Does anyone find themselves drinking less of the "big national" craft beers?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by cmiller4642, Mar 10, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 Disciple (334) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    I saw where KBS is coming out in a few days, and I got to thinking that I haven't had a Founders beer since my bottle of CBS 4 months ago.

    I'm so wrapped up in Ohio's in-state distribution with Columbus, Jackie O's, Rhinegeist, etc... that I honestly find myself passing on Stone, Bells, Founders, New Belgium, etc... more and more every single year.

    When I go out of state, I gravitate toward Sixpoint and 3 Floyds.

    It's kind of sad because those are the craft beers I really cut my teeth on. There are just way too many Ohio beers and I only have so much money/time to drink them.
  2. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (14,963) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I drink more local than in the past, but still only maybe 5%. The issue for me is that the local breweries seem obsessed with light vs. the dark beers I prefer. I do like a good Hefeweizen or Kölsch, but just not into IPAs.
  3. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,803) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    I find myself drinking more locals but also find there are more locals than before to drink.
  4. laketang

    laketang Poo-Bah (1,567) Mar 22, 2015 Arizona

    Yeah if you are lucky enough to live where there are plenty of great or even good breweries, then you don't have to battle so much with finding nice fresh beer on the shelf.
    Tilley4, Amendm and thesherrybomber like this.
  5. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Not really.

    Since before I started being active on this site, the beer scene here in SE PA already had a lot of good local beer to drink. E.g., Victory, Stoudts, Troegs, and Sly Fox, were up and running long before I paid any attention to flavorful beers. Their beers were easy to obtain fresh and offered lots of variety.
    JA_26, Amendm, NeroFiddled and 3 others like this.
  6. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,543) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Likely a lot of people can answer "Yes" to that one. Take this quote from December from Beer Marketers Insights:
  7. Miles_in_beer_city

    Miles_in_beer_city Initiate (158) Jun 18, 2014 North Carolina

    99% of the beer I consume is local (within 25 miles of the house). Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Oskar Blues are including in that, as they are local. I do not drink all the local stuff, as I haven't had a Wicked Weed since they sold out.
    Amendm likes this.
  8. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,543) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Well, using traditional brewing industry marketing terminology which even predates the craft era, those three would be considered "national" brands rather than "local" or "regional" (or even "multi-regional") beers, even if they're brewed locally.

    (Granted, the Brewers Association considers the companies "regional" brewers even though the "region" appears to be all 50 US states and the District of Columbia :rolling_eyes:).
    GuyFawkes, cjgiant, bmugan and 4 others like this.
  9. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,103) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    While I cut my teeth on the likes of honey brown and sunshine wheat, I find that most of those beers are long gone, casualties of keeping up with the jones's. I would love to have some somersault or sunshine wheat this summer.
  10. ZebulonXZogg

    ZebulonXZogg Meyvn (1,184) May 5, 2015 Illinois

    I decided that the phrase "Drink Local" was appropriate. I live 50 miles from Chicago and we have some outstanding breweries, some known nation wide, some hardly known except by the locals.
    I would say that 90% of what I buy comes from the Chicago area.
    eppCOS and GuyFawkes like this.
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,824) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I too am like @Squire posted above (with emphasis in bold):

    "I find myself drinking more locals but also find there are more locals than before to drink."

    I am fortunate that in my area (SEPA) there have been lots of high quality local breweries for decades (e.g., Sly Fox, Stoudts, Victory,..) but in the past couple of years the number of high quality local breweries have 'exploded' in number. This is a good 'problem' to have.

    I am not really a locavore but the benefits for me is that I can purchase these high quality locally brewed beers fresh. In contrast over the past years the "big national" beers tend to be too old on my local beer retailers shelves. If this status quo continues I envision the 'trend' that jesskidden posted of "Closing in on the end of the year, more than half of the 30 largest craft brands by $$ in IRI off-premise data are declining yr-to-date thru Dec 2" will continue in 2019 (and beyond).

    GuyFawkes, JA_26, NeroFiddled and 2 others like this.
  12. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 Aspirant (285) Feb 4, 2014 Texas

    I live in a small town that doesn’t have great distribution. I grab whatever I can when it’s available .
  13. nw2571

    nw2571 Initiate (0) Feb 26, 2017 Indiana

    I think I'm probably about 70% national distributed, 30% local. I consider all of Indiana local in those numbers. The problem is that our beer just isn't that consistently great. I rarely miss a distributed release from Bell's, Founders, or Sierra Nevada. I know that when I buy those brands that I'm going to get a good beer, brewed to style. Locals... not so much.
  14. HopsAreDaMan

    HopsAreDaMan Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2015 Missouri

    I think it is an interesting question.

    I have had my eye out for the Oskar Blues/Cigar City collaboration BBA Imperial stout. Yet, I picked up a 4-pack of a Mother's BBA imperial stout the other day; it is a release I was not looking for or expecting. Although Mother's beers are not brewed or bottled in my city, they are in my state, so I loosely consider them local. As I have limited funds, my enthusiasm for obtaining the Oskar Blues/Cigar City BBA beer has dwindled, and I may not seek it out. This has happened with a number of other national releases, such that I choose the local beer over the national beer. Being 'local' isn't the only factor, though. There are a number of other factors like price, freshness, availability, quality, style, etc.

    So the bottom line is, yes, buying local does indeed impact my national purchases.
    mikeinportc likes this.
  15. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,566) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Ditto for me. Plus most of the the locals cost alot more in my parts than the larger brewers that distrbute.

    I just did a day trip to central PA this weekend. Visited Stoudts. Sampled 4 beers, didn't really care for any that much, so I didn't bring any home with me. Hit up a beer store in Lancaster, and ended up getting a mixed 6er of Deschutes (OR), Von Trappe (VT) and Fat Heads Hop JuJu (OH). There were several PA options that aren't sold in MD, but when I looked at ratings (avg./low) and costs (quite expensive), I had to pass on the gamble buy. They had Tired Hands on tap (which is legitimately good beers I've had before from a trade), but I couldn't partake due to alot of driving.
    NextBestThing and nw2571 like this.
  16. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I drink mostly local beers, they’re not only very good beers but they’re fresh. If you take out special releases the West coast hoppy beers here are about dead in the water. A really tough time to be a beer retailer that’s for sure, used to be Moylans, Hoppin Frog, Alpine, Firestone Walker were really sought after, those days are long gone. I’m long tired of picking up cans and they’re 8 months old., so I don’t bother any more unless it’s a seasonal.
  17. Troutbeerbum

    Troutbeerbum Initiate (185) Dec 5, 2016 Maine

    No way. As we see better distribution in Maine, we have access to more options. That's a big deal when you live in New England and prefer the West Coast style IPA.
    You get great beer for a great price, and I hope the big breweries cut into a flooded market of mediocre beers for $4-5 bucks a can.
    Bell's, Founders, Sierra Nevada, Cigar City, keep em coming, we're buying them!
  18. Miles_in_beer_city

    Miles_in_beer_city Initiate (158) Jun 18, 2014 North Carolina

    "Local", as in I was at SN yesterday and saw where they make the beer :grin:
  19. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Zealot (523) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois
    Society Trader

    The Chicagoland scene offers nearly everything I'm ever looking for and probably 40% of what I drink comes from Pipeworks. Another 30% is other Chicago/suburban stuff. The remainder goes to TG, Surly, Bell's, random imports, SN, Dogfish, and Cigar City, depending on season and freshness. Recently, though, I bought a sixer of GL Eliot Ness and it hit every note I was looking for. If Rheingeist were available here, they'd be in my regular rotation for sure.
  20. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,320) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Yeah, I love Little Brother Brewing here in Greensboro and it's "little". But it's a fine brewery and a fun place. To me, the Sierra Nevada beers I drink these days taste better and better. I don't need the definitions of others for me to determine that Sierra Nevada is local.
    JimKal and Amendm like this.
  21. Optifron

    Optifron Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 Minnesota

    Not for me. I’d say my consumption has historically been about 70% big national brands, and it’s still about that today. However, thinking about it, I don’t seem to have really taken to new releases in the past few years, which has caused my distribution with the national brands to shift. For example, I used to buy a ton of Stone, but it was all Self Righteous, IRS, Old Guardian and Arrogant Bastard. The first 3 no longer exist, and I’ve only bought Arrogant Bastard a couple times in the past few years.

    Sierra Nevada probably remains by majority supply, but mostly SNPA, Torpedo, Celebration, Porter, Stout and Kellerweis (when I can find the last 3) - I don’t seem to buy the new releases - even new flagships - more than once or twice. Otherwise, some of the shift has gone to the larger national/regional brewers that are based here - the bar near my office has Surly Furious and Summit EPA pints for $3 during happy hour, so that fills a sizeable portion of my spend.
  22. joerooster

    joerooster Initiate (0) May 15, 2018 Virginia

    I was drinking a lot of local beer for a couple years (roughly 70% of my purchases in terms of $) but I've since gone back to national brands for just about all my purchases. The reasons being:

    - Price, $16-$22 4-packs are what my local breweries charge (growler fills are even more per oz)
    - NE/Hazy IPA craze, most of the better locals are doing the hazy IPA thing and I've grown tired of the style
    - Variety, it's mostly either IPAs or Imp Stouts at the local breweries, at least when it comes to packaged beer
  23. TurkeysDrinkBeer

    TurkeysDrinkBeer Initiate (177) Sep 8, 2018 Virginia

    Stopped buying "big national craft" a couple of years ago and I don't miss it one bit. Like many others I cut my craft beer teeth on SN, Founders, Bells, Stone, etc etc. I enjoyed those brews at one point but have no desire to revisit them. I feel no need to drink them based on nostalgia, value or any other reason really. Living in VA has afforded me the luxury of several local breweries producing beer good enough or better (and fresher!) that I no longer have reason to purchase anything distributed to the local grocery store or bottle shop.
    GuyFawkes likes this.
  24. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,727) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    For those of us on this site who are 'older' we cut our teeth on the 'national' brands because they were what was available other than macros. But I think we all have a sense of adventure in us and we also kept a stray eye out for other beers so that the locals and regionals entered our diet. I am almost exclusively a drinker of local Michigan beers now, and I find plenty that I like, Short's most notably. If I travel to Ohio or Indiana, I'll be on the lookout for Fat Head's and Three Floyd's.
  25. MikeP64

    MikeP64 Initiate (166) Jan 24, 2015 South Carolina

    Still drinking the big boys...I've had too many 'local' or 'small' craft beers that were great;but when I got them again...meh. Every time I get a Founders,New Belguim,or SN I get what's expected..consistently good beer.
  26. eppCOS

    eppCOS Poo-Bah (2,099) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    I don't buy nearly as much of the national brands easily available anymore (SN, FW, OB, NB).
    Most of what I drink is Rockies/Front Range, 70-75%, from CO-NM-WY, but I do go for nostalgic faves from CA and Chicago since I've spent time in each place.
    If I lived in Chicago, I'd be such a homer. :wink:
  27. NYR-Zuuuuc

    NYR-Zuuuuc Devotee (418) Jan 1, 2013 Connecticut

    Absolutely. I spent many many years drinking the big national beers. Sierra Nevada, Ballast Point, Full Sail, Rogue, Stone etc. but that has changed drastically over the least few years, I would say right now 80% of the beer in my fridge will usually be beer I bought directly from the brewery....NEBCO, OEC, Fox Farm, Tree House etc...
    mikeinportc likes this.
  28. NickTheGreat

    NickTheGreat Zealot (537) Oct 28, 2010 Iowa

    I remember 5-10 years ago I'd go to the store and buy a 12 pack of Sam Adams or Fat Tire or SNPA. And go back in a few weeks and buy more.

    Now I'll swing by the store and grab a bomber of that fresh beer that dropped that day. Or a 6-pack of this new seasonal beer. Come back in a few days for the next big thing.

    I live in a great beer distro area both nationally and on a local scale. Maybe I'm just spoiled, but this method keeps my fridge full of beer . . .
    mikeinportc and Amendm like this.
  29. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Devotee (402) Jun 13, 2017 California

    Uh... I'm not sure if you'd call Fresno a beer wasteland (we have a little less than ten local breweries, but don't really see many on store shelves), or how "local" you mean. I see a lot more from the Sacramento, Central Coast areas.
    mikeinportc likes this.
  30. Izzy_Izumi

    Izzy_Izumi Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2017 California

    I've definitely noticed an uptick in my drinking of 805. I find that 805 or Modern Times "regulars" are that fine line between what people that don't drink beer think I drink, and what people who drink beer think I drink. Happy medium.
    mikeinportc and Amendm like this.
  31. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,543) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Well, again, that likely depends on the time period and the region. Earliest "craft" (if we eliminate the current brewers that started in the pre-craft era, like Yuengling and Matt) I recall drinking in the period of late-70s - mid-80s were all local/regional with a few notable examples, like Anchor which by then had expanded to most of the Pacific coast and adjacent states, with a few distant markets - MN and NJ were two I recall and, later, Boston (where a friend picked me up the first Liberty Ale I even consumed circa 1984) and other NE states,

    Other early craft beers that made it to the NY-NJ market I recall were Chesbay (VA), Boulder and Riley-Lyon (AR) - maybe Yakima/Grant's? The NY/NJ metro area at the time was a huge import market (supposed 25% of all imported beer was sold here), so local distributors brought the more expensive craft brands in from other regions, "leapfrogging" most of the rest of the country. So, I'd say they were "multi-regional/specialty" distributed brands, but no way "national".

    But, for the most part, that first decade of "craft brewing" the beers tended to be very local - in my case, I was drinking New Amsterdam, Manhattan, Vernon Valley, Fred Koch and Wm. Newman's long before future national brands like Sierra Nevada or even Samuel Adams showed up (SABL, IIRC, took a few years to hit my market, even though the trucks coming from Pittsburgh up to Boston might have passed through on the NJ TPK).
    #31 jesskidden, Mar 11, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
    LuskusDelph, BJC, mikeinportc and 4 others like this.
  32. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (675) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

  33. Sound_Explorer

    Sound_Explorer Poo-Bah (2,085) Dec 29, 2013 Washington

    I definitely have not been drinking the "old guard" as it were over the last several months (maybe couple years). I have been trying though to have a few now and again of New Belgium, Sierra, etc as I had tons years ago but didn't rate/tick them on here (which the OCD in me just can't have that stand).

    I haven't really been hyper local though either, like some have mentioned, just what looks or sounds good at the moment. Maybe I will try to be a little more local too, along with going old school. Who knew beer drin.....I mean advocating was so much work?
    mikeinportc likes this.
  34. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Champion (836) Dec 12, 2014 Chile

  35. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (13,978) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    So I've had to think about this a while and actually go back through some of my receipts to check on what I've bought.

    It seems to me, number one, that I'm drinking a lot more imports now than I have been over the past few years. Imports have been shrinking for years so what's up with that? I think there are two reasons for it: one, those breweries are now creating new beers to compete, and two, rather than taking chances on new stuff from the U.S. that might or might not be good I've been revisiting some of my favorite imports from the past.

    This has also been true at my local pub but that's simply because I haven't generally been happy with the other options they've had on tap and imports are generally cheaper and I know what I'm getting. An additional side to that is that I'll sometimes get the "big national" (Sierra Nevada counts, right?) for the same reason that it's reliable and I don't want to have to think about a new beer, I just want to hang out.

    Secondly, I think I have increased my intake of the "big nationals" at home. That's partially because they've been putting out new beers as well, and also partially because some of my local brewers now cost more. I also feel that the "big nationals" are now putting out more variety packs which makes it easier to get a better selection.

    Is it anyone else's opinion that some of their smaller local breweries are simply asking more money than it's worth for their regular beers?
  36. montman

    montman Devotee (434) Mar 10, 2009 Virginia

    Yes, over the last two years or so my purchasing of these national craft brands has taken a steep nose dive. I barely have time or want to drink often enough to visit my local/regional places to try new stuff. Going to the store and buying national stuff is more of an afterthought as of late.
  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,824) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Jim, I am definitely of that opinion as regards the 'popular' beer style of 'NEIPA' beers. What they are charging for a 4-pack of 16 ounce cans is more than I am personally willing to pay. Having stated that I think that the 6-packs of 12 ounce cans/bottles of non-'NEIPA' beers from our local breweries are reasonably priced. Tons of choices from the 'old standbys' of Stoudts, Sly Fox, Victory,... but also plenty of choices from the 'newer' small, local breweries that I have opened over the past few years. As one example I am a fan of the canned beers of St. Benjamins (Philly). Oh, and Double Nickel. And then....

    GuyFawkes and mikeinportc like this.
  38. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Crusader (754) Mar 28, 2009 California

    I like to combine local and national, so I drink a lot of firestone.
    LuskusDelph and TongoRad like this.
  39. BeardedWalrus

    BeardedWalrus Devotee (487) Jun 5, 2018 North Carolina

    Its funny, I actually passed on grabbing some 2015 KBS yesterday. Really I try to balance my selections between the bigger breweries and local stock, though being in North Carolina, I'd say many in state breweries definitely punch above their weight.
    mikeinportc likes this.
  40. jayrutgers

    jayrutgers Aspirant (214) Oct 29, 2011 New Jersey

    After years of mostly repping NJ craft, I've actually gone in the opposite direction as of late.

    Dogfish, Stone, and Sam Adams have put out some winners as of late (The Perfect Disguise, Tropic of Thunder Lager, Sam Adams NE Pale Ale), I loved the Brooklyn Unfiltered Pilsner, and I'm really just trying to recapture the fun I had when I first got into craft in 2006.'s a lot cheaper this way. The price to flavor ratio of NJ craft is pretty shite to be honest these days.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.