Posts Tagged ‘TheSession’

[This post is in response to the August 2015 topic: The Landscape of Beer. You can find more information about The Session on host Allen H.’s website, or at the Brookston Beer Bulletin. ]

 

More information at: brookstonbeerbulletin.com/the-sessions/

 

Many of us have read about the history of beer in America. We can read article after article, book after book about the rise of the beer, wine, and spirits in the pre- and post- prohibition days of the United States. We know of the conglomerates that have grown from regional breweries into the massive, large-scale industrial operations they are today. More recently, we as a [craft] beer community have cherished and idolized the histories of those community brewers turned national icons – Boston Beer, Stone Brewing, Russian River, Bells Beer, and Dogfish Head are just a few that come to mind. We know the stories, and if we don’t, we can depend on the great story tellers of our time to allow us to catch up on the history of our craft beer forefathers. There are websites, blogs, and books dedicated to these topics. While this post will not explore these histories in depth, I do encourage you to take a gander at your favorite brewery’s story on how they got to where they are. This might just open your eyes to the greatness beyond the local pint glass, and knowing where beer has been can help one understanding where beer might be headed.

 

In one of my previous posts, I noted a few numbers concerning the growth of the craft beer industry.  You can find that post here. I also encourage you to visit the Brewers Association website to view more information and statistics on the craft beer industry in America. There is a multitude of information available on the current landscape of beer in America. There are also a great number of industry experts and economists providing their take on what the future holds for craft beer.

 

It was once said that there will never be competition for the “big” breweries. Yet, here we are in 2015 with over 3,000 breweries and more opening each day. The market share for “craft” beer has jumped to over 10%, which was previously looked upon as next to impossible. And the mere fact that we can blog about a “landscape” of beer is testament to the types of growth we are seeing develop in the United States.

 Photo from: Allaboutbeer.com

 

As for my take on the future landscape of beer in America, I believe the answer is not in the stories of the beers created, but instead within the stories of the creators behind the beers themselves. The landscape of beer in America will not only showcase the many accounts of professional brewers’ across the nation, but will also consist of the stories and experiences by those who enjoy it. Beer is no longer just the ice-cold, refreshing television commercial pushing product at the grocery store. Beer isn’t just the inexpensive alcohol that takes the buzz off of a busy Monday, or gets the party started on a long-awaited Friday.

 

[Craft] beer is now the story of Tom along with his family and friends sacrificing long, excruciating days to start and operate your community brewery. It’s about Greg’s ability to create a quality product and combine it with a great business acumen that allows a regional brewery to become a national icon. Beer is about the experiences shared, the conversations started, and the relationships created over a glass of fresh, local IPA or porter. People are the landscape of beer in America.

 

So what does the future of the landscape of beer in America look like? The stories and experiences will continue. Growth in the craft beer industry will be stimulated by the stories of the professionals and the consumers, alike. How will craft beer increase to 20+ percent of market share? People will continue to share their stories and experiences through social media. Newcomers will learn more about their favorite alcoholic beverage. They will experiment, sample, taste-test, converse, and name favorites among several different styles and brands of beer. In turn, demand will increase and brewers will continue to seek growth in their production to match these demands.

Photo from: Craftbeer.com

 

Will the craft beer bubble burst? I don’t believe it will. I believe that the craft beer market will continue to grow – maybe not as fast, but there is still plenty of opportunity for brewers across the nation. After all, not every state is as populated as the California beer scene appears to be.

 

I do believe that those not making a high-quality product will cease to exist. Those breweries and brewpubs that began as a money-making operation without passion for its product or its people will not last long in a very competitive craft beer market. Those breweries will lack the passion that also drives the innovation behind their beers, and by the looks of the current beer shelves, variety and innovation seem to be prominent factors in the marketplace.

 

I believe the other sets of breweries and brewpubs that may be affected by a changing beer landscape will be those passionate home brewers recently turned professional brewers/owner-operators. Perhaps they looked to pro brewing for a career change. Maybe they were told they made great homebrew, so they looked to the pro world for an opportunity. Regardless of the reason, I sincerely hope they succeed; however, it is reasonable to believe that if they are serving beer with a lot of flaws, or if they are serving unspectacular beer, then they may not see long-term success. Aside from the beer, if they lack the business acumen to keep their organization afloat and successful, then these too may not live to be the next craft beer success story.

 

I would love to say the Landscape of Beer in America will be positive with limitless opportunity and growth for all breweries and brewpubs. Do I believe the growth will continue? Absolutely! But with the significant growth will come growing pains. The Landscape of Beer in America will continue to provide an amazing variety of beer in every region in the U.S. The quality will continue to improve, and the average consumers knowledge will also improve. There will be some breweries and brewpubs that may not make it to the future. But until that future comes, you can find me basking in the thousands of beers and breweries in today’s American landscape. Go us! Go America!

 

Photo from: usasocialcondition.com