New Trouble for Goose Island

Goose Island, the craft brewery that made headlines when it was purchased by Anheuser-Busch, has another headache on their hands. A voluntary recall of one beer the company produced recently is the problem. Goose Island made a reputation for themselves by creating innovative, great tasting brews, but this is not the first time that they’ve had issues with quality control.

The First Incident

Goose Island Beer Company ran into problems with their brewing process only a year ago. Their Matilda Ale was the problem at the time. The brew was a Belgian style sour beer, but an infection of lactobacillus made some batches too sour. The company issued a voluntary recall for the batches with off flavors. It was not so much a problem with health concerns, but one more concerned with making sure that customers got the right taste from the brew.

This Year’s Incident

Almost exactly a year later, Goose Island has found themselves issuing yet another voluntary recall. This time, the beer in question was their Sofie barrel-aged Saison – another Belgian style ale. As with the 2010 recall, the 2011 incident has nothing to do with food safety. Instead, the flavor profile of the beer is in question. Because brewing this beer requires the blending of both freshly brewed beer and barrel-aged beer (barrels originally used to hold wine or bourbon), the process can be very complex. 

Only a few batches of the beer were affected – those produced on 2-11, 3-8 and 4-20-11. Both 650ml bottles and 4-packs of Sofie were in the recall. According to the company, the problem caused “off” flavors in some of the beers and they are concerned that their customers will not be able to enjoy the product sufficiently. It is safe to drink though.

A Dedication to Quality Control

While some might think that two recalls within the span of a year is a sign of lax quality control, it’s actually the opposite. Because the recalls are due to flavor concerns and not due to safety requirements, Goose Island was not under any mandate to recall the brews. The company voluntarily recalled those beers affected to help ensure that their customers were able to enjoy only the highest quality brews with the flavor that the brewery intended for the beers to have. 

While Goose Island might have moved to the fringes of the craft beer industry with the AB purchase, they still present the dedication to quality and customer satisfaction that has made them so successful.

Posted on June 24, 2011 .