Its Tuesday, you’ve made it through Monday and the rest of the week should be a breeze. Here are a few things about beer to read. As craft beer goes forward, the two major areas that will affect the next phase of growth are changes in alcohol laws in all the states and the combination of consolidation and encroachment from large beer producers.
- Part of the reason for the explosion of craft breweries is that they are smaller operations. Cities have noticed that they are smaller operations, with attached brewpubs and culture that brings in foot traffic. Smaller cities around the country are adjusting their laws to allow breweries to be built in what were until now unoccupied and decaying areas.
- The interesting part about these changes in attitudes is how the laws, particularly laws in Bible belt states are showing their age. Most of the alcohol laws written in this country were written at best in the late 70s or early 80s. They were written in part to keep the big beer companies from creating monopolies and to keep demon alcohol away from a weak and sinful public. All these new breweries are beginning to chafe under these old laws. The explosion of breweries is curbing the idea of monopolies and though many still see alcohol as sinful, municipalities and states are strapped for money and breweries are growth generators. Therefore, the laws are starting to be argued over and changed.
- The biggest thing in beer right now is Not Your Father’s Root Beer, so of course it is now part of the “is it craft” discussion. The fact that a major newspaper has devoted time to figuring out the web of holding companies that probably surround this beer is interesting to say the least. We are quickly coming to a point where as long as it is a good beer, people will drink it.
- There is a segment of the craft beer world who hates growlers. They see them as an inferior way to drink beer and would prefer it if people just bought cans and bottles or drank at bars. The problem with that argument is if you want to have a beer at a party and the beer you want is from a brewery that is too small to can or bottle what do you do? Growlers are here to stay and the technology that makes the beer taste fresher will continue to improve.
- Beer laws strike again. This is case where NC ALE should have said something about this when this festival began a few years ago. Of course, NC ALE sometimes has no idea what to do with craft beer operations. This isn’t an attack on NC. Most states, didn’t know what craft beer was until 10 minutes ago. We are kind of back to where this post started with how the alcohol laws must evolve if craft beer is going to move forward and continue growing.