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Where Have All The Pumpkin Beers Gone?

Michael Donato, October 01, 2015 -   

So is Pumpkin beer dying? Has the bubble burst? Will breweries finally stop shoving a billion varieties down our throats? It seems like it. I’ve had one pumpkin beer this season, Ballast Point’s Pumpkin Down. I happened to enjoy it, and thought using a Scottish Ale base added some nice depth. Still I’ve noticed a lot fewer pumpkin beers on the shelves.

There are definitely fewer pumpkin experiments going on. Look at this chart of new beers showing up in our database. Trending downward even if you extrapolate 2015 through December. Long standing beers that are re-brewed every year won’t show up as new despite being available this season, but there are enough vintages out there that this big a drop suggests a move away from the style.

Year

New Pumpkin Beers

2013

3540

2014

2100

2015

665

We just developed a schematic to determine active beers, and we can apply that specifically to one style. In 2014 at the end of September there were 295 active pumpkin beers compared to 212 today. That’s a huge difference. I’ve been tracking beers as they became active over the last few weeks, not wanting to get out in front of the season with this post. Through much of September roughly five new Pumpkin beers gained active status a day, but there were only four added in total over the final week of the month.

We can take a look at ratings for each year for the first three quarters. 

Year

Rating

Quantity

2015

3.347

39432

2014

3.343

74694

2013

3.313

118337

Ratings have come up by year, if slightly. These numbers are a few ticks better than the overall average though, with the gap getting smaller every year. We’re rating all beer better these days, which might be something to take a closer look at. Pumpkin beer ratings leveling out while the overall ratings go up suggests what could definitely be the beginning of the end for the pumpkin beer craze. 

Year

Rating

Quantity

2015

3.312

6687244

2014

3.273

9464027

2013

3.167

8330744

Volume has dropped as well. In 2014, again the first three quarters, .79% of all check-ins were pumpkin beers. That dropped to .59% in 2015. That’s a fairly significant drop for such a large sample, but it’s not surprising. We’ve seen the evidence that there are fewer pumpkin beers this year, and with fewer beers comes fewer check-ins. 

So we’ve got stagnant ratings, with fewer varieties, and less pumpkin-themed drinking overall. This is a sure sign that the pumpkin beer bubble is leveling out and we’ll soon be free of the pressure of every brewer feeling the need to churn out a pumpkin beer just because it’s fall. 

Michael can be found on Twitter and Untappd and is perfectly happy to let you drink all the pumpkin beer. You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.

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