“During [the next few weeks] we will be celebrating what our brewery has accomplished by releasing some final batches, special beers, and selling off our beer archive as well as selling off all of our barrels to the public,” Greenhagen wrote, noting that details will be announced as plans are made. “All of us at Mystic extend our eternal gratitude to everyone who helped us and supported us in our mission to change beer culture for the better in Boston and beyond.”
Greenhagen founded the brewery in 2011, drawing inspiration from old Belgian traditions. The taproom debuted in 2014. In early 2018, former Eater Boston beer writer Alex Wilking described the brewery as one of five to watch that year. “In what seemed like an about-face, Mystic more or less rebranded and emerged as a hop juggernaut for the city late last year,” Wilking wrote. “Where there was once an IPA-less catalog, the Chelsea brewery is now pumping out double IPAs like Illegal Dance Moves, a 9 percent ABV monster made with Citra and Mandarina Bavaria hops, and more anomalous styles like Fabrication X, a hoppy farmhouse ale brewed with lactose. Where there was once a long list of corked-and-caged bottles, there are now cases of 16-ounce cans that sell out instantaneously.”
The brewery didn’t abandon its farmhouse roots, though, Wilking continued. “Saison Renaud remains a staple, and newer releases like the Brett Renaud and the can-conditioned Table Beer simultaneously challenge convention and retain tradition. If the brewery keeps at this pace, Boston drinkers should only expect bigger and badder things from the brand.”
Indeed, the brewery announced a planned expansion the following month; it was set to take over what was once a candlepin bowling alley in Malden. The 17,000-square-foot space would include a brewery, taproom, cheese counter, and outdoor space. In mid-2019, however, Mystic confirmed that the expansion would not be happening.
“Personally, I am very proud of the many Mystic alumni going on to their own success as well as the incredible team of great people we have now,” Greenhagen wrote on Instagram. “We are sad to wind down our work here, but we are proud of what we accomplished and know in our hearts that the impact of Mystic will remain long after the doors are closed.”
Keep an eye on Mystic’s social media for updates on a closing date and special beers and events leading up to it.
Update, September 30, 2019: In a Beer Advocate forum thread regarding the closure, Greenhagen elaborated a bit more, stating that “Mystic isn’t in arrears on any of the things that typically shuts down a business like rent, taxes, or payroll. All those are current. We are actually up 35% in wholesale sales this year.” Instead, it’s a “dramatic change in taproom volume” due to several factors — it’s harder to get to the taproom, for one thing; he didn’t elaborate on why, but Mystic is a mile and a half from the new Encore Boston Harbor casino and all of the traffic that that entails. He also noted “fragmenting of the market” and an “inexplicably reduced social media reach.”
“We have made numerous attempts to come up with a plan that allows us to better get our products to people who want them,” Greenhagen continued. “However, due to our particular complex set of agreements, contracts, laws, and leases we cannot find a reasonable path forward. It’s not just about money, it’s that we can’t figure out how to make the current facility work. We are simply exhausted in managing our cash flow to the point where we can’t make the capital investments that would allow us to continue on our mission to build beer culture in the food world, in Boston, and beyond.”
Greenhagen rejected an idea floated by some of the commenters that the pivot to an IPA-centric focus killed the brand, instead noting that consumer demand is down, partly thanks to products outside of the realm of Mystic, like legal marijuana and hard seltzer. “There is no such thing as craft seltzer so there’s no interest here in ‘pivoting’ towards such products,” he added.