Tag Archives: beer growth

One Beer Article You Need To Read And Why, 10/25/16

There is a point, somewhere around 24 or 25, when you understand you can’t act like you did in college.  It is that point where you have been out of college the same amount of time you were in college.  Your job is going well.  You may be up for a promotion.  You’ve gotten a couple of raises and have moved to a better apartment.  Maybe you’ve even bought a car that is reliable.  However, you keep thinking of yourself as a college student with no responsibility.  You still try to go out on Thursdays and drink with your friends until the wee hours, but slowly you and they realize, you have to go to work the next day and it’s much easier to work without a hangover.  Maturation comes in steps of realization that point out to you that the things you did in college may have been fun, but they aren’t feasible all the time.

Craft beer likes to continue to think of itself as this bunch of insurgents.  This rowdy bearded group of pirates out to make beer and have fun drinking it.  The slow realization that this fun anything goes insurgency has become a business with all the attendant problems is creeping across the craft beer world.  At the high end, beer is a business that is increasingly cut-throat.  Layoffs and plant closings are here in this little happy valley and they aren’t going away as the business matures and morphs into its next phase.

Some of the answers and quotes in this Jason Notte piece show an almost naive or arrogant belief that the explosive growth of the last few years would continue unfettered.  That is either a lack of common sense or a lack of vision.  I don’t know.

Until the last few months, anyone who dared say that the kind of growth craft beer saw over the last 4 or 5 years was not sustainable was accused of saying the “craft bubble will burst.”  That seemed to be a way of pushing the inevitability of maturation down the road so people would not have to think about it.

I think there were bad assumptions made by many in craft, in retrospect.  One, there seemed to be a belief among many that they would get to make their beer and eat away at Big Beer’s edges and Big Beer would not respond.  Big Beer did respond by buying some smaller breweries and investing in others.  They did that because they saw something coming that many of the larger craft brewers didn’t.

I think among craft people the initial assumption was that the Big Beer national brands would be replaced by a group of smaller craft national brands like Sierra Nevada and Stone and Ballast Point.  While that has happened to a certain extent, Big Beer is also being replaced by really small beer. If you are a craft beer drinker in North Carolina, Big Beer was replaced with Sierra Nevada, Stone, and Ballast Point, but also Olde Mecklenburg, Lonerider, Newgrass, and Legion.  Craft beer is becoming increasingly localized which somehow the people who helped create the attitude that local and fresh is better didn’t see coming or maybe they thought they were immune to its effects.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 4/5/16

Well, that sucked.  That is all that I will say about the game yesterday.  Seeing the images of the UNC students who were heartbroken after the game makes me wish I still cared about sports like that.  A good night’s sleep has me feeling up and ready for the next part of my life.

  • Russians want to drink good beer? Of course, they do.  We all want to drink good beer.  It will be interesting to see how the entrepreneurial and capitalistic backbone of the craft beer movement will be adapted to Russian culture.  For all the truth behind the “we are all in this together” of craft beer, it is still a business sector that fails or succeeds on the strength of how good the product is and how successful your business model is and once you start distributing the margins are small.
  • We have now reached the navel gazing, “Oh my God, we have too much choice, what do we do?” part of the craft beer story. Here is what is going to happen, because it is what always happens (“All this has happened before.  All this will happen again.” Ronald D. Moore, Battlestar Galactica):  The next 3-5 years will see the breweries with good product and/or business plans survive and the breweries that don’t have good product and/or business plans will fail and the number of breweries will fall slightly and then stabilize.  The one thing that will not happen is that choice will not go away.  That means the market for someone or something curating all this beer will grow.
  • This Georgia taproom/beer tour story is still fascinating to me. The breweries’ persistence and deliberate efforts are slowly moving the laws into their favor.  Without doing a lot of posturing and spouting hyperbole, they have managed to effect real change in the Georgia Department of Revenue’s rule interpretations.  Quite interesting to watch happen.
  • This is so sad it is almost comical. However, knowing who goes to the Masters and how the people who run the Masters are still in the 20th century, this is about as good as you could hope as far as craft beer in concerned.  Like Russia, the Masters is about 10 years behind the rest of the world culturally at all times.
  • I continue to believe that stories like this represent why craft beer will continue to expand its footprint even with the number of new breweries opening starts to slow. Every town should have its own brewery and every town has property that needs cheap redevelopment and every town needs to find new tax revenue streams.  It’s a win/win for everyone.

Five Articles You Need To Read And Why, 7/12/15

A writer in Arizona writes a good article that sounds like it’s from 1993.  Brewers and distributors fight in Los Angeles and Colorado.  And some people believe every bit of advertising they see.  A good Sunday group of five articles.

  • Here is an article about all those microbreweries that are popping up everywhere. This article is a good rundown of the changes in Arizona law to make it easier for craft brewers to operate and expand, but couldn’t someone have said to the writer or the editor, “They haven’t been called microbreweries since the 1990s. They are called craft breweries.” I mean, he did interview actual brewers for this article and I assume he visited the Brewer’s Association website for more information.
  • This story is interesting for two reasons. One, is that a city as big and with as many people who glom onto trends easily and quickly as Los Angeles has just started getting a craft beer culture. Second, is the question why this has taken so long.  I like distributors, but they are the most conservative group in the craft beer movement.  By conservative I mean the most averse to change.  There is a good reason for that.  They have made a lot of money with the way the system is set up currently.  Their actions have had the biggest effect on the stifling of craft beer in every state.
  • What is happening in Colorado fascinates me. There is a ballot initiative to make it possible to sell craft beer in grocery stores.  The reason they aren’t in grocery stores is a “weak beer/strong beer” law that keeps anything brewed at over 3.2% in liquor stores. Smaller brewers don’t want this because they fear they won’t be able to sell as much beer if large grocery stores can sell craft beer.  Now, this group Colorado Consumers for Choice is a front for the state’s wholesalers and distributors, so that makes their motives suspect.  However, since I live in a state where craft beer is sold in grocery stores and still has a thriving craft beer scene I don’t share in the doomsday scenario that comes from this article.  Bottle shops and other places that cater to craft beer drinkers will step in and fill the niche created by this law.  Consumer choice is not a bad thing, it just may make brewer’s jobs a little harder.
  • First it was hops and now it is malt. Slowly, the infrastructure needed to make craft brewing a sustainable endeavor is being built in this country.  Stories like this are popping up in almost every state that has viable farmland and people with the skills and dedication to make malting work.
  • I still think these lawsuits are stupid. All advertising is a way to create a feeling in consumers that makes them want to buy the product. You can’t outright lie in an ad, but I don’t think that is what happens in these Blue Moon ads.  Everything they say in the ad is true.  If you thought it was a craft beer, then the advertising worked.  I don’t like it, but at some point this thing called life is a participatory event and you actually have to take an active role in it.  That means, engage your brain every once and a while.  Also, there are better Belgian-style witbiers then Blue Moon out there, drink one of those.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 5/20/2015

A good mix of links for today.  We go around the world and back again to talk about beer, beer quality, water, craftiness, and the future.

Those are today’s links, I will hopefully be back later today with a Beer Counselor and a non-growler review.