Computer issues got me started late this morning, but here we are and here we go with the Five Articles.
- As brewing programs from community colleges all the way up to universities grow in popularity, let’s remember what they are teaching: the business of brewing. That means yes, learning how to brew in a commercial setting, but more importantly how the actual business works in a practical sense. That may be more important.
- A nice article about the growing Charleston craft beer scene.
- The idea of innovation in craft beer as simply throwing in more hops and upping the alcohol is thankfully starting to subside. Lighter, yet still flavorful beer is starting to become more and more important. My own palate has never been one to lean heavily in IPAs, DIPAs, and now TIPAs, so I have always looked for more malty tastes. The world is catching up with me.
- The more I ponder what is happening in craft beer as a business, the more I think the future will look something like this: Regional (2 or 3 states) to larger brewers due to consolidation and smaller purely local brewers content to make enough beer for a couple of counties.
- Finally, this is a good column on the pitfalls that craft beer faces. The writer’s six points can boil down to one word: insularity. Craft beer must avoid the self-referential and insular attitude that it sometimes has. The article points out a couple of things I believe. One, some in the craft beer world have this idea that growth will continue and scoff at any notion that it won’t. All streaks end and all bubbles burst. Also, the growth may continue but not as you think it will. The second thing the article posits is that as in all things there are 20% of the people who are loyal to craft beer and aren’t going anywhere. Then there are 20% who are loyal to big beer and won’t come near craft. The vast majority (80%) drink craft beer for various reasons. These people aren’t loyal to craft beer as much as they are just trying to find the best tasting beer and/or the next cool thing to be a part of. When the slowdown in growth comes (and it will come), it is important that we in craft make sure we are as welcoming as we can be to new drinkers and new ideas. That is where the danger lies.