I love beer (I have a blog dedicated to it so that seems rather obvious). Outside of the beer, there are a couple of things surrounding craft beer that really interest me. One is the idea of brewing as a creative art that should be critiqued and studied as such (I’m working on a couple of bigger pieces that explores this). Two is the confluence of beer with business and law. The second interests me because alcohol has such an interesting place in society and its perception is so different across different parts of this society. Among other things, with craft beer you can look at how governments treat business and how the treatment of drinking culture changes from generation and socio-economic strata. Anyway, here is a bunch of articles about beer that are more about business and law than actual beer.
I pull two things from this article about the Deschutes east coast brewery. One, if Roanoke had lost Deschutes to Asheville, their local newspaper would have a similar post-mortem that makes some of their politicians look silly. Two, my reading is Deschutes zeroed in on Roanoke early in 2015 and just used Asheville as a stalking horse to squeeze as much from Virginia as they could.
Liquor is where the next growth spurt in American craft alcohol will occur. Liquor distillers have an even bigger hill to climb then brewers in getting laws changed to favor them. Maybe the difficulty brewers have had just to get to sell growlers in every state will make it easier for distillers to get laws changed to make it easier to sell their wares. However, in a state like NC where the state is the primary pusher of distilled spirits, it will be hard to change the system. Primarily because the state rakes in a lot of tax money through liquor sales. The state and the wholesaler lobby has fought every beer law change like they were fighting the siege of Vicksburg. There is no telling how they will react when craft distillers start making noise.
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.
Back to the story of Colorado and grocery store beer sales. I don’t think the claims the side that wants grocery beer sales are true. There will not be some explosion of jobs and revenue from this. Consumers, in theory, will get easier access to craft beer and grocery stores will see an uptick in sales. I predict, the liquor stores that cater to the craft beer crowd will see little if any difference in sales. They will probably lose some of the ABInbev sales, but that is about it. The stores that sold primarily from the big brewer’s portfolio will be most affected, but that doesn’t necessarily hurt craft brewers.