Here’s an interesting little item from the world of business: A South Carolina company called Total Beverage Solution has stepped in to revive the legendary Celis beer brand, the Charleston Regional Business Journal reports. Celis was founded in Texas in 1992 by Belgian brewer Pierre Celis, most famous for reviving the Belgian-style witbier under the name Hoegaarden in the 1960s. He later sold the Hoegaarden brand to what is now Anheuser-Busch InBev and went off on his own to build the Celis brand in the United States. At its height, Celis White and Celis Grand Cru were among the country’s best-known craft brews, regularly cleaning up awards at the Great American Beer Festival and other competitions, but the company had fallen on hard times in recent years. Miller bought the brand in the late 1990s, but the company struggled under the new management and the whole operation was bought by the Michigan Brewing Company, which ceased operation in 2012 and filed for bankruptcy this year. Celis himself died in 2011.
Now Total Beverage Solution has bought the name and recipes and is planning to revive the brand by the middle of next year.
The reason this matters to us? In addition to being good news for beer drinkers (assuming they do the old recipes justice), this links the brand with Humboldt Brewing Company, a long-defunct microbrewing pioneer that had been bought out and was trading under the name Nectar Ales since 2005. Total Beverage Solution bought Nectar earlier this year and intends to revive the Humboldt Brewing brand, though they have no specific plans to move back to Humboldt County for the moment.
This raises an interesting possibility – the return of some of the classic beer names of the 1980s and ’90s – call them Heirloom Beers. The daughter of Ur-microbrewer Jack McAuliffe is still working on plans to revive Sonoma’s beloved New Albion Brewing, which closed in 1982. She hopes to have that on the market sometime next year.
Any other Heirloom Brews you’d like to see return to the shelves?
– Sean Scully
UPDATE: just an hour after I was writing about the classics being revived, here comes a story of a classic going dark after 34 years. Boulder Beer Company says it will end production of Planet Porter, one of the three original recipes from when it opened in 1979. The beer is arguably the oldest continuously produced craft brew in the U.S. and is probably responsible for saving the porter style in the U.S. Company says consumer tastes have changed, so Boulder is focusing on the newer Shake chocolate porter.