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Firestone Walker Sells Nectar Ales

Yesterday, Firestone Walker Brewing announced that it’s selling Nectar Ales to Total Beverage Solution of South Carolina.

Nectar Ales was originally a line of beers brewed by Humboldt Brewing Company. The brewery was founded by Mario Celotto in 1987 in Humboldt County, California. Celotto was a linebacker with the Oakland Raiders. Shortly after being part of the 1980 Super Bowl team, he retired from football and used his Super Bowl bonus to start the brewery. Steve Parkes, who now owns and runs the brewing school, American Brewers Guild, created the original Red Nectar Ale.

Over lunch with Celotto around 1997, shortly after Frederick Brewing’s Hempen Ale became the first hemp beer, I suggested that Humboldt Brewing should make a hemp ale, it seemed like such a natural given Humboldt County’s reputation. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person to suggest such an obvious idea, but shortly thereafter, Humboldt’s Hemp Ale debuted and has proved very popular ever since. After some financial hardships, Firestone Walker Brewing bought the label in 2003, and has brewed them in Paso Robles ever since.

From the press release:

“It is sad to let these beers go, but production and operational demands will require us to focus on our core line of Firestone beers in the years ahead,” said co-proprietor Adam Firestone.

Added co-proprietor David Walker, “Nectar Ales was always a labor of love and our nod to keeping a pioneer of the California craft revolution healthy. It’s now time, however, for this iconic family of beers to become something more than we are able to provide.”

Total Beverage Solutions (TBS) is primarily an importer and distributor. Their current beer portfolio includes Affligem, Czech Rebel, Fischer, Gosser, Greene King, Maes Pils, Moretti, Mort Subite, Sea Dog, Shipyard, Southampton and Weihenstephan. So I’m still a little confused about the brand’s fate. Will Firestone Walker continue to brew the line, or will TBS take over that aspect of the brand. They don’t own a brewery as far as I can tell so will they have it contract brewed, or what? I made a few calls to Firestone Walker but it is a Monday morning, so I’ll update this when I find out more details.

UPDATE: I spoke to Adam Firestone yesterday and for the near term, Firestone Walker will continue to brew the Nectar Ales line. At some point in the future, he believes that TBS will most likely make other arrangements and will move production but for now, the brewing will remain the same.

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