During the 1950's Ballantine actually did produce a world class IPA, at their facility in New Jersey. Not top ten, perhaps, but it might have made my top 25 list. When they shifted production to a plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the quality dropped off, and production ceased around 1970, if I remember correctly.
P. Ballantine & Sons in Newark, NJ, brewers of Ballantine India Pale Ale, closed in March, 1972. The IPA pre-dated Prohibition and was again brewed when the brewery re-opened after Repeal. Falstaff bought their brand names and began brewing the IPA and other Ballantine brands at it's Narragansett Brewing Co. subsidiary in Cranston, RI the next month. They shortened the aging period (originally it was "Aged in the Wood One Year", as proclaimed on the Newark-era labels), eventually they would lower the ABV and IBU's. and changed the types of hops used.
Falstaff closed the Narragansett facility by the early 80s, and production of the IPA was then transferred to their Ft. Wayne brewery. After Ft. Wayne closed around 1990, Ballantine IPA was brewed at the Pabst brewery in Milwaukee (Falstaff's parent company, S&P Corp., had bought Pabst in the mid-1980s). Ballantine IPA would disappear after that brewery closed in1996. Around 2007, then-Pabst CEO Kevin Kotecki discussed bringing back the IPA in an industry publication, but nothing came of it after Kotecki was fired and the Pabst company was sold.
It's sister brew, Ballantine XXX Ale, continued to be brewed by/for Pabst - originally at other Pabst/S&P facilities, and under contract at Stroh/Heileman and, today, Miller breweries.
post edited by jesskidden - 2014/05/25 06:30:53