In a roundup of beer news, Delaware increases beer excise tax; North Carolina passes “Brunch Bill;” Brooklyn Brewery and Carlsberg expand international ventures; and breweries adopt the Brewers Association’s “Independent” seal.
The history of the Great American Beer Festival is the history of craft brewing magnified. It started in 1982 as a one-night event, held during the fourth annual National Homebrew and Microbrewery Conference.
As craft brewers push to distinguish themselves from Big Beer, revenue from higher-priced premium beers is increasing faster than any other craft segment. Will that make the $8 six-pack a thing of the past?
Bart Watson is the Brewers Association numbers guy, hired in 2013 as its chief economist. When the association issues a press release announcing the total number of US breweries has reached an all-time high in 2015, he is the spokesman quoted.
Buyouts and ownership restructurings in 2014 and 2015 have removed some of the bigger players—and their bigger production numbers—from the “craft market share” calculation publicized by the Brewers Association.
This Brewers Association predicted that the US will soon exceed the record of 4,131 breweries set in 1873. That’s a big number. And it’s sparked the whole “When will the beer bubble burst?” debate again. But let’s not forget: 1873 and 2015 are different times.
Brewers guilds must educate, protect and promote. It’s taken the craft brewing industry some 35 years to be able to produce 12 percent of the beer bought in America. No one accomplished that feat alone. There is strength in numbers.
Of the 836 new breweries that opened between 2010 and 2013, approximately 350 will close by 2016. It’s a shocking number that makes sense after asking the people behind recently shuttered breweries about the challenges they faced.
Craft exports currently represent about $73 million in yearly sales. And with newly announced trade partnerships in place, and more on the way in South America and Asia, the craft beer-export industry is poised for further growth.
The Great American Beer Festival and its sponsor, the Brewers Association, seem to have lost their way. While other long-running festivals, including the Great Taste of the Midwest and the Oregon Brewers Festival, remain true to their roots, the GABF seems unable to decide what it wants to be.