In the always changing world of new beer releases, new breweries opening, and constantly evolving consumer tastes, it can be hard to remember the humble beginnings of craft beer in the 1980s. In those days, the amount of craft breweries could be counted on one hand and consumers were lucky to find a fresh pale ale or Vienna style lager on draught at their local bar or grocery store.
A lot has changed since that time. With the number of breweries eclipsing 7,000 in 2018 and a whole hell of a lot more in the planning stages, most Americans now live within 10 miles of a local brewery taproom, and have access to endless variety of beers.
In the early days, building a core lineup with a flagship beer was vital to a brand’s success. As breweries branched out into new markets, it was essential to have proven beers that had succeeded in past markets and could continue to grow as they entered new space and appealed to new consumers who had heard past buzz about a particular brewery’s beer. With the rapid evolution of business models in the past 5 years, this idea has radically changed. Some breweries at this point never brew the same beer twice, but as a counterpoint, we see some legacy breweries still rely on their main flagship beer to pay the bills and fund the other exploration and experimentation that they do.
For Angel City, the first beer we brewed back in 2012 was Angel City IPA (then named Angeleno IPA… it’s gone through a few cosmetic changes over the years). The beer was part of Bloomfest 2012, a local Arts District neighborhood party celebrating one of the Arts District’s most memorable and oldest residents. We had our friends and neighbors vote on the style that we should lead with and IPA won overwhelmingly. Fast forward to August, we started packaging the beer and sending it out to limited accounts around Downtown.
In the early days, our beer started popping up at bars around DTLA like Bunker Hill, Rainbow Bar & Grill, The Staples Center, and Tom’s Urban. We’re proud that our IPA is still on tap at these accounts and they continue to support our flagship.
Grab a pint of Angel City IPA this month and help us celebrate Flagship February! And be on the lookout for all new packaging of our flagship IPA beginning to hit the market in March – because occasionally even classics need a refresh!