From Reddit threads to in-person auctions, the increasing commodification of rare beer is something to celebrate and fear. The long heralded accessibility of beer remains one of its most favorable traits.
Many craft breweries are cults of personality. But when these icons eventually fade, we’re left with the next generation to think about, as the brewery must go on. Craft brewing has always been a business.
While trepidation for the undermining of long treasured beer heritages remains understandable, in countries with little in the way of a native or historic beer culture, the change of pace and perspective brought by an interest in American-style craft brewing is a welcome breath of fresh air.
Cans are now instinctively what I reach for when I’m buying beer in the store, much to my own surprise. In fact, I expect to keep passing over glass bottles, bombers and growlers for many years to come.
As craft brewing matures, the quality of the reportage on all things beer should rise to match it. Quality writers are a crucial component in helping craft brewing grow in stature and seriousness in the public’s eye.
While the internet has given beer lovers access to information and communication avenues that we could never have imagined decades ago, the value of many social media options to breweries is harder to gauge.
Craft breweries have long had a contentious relationship with the media. Fighting an uphill battle against a well-entrenched public view that all beer looked and tasted the same, new small brewers knew the importance of changing the conversation about beer.
Amid the introduction of hundreds and thousands of new brewers—some small, some unbelievably large—we are witnessing a massive changing of the guard. America’s oldest breweries face a host of challenges ranging from demographics to succession.
Largely the province of beer marketing companies in the past, today’s contract brewers take myriad forms, and with the vast expansion of craft breweries comes new creative opportunities. It’s time to rethink our once strong dislike of contract or guest brewing.
Instead of targeting a seemingly endless stream of macro tap handles, as they once could, craft brewers find themselves reluctantly attacking the established marketplace achievements of their so-called craft beer brethren.
Considering the substantial resources and opportunities provided by the sales juggernaut that is IPA, it’s time to redirect some of those resources to a noble and long-ignored end: the resurrection of American lager beer.
A lot of beer burnout these days stems from our near incessant need to seek out the new, the exciting, the fresh and undiscovered in beer. As with adult relationships, this pattern of promiscuity ultimately leads to an inability to forge a real, lasting connection with a single, satisfying brand.
While it’s a testament to the evolution of craft brewing that many new brewers believe themselves capable of making the world’s best beer, the likelihood that they will make good beer, let alone world-class beer, in their earliest efforts is exceedingly low.
The Julian system is but one of many tricks that craft brewers employ to confuse unsuspecting consumers into buying old and often lifeless beer. Lacking in simple clarity, it requires customers to come equipped with additional computational skills just to find a relatively fresh bottle.
At a time when our beer culture is increasingly dominated by consumer proclivities toward promiscuity, the watchword is more. But when the industry chases new beers in the absence of the smart curation, the resulting expansion of bottle and tap selections leads to bloat and a lot of stale beer.
As the craft brewing industry continues to grow, its design approach should become more focused, allowing it to explore new audiences and markets. While I’m not suggesting the industry lose its sense of fun, it is perhaps time that the design equivalent of fart jokes steps aside for a more thoughtful sensibility.