Goose Island Outsourcing Honkers, IPA, 312 Production

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 29, 2011 6:20PM

The Goose Island/InBev-AB deal is allowing Goose Island some wriggle room with regards to production that some local craft beer drinkers may not be happy about.

Goose Island announced today that they're outsourcing the remaining brewing of Honkers Ale and India Pale Ale to Red Hook Ale Brewing, with locations in Portsmouth, NH, Seattle and Woodinville, WA. Since Goose Island has already been brewing these two beers at Red Hook since February, it isn't much of a shocker to see Red hook brew all of it now.

Those of you who tie in area codes with civic pride grab a seat, because this news is the stunner: brewing of 312 Urban Wheat ale will be split between Goose Island's Fulton Street brewery and an Anheuser-Busch brewing plant in Baldwinsville, NY.

We just got off the phone with Goose Island's John Hall, who said that the moves allows Goose Island to finish a $3 million upgrade to the Fulton Street brewery. The upgrades should be complete by late October or early November. Hall also said outsourcing Goose Island's foundation beers to Red Hook and A-B for brewing also allows the brewery to handle the seasonal ales, bring back their Christmas ale this year, brew Nut Brown ale at Fulton Street and expand their Belgian and sour ale production and their barrel beer program.

"With all we've been doing here, we've been shorting suppliers for a few months," Hall said. "These moves should be able to correct that and allow us to continue to do what we do at a high level." Hall has been consistent in his comments to media since InBev/A-B bought Goose Island in March that the deal would allow them to focus on programs like the Belgians and sours. Folks in the "Goose Island sold out" camp will see today's announcement as another step toward the decline of the brewery. Others will take a wait-and-see approach and judge the moves by the quality of the beer.