What Happened to Special Release Bombers (Stone in particular)?

What Happened to Special Release Bombers (Stone in particular)?

I haven’t really had my finger on the craft beer industry in a good 6 years or so, but have been getting back out there in the past year or so. However, I have noticed very few, if any, special release bombers. Back in the early to mid 2010’s, I would regularly see limited release bombers all the time, and really look forward to some. However, it looks like most breweries are releasing 2-3 seasonal offerings, and that’s it. Stone in particular used to have an amazing Russian Imperial Stout, Barleywine, and released collaboration brews left and right, and that just doesn’t happen anymore? What happened?


  1. Pros: easier to fill in more manual bottling systems

    Cons: more high ABV brew than a single person usually wants to consume and unless it’s great, the generally high prices mean they sit on shelves for a long time

    The whole industry is moving toward canning with the exception of designed bottle fermentation/aging. And even there, they’re working on can linings to accommodate the processes.

  2. I just don’t think the demand is there anymore for the types of bottles from the breweries you’re talking about.

    Craft beer enthusiasts / snobs (I count myself in this category) have moved on to more local beer and away from the large regional craft breweries like Stone, Dogfish, Bruery, etc, and those who don’t fall into that hardcore enthusiast category are looking for more drinkable 4/6 packs, not bombers.

    There are plenty of breweries selling imperial stouts, wild ales, barleywines, etc in large format bottles, they’re just made by the smaller high end brewery down the street and generally aren’t getting distribution into your average liquor store with a mediocre selection the way places like Stone do.

    I also think COVID changed the game here a little. It accelerated a trend that was already happening toward more sessionable, lower ABV beer. I know personally that since early 2020 a lot more of my drinking has been done 1) alone, or at least drinking my own can vs sharing a bottle, and 2) outdoors in warm weather. Neither of those are conducive to a 25oz barleywine. There’s a reason that craft lagers have made a massive comeback in recent years and the beers you’re talking about are basically the polar opposite of that.

  3. A lot of brewries also like the 19.2 oz cans. A lot bomber skus in a lot of places stick to those. They still make those limited bottle runs I believe. I don’t know if the distributors are buying them much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *