One local brewery doesn’t want you to slip softly into that pumpkin spice night.
Norfolk’s Coelacanth Brewing Company (pronounced SEA-luh-kanth) originally planned to offer a “Pumpkin Beer Amnesty” program this week, promising coupons and cans of their own pumpkin-free beers as long as the pumpkin-flavored ones were surrendered.
“We’re trying to make the world a pumpkin spice-free place for our children,” said Kevin Erskine, the brewery’s president and CEO. He’s not kidding (OK, kind of).
But Erskine heard Friday from Virginia’s ABC (who got a complaint from someone with very specific knowledge of brewery laws) who reminded him of the state’s arcane rules: no outside alcohol (even if it’s just going to be dumped down a drain) and no coupons. A beer has to be sold for the same, to everyone.
“We know that the International Pumpkin Spice machine just wants to keeps its death grip on Fall specialty beverages – we just didn’t know the extent of their power,” he said in a follow-up tongue-in-cheek press release.
So here’s Erskine’s new plan: on Friday, Sept. 15, bring your empty commercially produced pumpkin-spice beer bottles to Coelacanth at 760 West 22nd St. where they will be recycled and enjoy the brewery’s Caramel Apple Pie Porter for a special price (they can’t advertise that price because, well, Virginia).
The desire for all things pumpkin may finally be diminishing. The New York Times, citing Nielsen data, recently reported that after sales spiked 20 percent in 2013, the amount of money consumers spent on pumpkin spice goods grew by 12 percent the year after and just 10 percent each of the next two years.
Erskine said his brewery has made a point of not making any pumpkin-inspired beers, nor will it ever.
“I thought this year people would finally start to smarten up,” he said.