Earlier this month, the big news in craft brewing was the closing of beer importers, Shelton Bros. The company existed for twenty-four years and were early importers of craft beers. They introduced America to different beer styles, such as sour beer. The company’s bank pushed them into liquidation; a victim of COVID-19 and the recession. You can read more about the closing of Shelton Bros. here.
I found this news interesting because of a personal connection to the firm. One of the Shelton brothers is Will. He is the dad of Zach and Max who are among my son Alan’s best friends. I have known Will for over twenty years.
For a while he owned a brewery in Western Massachusetts, High and Mighty, which made great beer. I gave a book talk about Brewing Battles at the Jones Library and we served Will’s beer. The brewery only lasted a few years and then Will moved to California. There, for a while, he worked with Pete Slosberg from Pete’s Wicked Ale. He then started a new brewery, Concrete Jungle. Will is now back in Massachusetts.
The demise of Shelton Bros. reflect changes in the brewing industry. The country has over 7,000 breweries. Many of them are very local and supply farm to table restaurants. American brewers now make many of the unusual and exotic styles that Shelton Bros imported, making them less competitive. You can read more about Shelton Bros, in an article from 2017 by Andy Crouch.