As the warm embrace of summer gives way to the crisp air of autumn, there is one thing many of us look forward to – pumpkin spice! And no, we’re not just talking about those lattes that have taken over our Instagram feeds. We’re diving deep into the world of pumpkin beer.

Each year the common narrative takes hold: “Pumpkin beer releases earlier and earlier each year!” The grocery store shelves start to fill with gourd-infused ales while the temperatures are still high, and the leaves have not even started to change color. So, the team at Ekos wondered, is the pumpkin seasonal creep real in craft beer? Or do we assume as much because of the early appearance of some of the most popular pumpkin ales, like Elysian’s Night Owl, Southern Tier Pumking, Brooklyn Brewing Post Road Pumpkin Ale, or Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale? Let’s dig into the data to find out.

The above timeline shines a spotlight on the median start date of pumpkin beer production. Over the past few years, breweries have been in a race, not just with each other, but against time itself. In 2017, the typical brewery would kick off their pumpkin beer escapade around the end of August. Yet by 2023, they’re already in full swing by late July!

Based on our customers’ production and sales data, we can infer a couple of things from this. For producers that put their beer into distribution, the production cycle does start earlier. But, for those that only produce pumpkin beer in smaller batches for their taprooms, they can afford to wait a little longer, aka the temperatures start to fall. 

Now, we can’t help but draw parallels here. It’s almost as if the moment we pack up our 4th of July decorations, the world screams, “Bring on the pumpkin!” And it’s not just the breweries. Coffee shops are releasing pumpkin spice lattes sooner, stores are flaunting their autumnal decor in the middle of summer, and winter holiday decorations are already on display in most stores.

So, why the rush? Perhaps it’s our collective love for the cozy vibes that autumn brings. Or maybe it’s the thrill of the seasonal change, where we trade in our flip-flops for fuzzy socks. It’s clear that as a society, we’re eager to jump into the joys of fall.

And there’s data that backs up these assumptions: 

From The Food Institute:

But let’s not forget the heart of the matter: the beer. Whether you’re a fan of the pumpkin-y brew or not, it’s evident that breweries are tapping into our autumnal anticipation. They’ve got their fingers on the pulse of the pumpkin craze and are leading the charge into the golden leaves and cool breezes of fall.

So, next time you are sipping on that pumpkin ale in the heat of July or buying it to stock away until the weather is more suitable, just remember – autumn is more of a state of mind, and clearly, we’re all ready to fall into it!

If you own or run a brewery, are you brewing pumpkin ales? Whether or not you include seasonals like pumpkin, Ekos can help you brew smarter, more efficiently and profitably, and the highest-quality beverages year-round. As the leading craft beverage software for craft beverage makers, Ekos offers features you’ll actually use and gives you visibility into every part of your business because every part of your business works in Ekos—together, collaboratively. 

Request a demo to check us out, and cheers to the ever-advancing pumpkin season! 🍻🍂