The Tuesday morning rip-off of two truckloads containing some 3,300 cases of SweetWater beer made national news, quickly becoming one of those ha-ha headlines that seems to hook readers and viewers.
But here in Atlanta, and in other markets where SweetWater is sold, beer lovers may not find it so funny when they go to shop for the new edition of the brewery’s popular Summer Variety Pack and realize it’s nowhere to be found.
Here’s the latest news update from SweetWater:
Thanks to Marten transportation’s GPS tracking systems on the trailers, by noon on Tuesday, both trailers had been located just south of Atlanta; both empty of their contents. By Tuesday at 6 p.m., a quarter of the missing beer had been located at two separate locations just south of Atlanta. Clayton County Police and Atlanta Police Department were involved and are handling the ongoing investigation. The recovered beer, unfortunately, is not able to be resold.
“We’re going to be making some major decisions about repacking beer, brewing more beer, ordering more packaging — all stuff that we wouldn’t normally need to do as we go through the summer season for our variety packs,” SweetWater marketing director Steve Farace said in a phone call this afternoon.
“We’ve never had anything like this happen before. We’re going to need to figure out how we deal with security and communication from now on. But in addition to that, it’s going make our brewers have to work harder to brew more beer. Our packing guys are going to have to run extra shifts. Our variety packs are all done by hand, so it’s much more complicated.”
What’s worse, along with favorites 420 Pale Ale, IPA and Take Two Pils, the Summer Variety Pack features SweetWater’s newest and hottest summer beer, Goin’ Coastal, an IPA flavored with pineapple.
“So far and away that beer has been a huge hit,” Farace said. “We all knew it was a really good beer, and it fit a style a lot of people are craving, but for this one to do this well has amazed everybody at the brewery.”
As far as what to expect if you’re a fan of SweetWater’s variety pack, there’s more bad news.
“It’s not going to be this week, but more like towards the end of the season, which around is the July Fourth holiday. That’s when, unfortunately, we may see some out of stocks and not have the inventory.”
But Farace did have one piece of advice. “Stock up now if you want to make sure you’re covered for July Fourth,” he said.