Are we spoiled in 2019?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Beer_Stan, May 23, 2019.

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  1. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,599) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Well, it would be my personal preference that homogenization will not be the case. The examples that you provided like cask beer in the UK will still exist in the future IMO. Maybe the selection of brands will be lesser but I think that cask beer will always be an option in the future (and cheers to CAMRA in this regard).

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  2. VoxRationis

    VoxRationis Poo-Bah (2,334) Dec 11, 2016 New York
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    Yes, we are spoiled by an embarassment of riches. Innovation is good, stagnation and uniformity are bad. Enjoy!
  3. Franziskaner

    Franziskaner Poo-Bah (4,340) May 27, 2005 Missouri

    I would say we definitely have too many options. I just heard Surly will be distributing in St. Louis later this year. I know Cigar City is also coming soon. In recent years we’ve added the following to our distribution footprint: Dogfish Head, Toppling Goliath, The Bruery, Squatters, Ballast Point, Terrapin, Funkwerks, Off Color, and Solemn Oath to name a few.

    Add to that local breweries like Narrow Gauge, Side Project, 4 Hands, Schlafly, O’Fallon, 2nd Shift, Civil Life, Modern Brewery, Center Ice, and Heavy Riff to name a few more.

    I find myself buying less beer when I travel to bring back with me as a result. Those choices used to overwhelm me. Now it’s the opposite.

    Although I might “need” to grab some bottles from the Rare Barrel from Binny’s when I’m in Chicago later this week.

    The result of all of this is a diversification of where our beer dollars go. I spend a lot less at my local bottle shop and more with local breweries than I used to. Also I rarely buy 6 packs or any beer in significant quantities. I also a lot more breweries making a beer that they have no intention of brewing again for the sake of having another imperial stout or IPA on the shelf that people like me will buy.
  4. sportscrazed2

    sportscrazed2 Devotee (491) Mar 29, 2010 Indiana

    Yes. The fact that I can walk into Binny's and know that no matter what beer I choose to buy that something better exists on the shelves is very spoiling.
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  5. chitoryu12

    chitoryu12 Savant (953) Feb 2, 2009 Florida

    I had joined so I could start reading reviews, as I got interested in beer despite not being able to drink it. I actually didn't start taking beer seriously until December 2017 when (as part of being dumped by my fiancee) I started reevaluating my life and interests. I set out to deeply understand food and drink, so I began seeking out new beers and actually writing down my thoughts.

    So far I've had 362 reviews since then and I've drank even more that I haven't reviewed; I'd estimate that the number of unique beers I've had is verging on 400 by now in this time. At my height I was averaging 1 new beer every 2 or 3 days.

    I don't think trendiness is going to be as much of a problem as market saturation. As I mentioned, I've had a lot of bourbon barrel-aged stouts. After having enough of them you start to realize how many of them taste the same. Or with lagers and brown ales you start finding beers that come from very small breweries but taste so identical that you'd never pass a blind test. Either the bragging about the ingredients and method is BS or they're clearly not doing something right with them.

    So you end up wondering just how to survive. Do you make something that you can pump out en masse and get wide appeal from people who just want the same stuff over and over, or do you find something unique that has enough popularity that you can create a new market niche, like what happened with fruit beers and sours suddenly exploding out of nowhere?
    chrismattlin likes this.
  6. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,190) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Cask ale is in decline. Craft in the UK is on the rise. Nobody is claiming that cask will completely go away anytime soon... that’s an extreme, but the numbers don’t paint a pretty picture.
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,599) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Chris, as I posted and you quoted:

    "Maybe the selection of brands will be lesser but I think that cask beer will always be an option in the future (and cheers to CAMRA in this regard)."

    As long as cask ale is an option/possibility it seems like "life is good". And maybe it will be the higher quality cask ales that will be the 'survivors'.

    champ103 likes this.
  8. sosbombs

    sosbombs Initiate (128) Jan 12, 2016 Vermont

    spoiled beyond belief.
  9. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,428) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    My local beer stores shelf space in completely dominated by local brewery options. I’d guess the ratio has flipped vs say 5-6 years ago. The bigger regional and national brewers still do ok I’d guess, but the dates get a bit sketchy. And the price of local beers are about equal to the larger breweries, so there isn’t much of a home team discount. I can’t find Ballast Point on the shelves anymore, Moylans, Alpine, most Victory, there’s a few Stone, Knee Deep is gone. If it doesn’t turn he won’t carry it, but I suspect a lot of these obscure local breweries will suffer the same fate, really there’s literally dozens.
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  10. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Devotee (405) Jun 13, 2017 California
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    That's a bit disappointing. In the future, will we have to leave state lines to get x beer? In Germany, that might be less of an issue, but the US is about the size of China.
  11. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,428) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    Hard to say where this trends, this particular beer store used to be slammed after working hours, especially on Fridays, weekends. I can usually look and browse by myself right now so I question the long term health of this business. The big super stores like Total Wine are the opposite they carry mostly regional and national brews, a few locals, but I’d suppose AAL make up a large percentage of their sales. I’d say we started getting spoiled 5-6 years ago, when there was enormous influx of Cali ipas as an example, but the vast volume was unsustainable. Which bring us to now, I have no idea where the market goes, and if I was a retailer I’d be very nervous, the margins in beer are quite small.
    thesherrybomber likes this.
  12. Hasher90

    Hasher90 Initiate (23) May 1, 2019 Ohio

    I think that I an definitely spoiled. I live in Northwest Ohio and have found a brewery in munster Indiana 3 floyds. They make the best ipa beer ever zombie dust and for a,while it was extremely hard to find. For about 2 years I had a lot of trouble finding it because every time it came to toledo, it sold out in like 1 day. I finally found a store that gets it in every Friday so now I call them on Friday and go.pick it up. I feel like I have a drug dealer on speed dial!lol. I finally got my connection. I usually pick up 2 6 packs. That does me for the weekend. Whenever I can't find it there's a Meijer grocery store that carries some of their other brands. It used to be like finding a needle in a haystack, but now I know I can get it every week.
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  13. Ronmarley1

    Ronmarley1 Aspirant (230) Jan 20, 2014 Ohio

    What’s the old saying? If they hit the lottery, they’d complain they had to go to the bank.
  14. JerzDevl2000

    JerzDevl2000 Poo-Bah (3,666) Oct 7, 2005 New Jersey

    Absolutely, spoiled beyond belief!

    I've enjoyed nearly everything I've brought and reviewed on here and my biggest problem is that I can't keep up. There's so much being released in New York and available in stores here in New Jersey that I can't hope to possibly ever keep up. It's an embarrassment of riches and a first world problem, and more importantly, proof that we're in a golden age right now.

    I'm just glad that I do my best not to take any of this for granted!
  15. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (168) Nov 6, 2010 British Indian Ocean Territory

    One of the theories I've always held is that early 90's hip-hop (ATCQ, Illmatic Nas, et. al) had to be good. Everything about it. Production, lyrics, every scratch had to be perfect. Otherwise, it wouldn't sell and it would just have been a fad. Well, then that led to a bunch of rap that all sounded the same. Executive realized rap can sell regardless of its content. Since that early wave of greatness, we've seen other lasting acts endure (The Roots, Common, Drake, Kendrick, etc.), but otherwise, hip-hop has seen trends come and go.

    I see a ton of similarities in the beer world. I remember going to places like AleSmith and Pizza Port in the mid-2000s. Variety of styles, everything had to be perfect for these places to survive. They have. I think there are many other breweries that are here and will thrive in perpetuity, but I'm excited to thin the herd so to say.
  16. PA-Michigander

    PA-Michigander Meyvn (1,446) Nov 10, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I hope this is hyperbole, but if your go-to beer store has 51+% beers that are 3 years old or older, you need a new beer store. There has to be a better option.
    Sammy and zid like this.
  17. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,190) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Not hyperbole. Not my go-to either. Only been twice. I don’t even care for the place but I was right by it. There are better options. I am glad I went in though because the beer that I bought was a very nice find. Also - It’s not that a majority of the beers there were 3 years old, but rather, a majority of what I looked at... and my shopping habits probably do not reflect their average customer. Gotta admit I was half tempted to get the single 2016 four pack of Bigfoot though... Perhaps I’ll be back to get it in the future.
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  18. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,417) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    That would be worth it for sure if it's still around12 bucks. Bonus points if you can convince them you should get a discount on the old(and obviously dated) beer
  19. Oh_Dark_Star

    Oh_Dark_Star Poo-Bah (1,731) Mar 4, 2015 Washington
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    Many beers I would have classified as good before no longer stand out. I'm always thinking that there are too many options to choose from and look up in order to avoid disappointment. But I'm admittedly snobbier now. As the average quality of brews have gone up and great beers get wider distributions, I'm seeking those top marks only when I spend more money for that bottle or 4-pack. I think you hit the nail on the head!
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  20. marquis

    marquis Champion (801) Nov 20, 2005 England

    in my own case I am ambivalent. I grew up at a time when we were served by three excellent local breweries in lots of lovely pubs , beer was cheap and being on cask each pub put its own stamp on the beers.Also Guinness and Bass were available everywhere of course.
    We thought things could never get better but we welcomed the emergence of what we called "micro breweries" about 40 years ago.These are called "craft" by some people these days.We had a greater choice but in the early days quality was often indifferent.
    These new brews were interesting but did not add greatly to the pub experience , we had never felt limited when the choice was simply mild or bitter because we could (and did) drink these all day without losing interest. A good session beer gets better the more pints you drink of it.
    Now we have around 1 brewery for every 30000 of us with lots of choice of course. But greater enjoyment ? I still love going to the pub but no more than I did as a teenager.
    The downside is the price of beer these days. A beautifully brewed pint back then was a few pence , now it costs several pounds.This must be partly responsible for the mass of pub closures , together with the strength of many modern beers.At session strength many drinkers put down one pint after another for the whole session, when beers got stronger people drank less of it.So people spend less time in pubs these days.
  21. Sammy

    Sammy Poo-Bah (14,297) Dec 1, 2003 Canada
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    yes I agree
  22. Brewday

    Brewday Initiate (156) Dec 25, 2015 New York

    We have it too easy which is great. Neighbor told me a group of friends would go to Colorado skiing in the late 70s and bring back trunks full of Coors. Now i can get beer from Vietnam and Iceland and other far away places at a store 15 mins away.
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  23. sosbombs

    sosbombs Initiate (128) Jan 12, 2016 Vermont

    if you even to ask this question you are. I remember when the only craft beer you could find on the east coast was Ballentine IPA. In the early 90's a great craft beer (known them as micro brews) had Saranac, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and some imports. Vermont at the time, you would get excited if a bar had Magic Hat.
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  24. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Aspirant (216) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Spoiled may not be the right word, but the amount of options in even the worst of beer stores is a blessing these days. We drove the market to be options-centric, and stores have adapted or died. I think it's the fruit of our labor more than a spoiling of sorts. Lot of people worked very hard to give us the options we see every day, might as well recognize their influence and skills than lament how "spoiled" we are.
    JediMasterLenin likes this.
  25. Patrick999

    Patrick999 Meyvn (1,032) Oct 18, 2006 Florida

    I don't know, but I think it has contributed to a mentality that has everyone just running from brewery to brewery looking for the next crazy milkshake IPA or pastry stout, ignoring the classic styles many of us older beer fans cut our teeth on (and still enjoy).
    neenerzig likes this.
  26. BarleyWhyNot

    BarleyWhyNot Aspirant (289) Apr 12, 2017 Colorado

    I agree. New brewery just opened up here in the mountains. His brown ale is probably the best beer he has. He tried for a hazy ipa and failed. The brewer doesn’t even like ipa’s so how can he be expected to make a good one...
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  27. islay

    islay Disciple (333) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    You might be surprised at how many brewers of highly regarded NEIPAs* personally dislike, even detest, the style. While it does have some legitimate fans, it's a widely disrespected style in the industry, including by many of its (often reluctant) producers, but, for now at least, it sells.

    * Admittedly, "hazy IPA" often denotes a turbid but non-New-England IPA.
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  28. mogulskier

    mogulskier Initiate (98) Feb 3, 2019 California

    True. And even if Brewers don't like it, if it sells well and pays the bills, then that is just tough medicine they have to take. On the upside, customers who like a breweries IPA's, would be more receptive to buying perhaps a pils, lager, or sour from them based on the positive feedback. Who knows, that customer might start buying more of your beer instead of just a particular style.
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  29. Oh_Dark_Star

    Oh_Dark_Star Poo-Bah (1,731) Mar 4, 2015 Washington
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    I see where you are coming from and sympathize. More choice cut both ways.

    As far as the bar and pub scene disappearing there may be other factors at play as well. Probably a separate post and I don’t know about the places you frequent, but what I’ve seen to date as a now 38 year old in the Midwest and West Coast of the U.S. were bars/pubs unwelcoming of newcomers or the younger crowd (mid-thirties and below). I won’t return to a place where the regulars leer at and ridicule with no reason given other than a position that this pub is their place, not to be intruded upon. I’ve also seen several of the same close their doors.

    I’d rather have a couple drinks at a bottle shop or brewery which is welcoming to all.
  30. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,417) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    I've noticed an increase in welcoming, convivial bars in the last half decade at least. I see more and more places opening up that don't have tvs, don't blast their music or dim the lights to cave levels. There are certainly places where you feel like you walked into an old west saloon as the new guy in town, piano cuts off, only sound is the creaking door hinge behind you and the clank of the grumpiest old guy setting down his empty mug as he eyeballs you.
    But I have had tons of great conversations with strangers (at SARA's Portal in santa cruz last month I met a peruvian google employee who spontaneously bought some 3 Fonteinen bottle to share with me after 15 minutes of conversation about his move from the east coast and his quest to find the good beer spots in the wider bay area) at breweries and better beer bars. Going out to a decent bar by myself remains one of my favorite activities for just that reason
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  31. neenerzig

    neenerzig Poo-Bah (2,649) Feb 15, 2006 Ohio

    In a word, yes. Within a 30 mile radius or so of where I live there's at least 40 craft breweries of varying sizes. I've lived in the same area my whole life, and 10 years ago there were maybe 10 breweries within that 30 mile radius. The options of locally produced, fresh craft beer very easily available to me now is absolutely overwhelming, and it is impossible to keep up with all the beers being released by all these breweries. The stores I go to to buy beer stock way more local offerings than they did 10 years ago because there's so much more that exists now. And as a result, over the past year or 2 my beer drinking habits have changed in that I'd say that about 75% or so of the beer I consume is beer produced locally by the 40 or so craft breweries in the areas that I live. When I go out drinking, I'm much more likely these days to deliberately make the choice to go to a specific brewery to drink their beer on-tap than to simply go to a bar that I know has a good craft selection. Again, this was not the case 10 years ago. 10 years ago, I'd say about 25% or so of the beer I consumed was locally produced.

    #151 neenerzig, Jun 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  32. jquay

    jquay Initiate (88) Feb 26, 2008 Georgia

    This is exactly my experience. I live in Atlanta, and could ride my bike to Scofflaw (speaking of IPA's) and perhaps ten other local craft breweries. Get in my car and I probably have 30 or 40 to choose from. Shelf space at my local liquor/beer/wine store and at places like Total Wine is all about local Atlanta and Athens (another hotbed) beers. Even Costco has pallets of Monday Night and Sweetwater and Red Hare. Unless its in national distribution because they've partnered with a macro, or its from the great North Carolina build-our-second-brewery-here crowd, you don't see it. Californians like Stone and Lagunitas have all but disappeared. Even Dogfish Head is rapidly losing shelf space. If its in national distribution AND local (Terrapin, looking at you) its ubiquitous. Terrapin even has brewpubs at the airport and SunTrust park.
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  33. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,428) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I’d bargain with the guy for the aged Bigfoot, if it’s 3 years old he might jump to move some of it if you offer to buy a few 4 pks. Makes it worth his while, if he moves on the price I’d buy in volume.
  34. AWA

    AWA Disciple (320) Jul 22, 2014 California

    Fuck that. We're just well taken care of. At least I'm going to tell myself that.
  35. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,127) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
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    I’ve been enjoying beer since Boston Brewing Company (Samuel Adams) was still new* and hard to get, and “Craft Beer” wasn’t a marketplace term so much as a burgeoning philosophy.

    If you live in a sizable city, I would say that you’re spoiled for choice now more than ever before, and if you’re paying close enough attention you realize that this has been true for about twenty years, now.

    Enjoy it while it lasts — it might change!

    *Dang, thirty years. When did I get old? :astonished:
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  36. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,428) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    Our high spot was about the time Alpine was first being distributed here, don’t remember the year. There was a big presence from Moylans, Lagunitas, Knee Deep, Ballast Point etc, just a ton of beers on the self. As the sales slowed they all but have disappeared here, now there’s a glut of indistinguishable local brewers. For the most part even regional beers are gone, beers from Victory are especially missed. So no, the high water mark was many years ago and certainly not today. I’m sure most retailers are nervous in this environment, it’s really the crossroads.
    #156 nc41, Jun 9, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,599) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Do you travel much to drink at local brewery tasting rooms? And if so, are you happy with the quality of those beers?

    In my area over the past year or so there has been an 'explosion' of new local breweries opening and those beers are of high quality. If I chose to I could never visit a beer store again and still have lots of high quality choices for drinking (and purchasing for home consumption) craft beer.


    P.S. One example would be Root Down which opened in the summer of 2017 and they won BIG at the 2018 GABF:

    “Root Down took the top award in the American-Style IPA category with its Bine beer, beating out 310 other contestants. It was also the only gold for a Pennsylvania brewery at this year’s competition.

    Root Down had a great showing in the Gose category as well. It managed to win the silver for its Salty by Nature beer.

    And these were not the only honors Root Down brought home.

    It’s also a champion brewery for 2018, as it was crowned the Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year. This category covers breweries that produced between 750 and 1,500 barrels in the last year.”
  38. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,428) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    No I don’t, I’d say 99% I have my beers at home. There’s no shortage of places I suppose I’m just super leery of drinking and driving. Red Oak is 10 from here and I’d bet I’ve been there 3-4 times in the last year. If I do go to a bar or brewery I always cap it at 2 beers.
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  39. GuyFawkes

    GuyFawkes Poo-Bah (4,662) Apr 7, 2011 Illinois
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    This is a great attitude to have. Not just for your own personal situation, but for everyone on the road in your area.

    I never say this here, but "cheers"!
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  40. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,428) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Everyday it seems there’s a driving impaired story in the news, it’s preventable. Same with using cellphones or texting and driving, every day there’s a story. Last week a guy was dui and rear ended a sheriffs patrol car, oops, talk about karma.
    GuyFawkes likes this.
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