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Voluntary Sam Adams Beer Recall

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I just got this email, but I heard about it earlier this week:

As a loyal supporter and server of our beer, we wanted to get in touch with you about the announcement of a cautious, voluntary product recall of some bottles of Samuel Adams®. While there is no problem with the beer, we believe a small proportion of bottles from an outside glass supplier could contain some small bits of glass. The good news is that most of our bottled beer is not in these possibly affected bottles and all of our draft beer is perfectly fine. The problem was with the bottles, not the beer.

The bottles that we have identified as being possibly affected are from one glass plant of the five that we get our bottles from. The issue affects less than 25% of our bottled beer, and of that amount, we believe far less than 1% of the bottles we're recalling are actually affected. But because the safety of our drinkers is of paramount concern to us, we are being cautious and issuing the recall for all bottles produced at this glass plant.

It's easy to spot the bottles we're recalling: they are all embossed with the code "N35" at the base of the bottle below the label (see photo below). We are working with our wholesalers to ensure that the possibly affected bottles are removed from bars and restaurants quickly. If you find bottles with the "N35" code, please put them in the back room and contact your wholesaler for pick up. These bottles will be swapped out for Samuel Adams in unaffected bottles.


We wanted to be sure that you are aware of the problem and know that we are doing everything we can to address this situation quickly. We are disappointed that because of these bottles supplied to us, we didn't live up to your expectations. We believe that we are taking all the right steps to ensure that all bottled Samuel Adams beer meets our quality standards and yours. If you have questions about the recall, we have created a special Web site and set up a toll-free number 1-888-674-5159. You can also speak with your Samuel Adams representative for more information.

As always, we appreciate your support.


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I would consider potentially drinking shards of glass to be a rather large problem, and it seems like something that they should have announced more widely and quickly actually. This quiet "voluntary recall" actually seems more like an attempt to avoid both the potential liability that would result if someone's insides were to cut through drinking their beer and the bad publicity that would result if they announced it more quickly and widely. Maybe I am missing something.

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Well, sure, this isn't all about altruism, of course they're worried about a colossal degree of negative publicity and lawsuits.

We don't know how widespread this is, perhaps a huge announcement wasn't necessary because of how they track their bottles.

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