USA: Has the concept of a beer for athletes failed?

Sierra Nevada Brewing announced on Tuesday to stop production of Sufferfest Beer, a brand that the craft brewer acquired nearly two years ago as its first acquisition ever. “As we enter 2021, we are pausing production to explore what’s next for Sufferfest Beer Company. As such, we do not plan to release any beers this year,” the company said in a statement.

Apparently, the idea of Jeff White, who succeeded founder Ken Grossman as president and CEO of Sierra Nevada in January 2019, did not work out as expected. As reported earlier, White intended to attract new segments outside the traditional beer drinker world and broaden the customer base for the Californian brewer.

Sufferfest was founded in San Francisco in May 2016 by Caitlin Landesberg to brew a beer “supporting her athletic lifestyle and diet” after her unsuccessful “search for the perfect beer to quench her thirst after long trail runs in and around San Francisco.” She and her team created a full-spectrum of craft beers, all of them containing naturally occurring vitamins and micronutrients like potassium-rich barley, sodium, iron, and fiber. The term Sufferfest refers to an extended endurance endeavor in sports, such as a race or a hard workout. The brand never had its own production and brewed before the acquisition its beers at Sleeping Giant Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado.

In February 2019, Sierra Nevada acquired 100% of Sufferfest Brewing Company for an undisclosed amount. (, 19.2.2019)

In its recent statement, the company did not make clear, if the concept of an athletic beer as such was not attractive enough to appeal to a wider group of customers or if customers turned their back to Sufferfest for not being authentic any more after the acquisition. However, the statement leaves room for a sale of the brand as it seems unlikely that Sierra Nevada will resume its own production again.

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