BC's Dead Frog Brewery featured on "The Big Decision"

There may be some spoilers. Click to read more. Or if you are scared of spoilers, watch the episode for yourself.

CBC has a new TV show called The Big Decision where two Dragons from the Dragon's Den help struggling businesses get out of debt and out of the hole. This week's episode featured Dead Frog Brewery from Aldergrove, BC and Westland Steel out of Winnipeg, MB.

I thought it was quite an interesting take on the beer industry. Quite often you hear about breweries getting so popular that they can't meet with demand. However, you rarely hear about breweries that can't keep up with demand, so they expand, expand, expand and end up having beer that won't sell.

Looking at Dead Frog's beer lineup, just on their 341mL selection alone they had six beers: Lager, Pepper Lime Lager, Honey Lager, Mandarin Orange Amber Ale, Pale Ale and Nut Brown Ale. Frankly, for most breweries they stick to 4 staples and do a seasonal here and there. When Dead Frog told Jim Treliving that they have ten beers coming out at one time, that was startling. Most breweries should stick to 4 at one time and one to two seasonals, if they can handle it.

I find one of the problems that happened with Dead Frog is that they tended to experiment way too much with zany flavours, that's all good and fun but when you're losing money, sometimes you have to stick with beer that sells and focus on that alone. Frankly the only beer I would ever try from Dead Frog out of their 341mL lineup would be their Amber, Pale and Nut Brown. Why would I try their Pepper Lime? That sounds just as lame as Miller Chill/Bud Light Lime and the million other wannabes.

I'm glad to see that Jim was able to help them out, and hopefully see Dead Frog succeed from this. The one thing that bothered me (either than Dead Frog's lack of a financial statement) was Jim's big push to sell off the brewery to one of the "big guys" one day. This is 2012, we're starting to get to a point where the big guys just can't compete anymore. Dead Frog, if they do well with an infusion of cash and help thanks to Jim, they could easily compete with the big guys, instead of being swallowed up. Rarely does being bought out improve a brewery, aside from Unibroue's purchase by Sleeman (and Sapporo's purchase of Sleeman), as I find quite often the brewery wants to tinker with the recipes and change things around. We'll see what will happen one day, but watch the episode!


Mike Dryden said...

I grabbed some Dead Frog on my Regina trip last year - the Lager is surprisingly decent (for a lager).

Unknown said...

Have you tried the Bold Belgian Pale Ale? My favorite.

Cody Lobreau said...

@Harry No I haven't, but I found a bottle of their saison the other day, so I'll be reviewing that in a few days time!

Shergraham said...

You should do an update­čśë This is the best brewpub now. They don't seem to be making less varieties, but do seem very successful with the many that they do produce. In fact, it's frustrating to consumers who really love one of the limited editions but can't keep getting it. The atmosphere and the food is tops! They would most certainly do well with a second tasting room in Nanaimo, on the island. So, actually, they have made great decisions