A Bumper Crop of Pumpkin Beer Has Taken Over Grocery Shelves

The leaves may be changing, but one fall flavor trend has remained the same: pumpkin.
From Starbucks’ early release of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, to Dunkin Donuts’ launch of their Pumpkin at Dunkin’ campaign, everyone is hopping on the hayride to pumpkin town. An industry that’s no stranger to this trend? The beer industry.

Image via Blog About Beer

An influx of pumpkin-flavored ales and lagers has hit the shelves starting as early as Labor Day, and pumpkin beer sales are expected to increase by 28% this year, according to USA Today. While tried and true favorites such as Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale and Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat are making a strong return for fall 2014, you can expect to see some new labels added to the mix, such as Magic Hat, which after 20 years of brewing, has finally released a Wilhelm Scream Pumpkin Ale.
Due to the high supply and demand for pumpkin beer, this will be the first year that the Brewers Association’s Great American Beer Festival will have an entire category dedicated to pumpkin beer. In years past, there had been a pumpkin beer subcategory, followed by a “Field Beer” category, but since pumpkin made up the overwhelming majority of entries, it now claims its very own category.
Beer Advocate has listed over 700 entries for pumpkin-flavored beers, and although some may be coming from the tiniest of microbreweries, other big name brands such as Flying Dog and Brooklyn Brewery are proving that there is no company too big or too small to keep up with the trend.
What do you think? Has the pumpkin beer trend gone overboard?