many beer consumers pastry stouts and hazy bois are probably taking a lot larger portion. I did see in the article that Mikkeller and Prairie dropping out were a big factor, but those two are hardly the beer gods they were years ago. Finally, perhaps the decline of the specialty beer store was a big factor. In New York at least, they are a dying breed and those that remain almost all also function as bars.

Are specialty beer stores really dying out? I see some have closed in DC area but others have opened. You’re right that the new ones also have taps and growlers often, but that’s not necessarily a change for worse. Especially during COVID you’d think beer stores would do better. More untapped people, some too paranoid to go to bars that are open, and many bars not open. Church key here hasn’t opened in months for example. Or sovereign. They just switched to being a store now, though it’s all online.

But ya to the larger point, many of the first ticks I drank are thanks to Shelton Bros. They shipped to Ontario as well, where I lived when I started. Also always interested in strange beers from Europe. I just hope someone picks up that niche. I still drink a fair share of trappists.

In Croatia it’s the specialty craft bars that are slowly dying out and stores that are opening. Partly due to Covid, but the Bottle shop + a few taps + a tasting room concept caters best to the craft beer crowd.

But we have a specific economic situation there where the overtaxed salaries don’t follow overtaxed prices for most apart from a minor percentage of people and for a regular Joe there, craft beer is quite expensive, though the margins for the brewers definitely aren’t high most places.

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Well, In New York the beer stores that had traditionally stocked staples are definitely few and far between now. The biggest warehouse beer shops have closed. Now there are smaller hybrid stores that charge pretty high prices and have a much smaller selection (still sometimes an excellent selection though… i.e., no one would be tick-starved). This might be more impression based than fact based. Also, these are my pre-covid views as I guess everything changed since then.


It’s a shame to see the page is now empty. While I don’t think it’ll really affect my drinking, as there are other importers now, it’s a piece of history that ends.

Does any of you knows if bars in your neighborhood believe it’ll affect their buying routes?

Anybody have any updates on this? Did someone buy them, or buy their distribution rights? Curious how this will affect the beer that shows up in D.C.

well, in all likelihood, some big market player will acquire the brand (hopefully). since, it is quite a popular brand, it can be good investment for another company with deep pockets, who can invest heavily in marketing.

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