What is your opinion of the industry versus what it was 5, 10, 15...years ago?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by skcusab, Dec 30, 2012.

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  1. skcusab

    skcusab Initiate (0) Dec 28, 2012

    Just curious what others opinions are of the industry versus 5, 10, 15 years ago. I know mine and I am sure to get answers all over the spectrum, but I am willing to bet there are some common trends based on age and how long the person have been drinking craft beer.
  2. jaIsPoAn

    jaIsPoAn Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2012 New York

    Its better
    cavedave and StoutLover4life like this.
  3. DustinSmall

    DustinSmall Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2011 Maryland

    i havent been in the craft industry that long (im 23) but even in the 2 years ive been completely enamored in the industry ive seen massive strides and steps in a positive direction
  4. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,482) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Preferred most aspects 10-15 years ago, but undeniably some things are better now too.
    skcusab likes this.
  5. JoeyBeerBelly

    JoeyBeerBelly Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2006 New York

    I appreciate how the industry has grown and welcome all of the new craft breweries as well as the new craft beer drinkers.

    I've never been one to wait in line for hours to obtain a beer so I don't know or care too much about that side of it.

    I've enjoyed all of the craft beer I have been lucky enough to try over the past 20 something years thanks to good timing and/or good trading.
  6. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,305) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    The supposedly annoying aspects are incredibly easy to ignore (for the most part- some releases have definitely gone from being plentiful to being scarce within the last year or so). But on the plus side I have greater access to better and fresher beer than ever before (including imports), so overall things are not just better, but steadily improving for me.
    cavedave likes this.
  7. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,482) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Not sure which ones you have in mind, but there's no "supposedly" in it for me and there's no way to avoid most of them in my experience. The list is long of things that are annoying now that weren't so in the past. I love the current positives like anyone else, but I refuse to deny the good things that are no longer. :slight_frown:
  8. Bung

    Bung Poo-Bah (2,274) Nov 5, 2007 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Oh, and above.
    yemenmocha likes this.
  9. Hatzilla

    Hatzilla Aspirant (279) Jul 25, 2008 California

    One of the positives that comes to mind is more bottled on/best before dating. As others have said, some beer styles will be ignored (and collect dust) if this info is not given.
    Lantern likes this.
  10. tolar111

    tolar111 Disciple (391) Aug 17, 2008 New York

    I miss the groupies.
    VABA and luwak like this.
  11. sm0key

    sm0key Initiate (0) Apr 24, 2009 Michigan

    Mostly it's great. The lack of availability of beers that used to be easy to get can be frustrating at times, but really it's a goo thing. It means were making a bigger and bigger dent in the market. Some of the trends get annoying as well. But the good stuff remains, and the lousy and/or gimmicky stuff fades away. I've been in the craft scene since the mid nineties, so I've seen quite a bit over the years... (I know there are several of us on here) the biggest difference, and this is no surprise, but the selection is frickin unbelievable! I would have never guess there would be some much self space dedicated to craft beer!!!

    Great times to be a craft beer fan.
  12. GeddyLeeRocks

    GeddyLeeRocks Initiate (158) Oct 14, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I miss the days whens then the only thing that that came from a whiskey barrel was whiskey!
  13. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    Im only 24, but I've been drink craft beer since I was 19, and I can honestly say the availability of GOOD craft beer is insane right now. Positively booming. At least here in Cali. I feel for you fuckers in the South.
    MontereyBay831 likes this.
  14. taxman

    taxman Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2012 Illinois

    I remember when you couldn't get craft beers because they hardly existed or weren't distributed. You kids got it so good!
  15. PsilohsaiBiN

    PsilohsaiBiN Defender (614) Aug 10, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    I miss the good old days, when the earth was flat.
    nickfl, SatlyMalty, Horbar and 3 others like this.
  16. Halcyondays

    Halcyondays Poo-Bah (3,820) Jun 27, 2007 California

    Been drinking beer since 2005, so I can only vouch for the last 5-7 years. I miss readily available Cantillon, pitchers (and no lines) of Younger, and the ubiquitous $3 bomber/$7 sixers of CA IPA, but I do love the explosion of great new breweries in the Southland and elsewhere in CA and the emergence of Orange and LA Counties as beer strongholds in the US. There's certainly a lot more to choose from on the shelves than there was 5 years ago.
  17. mdvatab

    mdvatab Zealot (574) Apr 5, 2006 Indiana

    I've also been into craft beer for going on 20 years, and it's never been better, IMO. The number of breweries, styles, and brands is mind-boggling. And, while I still have some favorite brews from abroad, the number of fresh, tasty beers from stateside breweries keeps me drinking domestic >90% of the time. Yeah, it can be frustrating to have an interest in a certain beer and not be able to get it, but a friend is usually able to get/share a beer that I can't get, and vice-versa.
    I will say, though, that I wish I knew 5 years ago what I know now!
    Callmecoon and FriarTuckInLuck like this.
  18. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,305) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    I'd say that the aspects regarding fetishising certain aspects of beer, whether it be rarity, collectibility, sourness, gravity, IBUs, barrel-aged-this-or-that, etc, are an internet-driven phenomenon from where I stand. And one that time will cure. As of now I'm totally fine skirting on the outskirts of that whole scene, because sometimes I'll stumble upon something interesting; however, I don't really run into that attitude where I buy my beer or even with whom I share beers. The people with whom I interact are usually pretty level headed and knowledgable. And, yes, like I alluded to in my earlier post, it does get annoying when I can't get a beer this year that I had easy access to last year- but that issue is easily dealt with once you realize that there are always reasonable substitutes. That's actually a kind of good thing in and of itself- more quality beers overall, where you are not really 'denied' if you can't get your Founders Harvest, or whetever.
    Vonstein15, Kuemmelbrau and tolar111 like this.
  19. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,482) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    I sincerely hope you're right that time will cure that phenomenon but I've been waiting for a few years and it only seems to get worse. The fads are getting to the point where it isn't uncommon to find a beer bar that is largely catering to the niche popularity as far as taps go. Several years ago I wouldn't have guessed that I could go to a beer bar with 30 taps and honestly not want to drink any of them because I don't want a cherry this, or a maple that, or a barrel aged barnyard this, or a 130 IBU that. Also when you look at what % of beer sold is craft vs. BMC, that tells me there's still a lot of johnnie-come-latelies who haven't switched yet, so the growth in craft and the growth of the problems could still go on for awhile. :slight_frown:
    Kuemmelbrau, herrburgess and Bung like this.
  20. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    I think it's better, but I think there are a lot of mediocre/gateway stuff & craft in general clogging the shelves. I'd prefer a more worldly selection. I find the scourge of conglomerates (sucking up brewers)to be a little unsettling as well on a worldly scale. But I feel that we're @ a peak w/American craft & that when the bubble bursts as it did with the micro brew boom. The tried & true will still be standing tall. Quality over quantity.
    herrburgess likes this.
  21. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,139) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I don't miss the lack of diversity. I could do without trading for a hyped beer only to taste it and realize I have way better beer in my fridge.
  22. canucklehead

    canucklehead Poo-Bah (2,464) Mar 7, 2003 British Columbia (Canada)

    BC craft brewing is in a golden age now without question.
  23. bigflatsbeerman

    bigflatsbeerman Disciple (349) Nov 2, 2005 New York

    I live in upstate NY which although it is in NY is a rural area 4 hours from NYC. The availabilty of craft beer in the last 5 years has grown exponentially. There is a supermarket close by (Wegmans) which has expanded their beer selection in the past 5 years and I found a bottle shop (Lewis Bros. in Horseaheads, NY) that has 8 taps to fill growlers which I think started within the last 12 months. For me this is beer heaven compared to 6 years ago. This movement has taken hold.
    FriarTuckInLuck likes this.
  24. TheSixthRing

    TheSixthRing Poo-Bah (2,574) Sep 24, 2008 California

    I miss the days when a bomber wasn't so outrageously overpriced over it's six pack variation.
    keithmurray and Lantern like this.
  25. Lantern

    Lantern Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2011

    Granted, some of the best beers in the world call the west coast home, but you can't just write off 'the south'.
  26. jdillon334

    jdillon334 Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2010 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Right. I'm in North Carolina and we're doing a little more than OK.
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  27. yamar68

    yamar68 Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2011 Minnesota

    The key difference between today's craft beer industry and the craft beer industry of yesterday is that yesterday's craft beer industry was yesterday.
  28. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Devotee (470) Feb 8, 2009 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    I just turned 27, which means I can actually provide some input for the "5 years ago" standpoint. Here is what I like more:

    - The fact that sour/funky/wild beers are becoming more readily accessible
    - Many more breweries from all over the country (not just CA!) are producing better IPAs
    - Bars/Pubs that previously had shitty beer on tap are taking steps to improve what they serve
    - Almost extinct styles are becoming more popular (Berliner Weisse, Graetzer, etc)

    Here is what I don't like:

    - Every new brewery puts their beer in god damn $10 bombers. What the hell happened to 4 or 6 packs?
    - There is a lot of bad-to-mediocre craft beer out there. But because it's craft, people automatically think it's good.
    - The focus on rare beers. 99% of the time there is an easier to get beer that is as good or better than that rare beer you stood in line and paid $30 for.
    - ^^^$30+ beers. (*cough* Bruery *cough*)
    VonZipper likes this.
  29. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    Yeah, us fuckers in or from the south are doing just fine. Stay west surfer boy.
    mactrail and highdesertdrinker like this.
  30. jtg5678

    jtg5678 Aspirant (210) Nov 27, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    My opinion hasn't really changed because I haven't spent much time pontificating over it (until more recently). I've always enjoyed the "collecting" aspect of it (as in collecting the experiences of tasting different beers, not cellaring), and right now there are more breweries to check out than in a looooong time. So, I guess in that respect, there is probably more average beer out there not worth buying, but hey, beer is still beer and I can enjoy it on multiple levels.

    My main complaint is the cost and the proliferation of bombers over 4-packs.
  31. sacrelicio

    sacrelicio Initiate (0) Feb 15, 2005 Minnesota

    I joined BA in early 2005 and I have seen the changes over the last 7-8 years. Back then, the really good American craft breweries available in Minnesota were basically limited to Great Divide, Bell's, and Victory; and local guys like Summit and Schell were still sticking to their fairly stead lineup. Since then, the beer scene has absolutely exploded (essentially since Surly started) and craft beer is very en vogue here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. This is has been almost 100 percent good. The number of new breweries, variety of beers, the increase in quality, the style bending, etc. has been great. The large selections of good beer available at many local bars and restaurants is fantastic is getting better all the time. The Twin Cities area is quickly becoming one of the best beer metros in the US with no end in sight.

    The one thing that I don't like is that even in my relatively short time as a BA, the increase in demand has made many, many beers far too difficult to get. I have only beer into sours for a year or so and I can't just go grab some Cantillon to see what it's like (I have been fortunate enough to try classic guezue, gambrinus, and kriek though). KBS went from something I could get a four pack of fairly easily, to something I had to reserve if I wanted a four pack, to something I now have to wait in line to get two bottles of. I had to run from store to store to try to get CBS (with no luck) and I see this trend continuing. At least BCBS was widespread this year. Also, events like Darkness Day and Beer Geek Christmas are bigger and more fun, but you have to get in line earlier and earlier in order to get what you want. It's becoming a hobby that you can't just have a little fun with, you have to obsessively pursue it full time or miss out. Even new brewpubs and taprooms are packed to the gills around here.
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  32. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I meant a lot of companies dont distribute to the South.
  33. sacrelicio

    sacrelicio Initiate (0) Feb 15, 2005 Minnesota

    I can see the boom being more annoying in place like CA that already had a good beer scene. More negatives than positives.
  34. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    I love the fact that Belgians are now commonplace and easy to get as opposed to 10 years ago when you had to scour the shelves to find any decent beers! People's perception of beer has also changed. There are a lot more beer bars in my area, as opposed to the one bar that used to specialize in craft beers. There seems to be a huge craft boom which has dramatically altered the industry for the unforeseeable future for the better.
    On the flipside, prices have inflated a good deal. Prices on single bottles of Belgians have doubled. Also there was sort of an air of exclusivity to being a beer lover back in the day. I miss it!
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  35. luwak

    luwak Aspirant (269) Mar 2, 2010 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    Like what, exactly Mr contrarian? Less choice? greater difficulty in finding good beer?

    "The list is long of things that are annoying now that weren't so in the past."

    Yeah from your posts we know there is along list of things that annoy you in general...haha
  36. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    Better today. I'm about 15 years into drinking good beer... and there's definitely things I dislike with the industry today (basically, what yemenmocha is saying).

    But the good stuff today easily outweighs the bad. More breweries we have to choose from (sure, some suck, but choice can't be a bad thing, right?), wider distribution (yeah, gotta make sure it's fresh, but at least some breweries date their bottles now!), and more experimentation with brewing styles (even if some of those experiments fail miserably)... that's a lot of good against some minor negative issues.

    And... craft is growing within overall beer consumption. That's something that I can't see as anything but positive, and that inherently requires going forward.
    luwak likes this.
  37. jamvt

    jamvt Disciple (390) Aug 5, 2005 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    To the contrary, I remember when Cantillon used to be shelf beers.
  38. dhannes

    dhannes Devotee (499) Feb 14, 2010 Wisconsin

    1. There are hundreds of more options for the wholesaler, retailer, and the consumer to choose from, at least here in Wisconsin.
    2. The trend towards 22 oz. bottles at $5+ per bottle is growing, but may be a fad...12 oz. servings have dominated for over 50 years, and that is going to continue.
    3. The U.S. craft market is still segmented geographically into East, Midwest, and West...the few widely distributed brands will likely face margin pressure, as transportation costs will eat into margins or translate into higher prices.
    4. I suspect that a many brewers that try expanding will need to contract back into 2-3 annual offerings, and 4 seasonal offerings, and then only distribute in their home state and adjacent markets as offerings continue to grow.
  39. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    I think it depends on where you live. I have heard some of these beers that are no longer available were more so years ago in certain areas, but in other areas you couldn't get much beyond a major brand.
  40. jamvt

    jamvt Disciple (390) Aug 5, 2005 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    You and I both live in well developed craft markets. What Belgians are you referencing?
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