Russian River Brewing Company, the Santa Rosa, CA, brewery best known for their popular Pliny the Elder Double IPA, recently announced their decision to withdraw from the Washington market. Ultimately, the demand for Russian River beers in their home market, in particular at their brewpub, led to them making this decision. Russian River does distribute to a handful of other states, and that will continue. Why Washington? According to the letter below, “This is the only market where, due to state liquor laws, we have little or no control over the managing of our own brand.”
Their final shipment to Washington has already been received and has likely made its way out to retailers’ shelves. What you see is what you get, for now at least. Who knows what the future holds for Russian River, but chances are that if and when they do expand, we will see their beers back in Washington again. They finish the letter below with, “We hope to be able to return to the state of Washington someday!”
Cheers to Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo for giving Seattle a taste of Russian River beers for the past 4 1/2 years. While the hype and demand around certain beers has been a source of controversy for many, Russian River does nothing but make exceptional beers. They are sure to be missed by many, myself included.
The full letter sent to Washington wholesale customers follows.