I’m a romantic. The only way to become truly cynical is to willingly throw your heart out there and to have it stomped on enough times that thick scar tissue forms around it and you so you don’t feel anymore. Was that TMI?
Anyway, I’m a romantic, but I love stories that take a slightly bent view of romance. My favorite romantic comedy of all time is Roman Holiday, the one where the guy doesn’t get the girl in the end. If the news is slow one day I’ll give you my top 5 romantic comedies.
Yet, I continue to digress. Stories that take a slightly bent view of romance are my favorite. I like this story about mobile beer canaries precisely because in its unromanticized snapshot of brewery work, it sums up the romance of it exactly. All the photos of inside the brewery are of guys in dirty rubber boots and overalls who look like they have been there for 12 hours because they have. For the most part, they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
This story also sheds light on the economics of brewery work. There are more breweries than ever which is great for the consumer, but hard for the brewer. That is where mobile canning helps small brewers who can’t afford their own canning line. Mobile canning operations allow them to get their beer canned and ready to sell without the overhead of keeping and running a small canning line somewhere in their facility allowing them to at least attempt to get shelf space in stores, and with so many new brewers out there that shelf space is getting harder and harder to get.
When I really began to understand that craft beer wasn’t just some little thing among a small diehard group of people, but a real industry is when I started noticing all the ancillary businesses popping up around craft beer. Things like mobile canaries are what makes this more than just some mom and pop operation, but a real industry that politicians are going to have to take more seriously as an economic driver. Many at the local level do, but that number is much smaller at the state and federal levels.
Craft beer isn’t just some little engine that could anymore. It is developing into a true economically important business engine for parts of this country. That isn’t a bad thing. It also doesn’t mean craft beer is out of the woods as far as its survival. However, as this story also points out the threat to that survival isn’t just big beer. It is also its own growth. Not every brewer that has started in the last 5 years will survive the next 5 years. Some of those will be good breweries caught in a bad geographic area or who came too late or too early to the party. However, the majority will be breweries that make mediocre beer, don’t have a brewing plan, or don’t have a business plan. Or they do have those, but they are unrealistic and poorly executed.