Missing yesterday was not my fault. It was the fault of Time Warner Cable. My internet was down most of yesterday morning. Now, everything is back to normal (for the moment). Onto the Five Articles.
Tap handles are interesting. Sometimes they bring people to the beer and sometimes they just sit there. If they are interesting enough, they may get the attention of a customer who will be intrigued enough to try a pint. This is one of those beer adjacent industries that has popped up over the last few years.
Yes, the insane growth of the last 5 years has slowed. It was never sustainable and any article you read that says this is some kind of death knell for the craft beer industry should be ignored. I will say again; growth will soon grow flat. Rural areas will lead the growth because small towns all across the country will open their own local breweries.
Economic development and state incentives interest me in general. The question I always ask is at what point do all the tax incentives given to corporations to move end up with the state paying more money to the company than the taxes they pay? On the other hand, if you are a community with a large swath of empty factories and/or warehouses you need someone to come in and make that wasted space into something that generates some kind of tax revenue. Here is the view of craft beer corporate investments from Michigan.
I really tried. I tried to like hard root beer. I really did. However, all of them are bad. They are too thick and sickeningly sweet. I agree with a lot of what is in this review. This statement is true, but I don’t understand it, “It’s a drink for people who want to get drunk but don’t like the taste of beer, or cider, or wine — or alcohol in general.” These people don’t want to get drunk, they just want to get little twisted but are too scared to go buy marijuana.
I awoke this morning thinking today was any day other than Saturday. Mostly, I just wake up, make a spot of tea, write the Five Articles and go to work. Saturday’s are broken up because I watch soccer while I work on the Five Articles. On to today’s five.
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is going to Germany. It would be interesting to get a good critical take on their German style beer from actual German brewers. To my pallet, their beers are high-quality interpretations of German style beers.
Any article that lists the brown ale as an overlooked beer style is good in my book. Also, Belgian-style beers are some of the best beers to pair with almost any food. I want to focus more of my reviews on food pairing recommendations. Making beer and food pairing a more prominent part of the craft beer discussion is another important step in pushing craft beer onto the same plane as wine. The breadth of beer pairing possibilities is awesome. Some beer fits with burgers, pizza and wings and some beer works with high-end culinary experiences.
Happy Monday morning folks. No soliloquies on creativity this morning. I’m putting it in a separate blog post. Today’s Five Articles slog through the latest information on the merger and takes a trip to Canada for a couple of stories.
Here is a better look at the hearings from someone who understands antitrust laws. It does have an unfortunate and unnecessary Star Wars reference. It is also refreshing to read an article about the merger that doesn’t solely focus on the number of brands that this gargantuan company will have, and sees the distribution and retail strategy of this company as the real problem. They could sell all this crap as one brand, Budweiser, and the real problem would still be how they are trying to limit the distribution avenues of smaller breweries. Of course, most of these senators will focus on the size and forget about the details.
The holidays are usually light in news, especially beer news. There are the releases of a few whales which consume people for a couple of days to a week and the rehashing of the merger as new details slowly slip out by intentional and unintentional leak. Anyway, I read a lot about creativity and about literary and art criticism. I’m batting around ideas on a blog post comparing brewing to other creative processes and how criticism and beer reviews are similar and different. A little preview, I am of the belief that when criticizing and reviewing art there is only text and no subtext. You can only review what the artist actually did, not what you think he may have been thinking as he did it. Since beer has only codified beer styles in the last 30 years, the idea of intentionality and breaking of conventions is recent in brewing. Therefore, only now has the idea of what is the brewer trying to do, become a part of beer review. This is still in the gestation period and will make more sense when I write it down and post it.
Here is the merger story where I think the biggest threat to US craft brewers lies: in distribution. So ABInbev is going to incentivize its distributors to have 98% of their sales be ABInbev products. That is where the size of the company matters, not in the number of labels and products, but in the ability to bigfoot distributors. Of course, there could be a silver lining. If states make their distribution laws fairer, specifically the ability to get out of bad contracts for brewers, then there could be a rise in smaller niche distributors. Remember, the majority of the new breweries coming online are small with distribution that only extends to surrounding counties at most. They don’t need statewide distribution houses to help them.