Savor that next glass of Jack D’or. It might be the last chance you get to drink Pretty Things’ flagship beer now that the Somerville couple who runs the business has decided to close it down.
Dann and Martha Paquette surprised local craft beer fans by announcing the demise of Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project on their website Tuesday (The interest that followed was so intense, it seemed to crash the site for much of the day).
The Paquettes didn’t offer a reason for why they decided to close after seven years, other than to say “it’s time to draw the curtains and head off to a new adventure.”
The Paquettes have a loyal following for their beers, as evidenced from the 16,500 Facebook fans they’ve accumulated. But they also leave a different kind of legacy after raising concerns last year that they were being shut out of tap lines at some Boston bars and restaurants in favor of bigger brewers or distributors willing to pay for those positions.
Dann Paquette’s Twitter tirade on this subject in October 2014 helped spark a state investigation into the so-called “pay-to-play” practice in the industry.
The Paquettes didn’t specifically mention the investigation in their farewell message to fans. But it’s hard not to read into the maxim they used to start their message: “You can wander off your path or you can leave it with purpose. The results may be no different, but forceful actions leave a sparkling trail.”
The Paquettes couldn’t be reached for comment about the closure on Tuesday. It was unclear what role the company’s finances played in the decision.
Like some other small craft brewers, they relied on another company’s brewery to make their beer. In their case, it was Buzzards Bay Brewing, a brewery in Westport.
Rob Martin, president of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild, said he was surprised to learn on Tuesday afternoon of Pretty Things’ pending demise.
“It’s sad to hear that they’re going,” said Martin, who is also president of the Ipswich Ale Brewery. “I’d like to commend Dann for all the great work he’s done for brewing in the Boston area. . . . It’s a very dynamic industry, an industry where you don’t get to rest much. Sometimes I think people look towards other opportunities, not for any bad reason, just because it’s part of their own personal growth.”
If you’re a fan, there’s still time to stock up: The final batches of Pretty Things beer will ship to retailers during the next few weeks, meaning that the beer should be available through at least January.Jon Chesto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.