Tag Archives: craft beer consolidation

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 12/8/15

It’s Tuesday, and I’m a little late today because I stayed up to watch the worst football game I’ve ever seen that didn’t involve playing in a monsoon or a blizzard.  It was like watching a slow motion train wreck.  I couldn’t look away.

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

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.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 12/3/15

Here is some advice for newspapers and news aggregator sites: Calm the fuck down with all the ads.  There have been times where I have found an interesting article on a website and planned to put it in the Five Articles, but it keeps loading and loading and loading and hitting me with a pop ad, a questionnaire, a video that auto loads, etc.  So, I read the article and try to find a cleaner version of the same article from a different website just so anyone clicking on this doesn’t have to deal with it.  Anyway, here are the Five Articles: The Return.

Ask The Beer Counselor: What Is The Future?

One thing that happens when I talk to distributor or brewery reps when they come by Craft to either sell me beer or drink beer as patrons, is the future of the American craft beer industry.  I will stipulate that I can barely tell you what my future is over the next 10 months.  So any ideas I have about American craft beer over the next 10 years should be taken with a grain of salt.  I do hope, however, you find this stimulating.

I would like to give a hat tip to The Brew Enthusiast for posting a similar piece a couple of days ago.  His piece got me thinking as I hope mine does for you. Additionally, part of my motivation was to try and find different things that he did not mention in his piece.

Beer will be really big or really small

The primary thing I see happening over the next 10 years is craft brewers will either by really big or really small.  By that I mean, the older established brewers, particularly those that survived the first craft beer boom in the 1990s, will be national breweries.  Think Sierra Nevada or Oskar Blues or a conglomerate like Craft Beer Alliance.  These breweries have large national followings as well as breweries across the country that give them the feel of local breweries.  On the other side, if you look at the Brewer’s Association statistics the explosive growth in the number of craft brewers is fed by the growth of nanobrewing and smaller local breweries serving their surrounding cities and counties.  The group of breweries in the middle, the regional sized brewers who just want to distribute to one or two states are the ones that will be in a dangerous position of trying to be both things: small and large at the same time.

Uniformity in law

The alcohol laws in this country are a messy hodgepodge created out of prohibition, regional mores, and tax burdens.  As the craft beverage industry has grown in economic clout, many of the laws in each state have come under needed attack to make them fairer for producers and easier to navigate for consumers.  Just in the last year you can see the push to make these laws more uniform across the country.  Cities and counties across the country are strapped for tax revenue and the beer business is a way to stimulate growth in failing industrial areas and create tourism.  Changing local and statewide alcohol laws are a way to stimulate the craft beer industry.  One of the things I will say is that even as craft beverage manufacturers get more flexibility with laws distributors and wholesalers will not lose any of their economic clout or political power.  The primary reason for that is many of the most powerful state politicians around the country are also some of the biggest alcohol distributors in their states.  Those with power do not let go easily.

Beer and the environment

Brewers will be forced to take a bigger role in environmental sustainability.  Many already do.  The reason for this is quite simple: At its core brewing is an agricultural business that uses lots of water. Creating brewing processes that use less water or recycle water is something that must be done.  Figuring out ways to repurpose, reuse, or recycle the other ingredients used also must be done.  As I said, many brewers are already doing that.  Many brewers are also using the farm-to-table model of using only local ingredients and other brewers are using the farmhouse brewery model to cut out any of the middlemen.  I love both of those movements and think they will both become more and more important to the craft beer world as the industry progresses.

Beer culture is more than just a fad

This is a culture with a deep vein in all of human history.  The depth of beer culture is more akin to comic books. Both have a deep and strong core of geeks who, while the minority of the people who enjoy it, will never leave and never let the culture go away.   Also, beer culture is growing because the depth and breadth of the ancillary businesses sprouting up around craft beer is amazing.  Not just bars and magazines and those types of things, but businesses that come along and try to enhance (or take advantage of) the experience of craft beer.  This is the reason I don’t think this is a fad that will disappear.

These are just a few ideas and thoughts.  They aren’t quite complete and I reserve the right to change them over the next ten years.

Five Articles You Should Read And Why, 11/5/15

Another day and another Five Articles has appeared.  I loved Grantland.  It was one of the best websites for someone with my interests.  However, I don’t want to hold yet another internet-based wake for the now much-lamented website.  I want to touch on how Grantland was a small craft brand that could not survive life as part of the behemoth that is Disney of which ESPN is a part.  For craft beer people that is something we will have to watch happen over the next 10 years.

Grantland didn’t fail because it was poor quality.  It didn’t fail because it didn’t make money (no magazine makes money in the first 2 years and certainly not an internet magazine with the ambitions of Grantland).  It failed because ultimately it didn’t fit the overarching corporate structure in which it found itself.

I listened to Bill Simmons new podcast and he talked to Malcolm Gladwell in this episode and Gladwell said something I completely agree with.  A concern like Grantland whose approach is to be smart and interested in many different things without dumbing it down really doesn’t fit the culture of ESPN.

I’m not one of the people who hates the idea of “selling out.” I think, you getting mad at someone for deciding to make more money than they ever could have dreamed by doing the thing they love is stupid.  You don’t get to decide how someone else should find happiness or make money.  However, if you are the person deciding to sell your brewery to the big brewer, you should do it in a way that respects your breweries culture and how it will fit with the new corporate culture you are going to.  Otherwise, this thing you’ve built will cease to exist because it will be assimilated if it doesn’t

Here are some links.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 10/22/15

Thursday has arrived and the week is flying towards its end.  The merger is starting to be understood in the context of how it will affect consumers in this country at a lesser rate than consumers in Europe, Africa, and South America. Of course, there are other stories to read about beer and I have a few.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 10/14/15

The merger is still dominating the news and I will touch on it.  But, it’s Wednesday and you should be thinking about going to work, putting in your 8 or more hour and then celebrating with nice beer as the week starts heading towards the back stretch.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 10/11/15

Its Sunday, I have Sunday Ticket, I have football to watch, and I have a fridge filled with craft beer waiting for me to drink it.  This will be a short and sweet Five Articles.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 10/10/15

Happy Saturday. It’s Saturday and I’m over here getting all serious about beer.  If you’ve followed this space for any length of time, you will know I am fascinated by the patchwork mess that is the North American beer law system. I say North American because the laws in Canada and Mexico are just as screwed up as the ones in the United States. So today’s Five Articles are a bunch of law and business stories for your pleasure.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 10/9/15

It is Friday.  Here is a quick Five Articles with a lot of business another best beers listicle and some racin’.