The Boston Beer Company confirmed that it is discontinuing its 26.2 Brew which was marketed since March 2019 under the Marathon Brewing name and marked Boston Beer’s official entrance into the active lifestyle category. “The decision wasn’t easy as we love the beer, and we’re still committed to the active lifestyle beer space,” Meaghan Quinn, Senior Communications Specialist at Boston Beer wrote in an email to Brewbound.
The termination of the production comes at a time when market research firm Nielsen presented a study at last week’s Brewers Association Power Hour webinar showing that active lifestyle products were the clear winners across several product segments.Five of Nielsen’s top 10 growth brands by dollar sales from offerings by craft beer breweries were hard seltzers, which crossed the USD 1 billion sales mark in August compared to USD 3.2 billion in craft beer sales.But also active lifestyle products gained ground in the classical beer segment were. DogfishHead’s Slightly Mighty IPA and Boston Beer Company’s Marathon Brewing 26.2 Brew (!) were amongst the most successful new products.
Boston Beer’s “new endeavor” was launched in March and coincided with the sponsorship of the Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual marathon. The product evolved from the original Boston 26.2 Brew, sold under the Samuel Adams brand and available for the past seven years in and around Boston during the event.
“The golden, hazy ale offers athletes a reward for their hard work that tastes as satisfying as their accomplishments feel. Brewed with Himalayan sea salt and coriander, 26.2 Brew provides drinkers a crisp body and refreshing finish with 4.0% ABV, 9g carbs and only 120 calories,” the company said in a press release in March.
The 26.2 Brew packaging and national point-of-sale materials displayed the unique Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) unicorn logo, the symbol of the Boston Marathon, “epitomizing respect and appreciation for the incredible achievement and dedication of marathon running and of the B.A.A.'s long history as The Marathon."
The recipe was developed by Shelley Smith, Manager of Research & Product Innovation at The Boston Beer Company who is not only a brewer but also a marathon runner and triathlete. "As someone who loves beer and running, having the opportunity to brew a beer that helps runners celebrate their hard work was a passion project for me," said Shelley Smith in March. "Understanding what is important to runners is what made brewing this beer different from what is currently available. While most brewers are stripping flavor to hit a certain calorie mark, we focused on brewing a beer that not only fit what runners were looking for, but also delivered a great taste."
It is believed that the cessation of the sale is not only the result of insufficient demand for the product but can also be attributed to streamlining the product portfolio after Boston Beer Company and Dogfish Head Brewery, the second and the 13th-largest craft brewery in the United States announced to merge their respective businesses in May 2019 (inside.beer, 9.5.2019).
Dogfish Head offers SeaQuench Ale and Super-Fruit Gose, two more productswith salt addedwhich are also marketed as thirst-quenching and refreshing drinks. Slightly Mighty IPA, a low-alcohol, low-calorie IPA which was identified in the Nielsen study as one of the most successful products of this year is another active lifestyle offering sold by Dogfish Head.