Revolution Brewing Recalls 10,000 Barrels of Beer


Revolution Brewing yesterday issued a recall of more than 10,000 barrels of beer packaged between Aug. 3 and Oct. 11 due to off-flavors that developed in six of the company’s more popular products.

In a statement, Founder Josh Deth and brewmaster Jim Cibak said the affected brands included Anti Hero IPA, Fist City Pale Ale, Cross of Gold Ale, Mosaic Hero IPA, Eugene Porter, and Unsessionable Imperial IPA.

“The affected beers exhibit ester or phenolic flavors, which are more characteristic of Belgian-style ales, and which should not be present in our standard American ales,” they wrote.

There are no health or safety concerns, the pair added, noting that a decision to issue the recall was made because the affected batches did not meet the company’s quality standards.

All six brands were fermented with the company’s house ale yeast that Deth and Cibak said was unknowingly contaminated by wild yeast particles. The company’s Oktoberfest, Rev Pils, Citra hero, Rosa Hibiscus Ale and Bottom Up Wit offerings were not affected, they added.

Packaging dates for the affected beers can be found on the bottom of cans and on bottle and keg labels. They include:

  • Anti Hero IPA: 8-5-16 to 10-11-16
  • Fist City Pale Ale: 8-11-16 to 9-26-16
  • Cross of Gold Ale: 8-23-16
  • Mosaic Hero IPA: 8-16-16 to 9-8-16
  • Eugene Porter: 8-3-16 to 10-6-16
  • Unsessionable Imperial IPA: 9-27-16 to 10-7-16

In an interview with Brewbound, Deth speculated that a majority of the recalled product had already been consumed, but said customers still in possession of the beer would be allowed to exchange purchases for fresh beer from the company’s Kedzie production facility.

Revolution Brewing

Deth wasn’t sure what specific financial impact the withdrawal would have on the Revolution business, but said that the company would likely be forced to remove at least 3,000 barrels of beer from distributor warehouses and retailer shelves. If that’s the case, Revolution could miss out on about $1 million worth of sales to wholesalers and the company will also incur charges to destroy the damaged product.

“We’re talking about thousands of barrels that go through the retail channel,” Deth told Brewbound. “This is a huge cost to our business and this is very disruptive for our distributors.”

The company was also forced to dump 800 barrels of affected beer that had been fermenting at the brewery, Deth added.

“It was like a death in the family,” he said. “It is something you have to deal with but it is something you dread and hope to never repeat.”

Nevertheless, Revolution — which recently spent $8 million to expand capacity to 150,000 barrels — should be able to restore distributor and retailer inventories before the end of the month, Deth added.

Revolution is the second prominent Chicago craft brewery to announce a large-scale product recall this year. In January, Goose Island said its popular Bourbon County Barleywine and Bourbon County Coffee variants had developed off-flavors and did not meet the brewers’ expectations of how the beer should taste. The company offered refunds to customers who had purchased those beers as well as refunds for its original Bourbon County Brand Stout and Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout, which developed similar off flavors, the company said in July.

Last month, Kentucky’s Alltech Lexington Brewing also recalled more than 80 days worth of its flagship Kentucky Bourbon Ale and seasonal Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale beers.

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