Where Is Craft Beer Headed Now?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by cavedave, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,468) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Where do we go from here? It's really hard to say, but since I have experience with being in the vanguard of at least four movements that went on to experience huge popularity similar to that of craft beer, and it's the start of a new year, I'm gonna frame and ask these question(s). Craft beer has in common with the hippy movement, the marijuana movement, the grateful deadhead movement, and the moutntain bike movement certain things that make comparison seem kinda fair, though very far from perfect.

    All these movements started with rebellion. While it would take too much time to make this point for all these things I experienced from their outset, it is obvious to us zealots who started these movements that they were acts of rebellion against status quo. With craft beer it was rebellion against a standardization of beer that led to there being far fewer breweries in the whole country, and AAL being the overwhelming, almost only, domestic beer of choice. You can still see residue of this when you hear people say things like, "This doesn't taste like beer," in reference to newer style offerings. Back in the day folks made fun of us fine beer lovers, just as the skinny wheel bikers made fun of us first clunky mountain bike riders, the rock and roll straights made fun of us jamband music Grateful Deadheads, conservatives in America freaked about us marijuana users, and when we started the hippy movement we were treated as a hated minority by mainstream America.

    As each of these movements gained popularity they attracted a new breed, similar in some/many ways to each other. Hippies were infiltrated by folks who liked the clothes we wore and wanted to start a fashion/lifestyle movement out of it and cash in on it for the big bucks. Many real hippies left the movement, and in fact the movement basically died from it. Mountain biking attracted a wealthy crowd of weekend warriors who clogged up the trails, caused many of them to be marked off limits, and fueled a price war for bikes that rose prices stupidly. Many mtn. bikers got out of the sport for these reasons, and others. The marijuana movement is most similar to the beer movement in some ways, since both are intoxicants. And I think we can see both movements being infiltrated by the same elements that have infiltrated these other avocations. The big money hipsters jump aboard, looking to cash in and move things to their own liking/advantage, and things change.

    There is no doubt things are evolving in our "movement" (it once didn't seem silly to say craft beer movement/revolution). Where are things going? Will craft beer end up like grateful deadheads, becoming a small group of wealthy dilettantes who so alienate the first guard that most of them "jump off the bus"? Will it end up like the hippie movement, so changed by late to the movement folks that it dies a slow death? Will it end up so crowded and dominated with wealthy devotees that it no longer seems any fun for many of the folks who started the hobby, like mountain biking. Will it end up so controlled by the bigger is better folks that everything needs to be created to the highest amount of everything, where excess is worshipped, like the marijuana movement? Or are all of these things not applicable, or just plain wrong? What other factors do you see directing craft beer's future?

    Where are we going? Where will craft beer be in ten years or twenty years? Are you still as motivated to consider yourself a member of a movement as once you were? Where do you see yourself in terms of beer in that future? What do you all think is our future in craft beer?
  2. wally_world

    wally_world Aspirant (249) Nov 27, 2015 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    Awesome topic and great connections with other cultural connections and movements.

    While I haven't been drinking craft as much as a lot of people on here, I'm sure (~10 years), I started really getting into craft right as the hazy IPA made its way to my neck of the woods in Illinois.

    2017 was my biggest year in the hobby, drinking upwards of 500 new beers and making beer trips to Colorado and the Northeast in the calendar year. Since then, and since I spent that year going to releases, trading a lot, and immersing myself in the hobby, I've decided to enjoy what I have a bit more.

    I have talked with friends that like the hobby, as well as reading through the boards here, and some of the bigger trends (adjunct-heavy stouts and milkshake IPAs specifically) have some people steering right into them and others dipping their toes in, but appreciating a bit more simplicity. I like that the trends still exist, as more and more styles of beers are expanding in tastes. For me, personally, I'll dip my toes in at times, while also going back to the styles that got me into craft, specifically crisp, hoppy west coast IPAs and straight ahead stouts.

    Cheers, all! Happy New Year!
  3. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (551) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    Thanks for the thought provoking post and for bringing in some comparisons I never would have thought of (mountain biking in particular).

    I'll have to think on it a bit to see if I have anything useful to add, but having been a little bit ahead of the curve on a couple of music fronts, that's the area/trajectory that seems the most similar to craft beer to me.
    sharpski and cavedave like this.
  4. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (2,355) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
    Premium Trader

    I think this is really well done. I don't like the term "craft beer" (it's all just beer, IMHO), but I understand its use as a descriptive - if you go to a place that is mostly "big beer" and ask what craft beers they offer, your server knows what you're looking for, so "craft beer" it is.

    I think "craft beer" will continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate (which is natural - bigger numbers = lower growth rates), but I think beer nerds will see a few things:

    - "Fresh" and "Local" will continue to fuel most of the growth (i.e. taprooms), while the "super regionals" (Stone, New Belgium, Sam Adams) will shrink a bit (or a lot in the case of Sam). Sierra Nevada will be the one "super regional" that will show solid growth. This is the "Wealthy Dilettantes" codicil.

    - "Special Releases" will be made more often by the "fresh and local" breweries and we'll see the shelf space for "craft beer" at retailers actually shrink a bit to reduce the "shelf turds" that sit on the retailers' shelves. This is the "first guard beer nerd" codicil.

    - IPA's will continue to proliferate (hazy and not hazy), but the lower alcohol lagers/sessions/sours will fuel more growth as breweries try to expand their base beyond the "first guard" beer nerds and the "Wealthy dilettantes" to include non-beer nerds. This is the "Mrs O will continue to accompany ovaltine to breweries and make ovaltine a very happy beer nerd" codicil.

    I'm codiciled out, so I'll offer a more personal observation that ties the three points above together. I used to literally get giddy with anticipation before I'd go to the beer store, because I just KNEW that I was going to find a few (as in 3 or 4 or 5) new things that would get my inner beer nerd all revved up. That rarely happens now. Selections that are dated and skewed (one guess the direction that are skewed) that have a feeling of sameness to them don't quicken my pulse.

    What revs me up is a trip to a brewery, either by myself to purchase something carryout (I do that a LOT), or to take Mrs O and have a couple of beers together (I am her official beer selector, a title I have worked diligently to earn), then buy some more to take home. I almost ALWAYS find stuff that gets my inner beer nerd revved up because I do my due diligence beforehand (God Bless the internets), something that's difficult to do with retail, outside of a place like Total Wine, which isn't available to me here in Northern Indiana. NOTE TO RETAILERS: a viable, reliable digital presence would help you grow your business. Make this happen, please, and TIA.

    THAT experience (visiting a local brewery) excites me, because the beers are almost always very good or better, plus I get to hang out with Mrs O (these trips always include dinner), which is the cherry on top of my beer nerd sundae.

    Thanks again for an excellent post.
  5. stevepat

    stevepat Devotee (413) Mar 12, 2013 California

    'Craft beer' is no longer a seperate movement, it is part of mainstream beer and culture in the US. It has installed the notion of some semblance of choice in flavor firmly in mainstream american beer/bar life. How many of you know a store or bar where your only choice is actually AAL?

    With that it will fracture into the various subcultures that populate general US drinking/eating/inebriating culture. You will have people who are into it for the IG likes, people who are into the exclusive/expensive status symbol, people who use it as a prop for travel, people who fold it into the locavore thing, people who insist on the most traditional processes/ingredients, people who obsess over innovative process/ingredients, people who only do organic/biodynamic and on and on and on.

    We won (I mean you old guys did a lot and I appreciate the lead but those of us in our late 20s and 30s have picked up the baton alright I like to think), beer is more than just adjunct lager now (while still being adjunct lager too!). However when a movement wins, the movement part is over. There are no new craft pioneers (even the folks who pioneered NEIPA and whatever other novel brew presentations we will encounter), it is an established cultural stream we can all swim in. And theres room for everyone. The richies can have 100$ stouts, the IG whores can haze to their hearts content, the purists can drink cave lagered flaggons in the hop drying barn, the techies can get a cryohopped nitro-stout slushie, and I can get a SNPA for 3$ at a dive bar and talk about college football with an old rancher drinking bud and its all good.

    We won. happy new year
  6. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,263) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I love beer. I despise where craft beer culture is going. Locally a new brewery opened up called wild blue yonder. It is the brainchild of an asshat who jumped on board the small plate gourmet food movement of the late 90s and drove that unchanging dated crapfactory into the ground some 20 years later. This place attracts all the wanna be cool people with cash coming out of their ears (cool bluetooth earbuds bruh) or mouth (nice lip injections) or ass ( is that buttplug bluetooth) who eat frites, not french fries, sliders, not burgers, and truffles, not mushrooms. Its shiny. Its bright. It's meant to rein in all those looky lues from society who are never part of something cool but rather are there to co opt the movement as it were and dumb it down to the lowest common denominator. These same morons buy maclarens but have never heard of Nuremberg. I'm afraid this trend is going to snowball, and while I'll always enjoy beer I am afraid I won't enjoy beer culture much longer.
    TonyLema1, LeRose, storm72 and 13 others like this.
  7. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,441) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Thanks to @cavedave for this thoughtful question. It's something to ponder, and in doing so it opens up many other rabbit holes to crawl down. There are thousands of answers to be found, and all of them correct.

    To distill my beliefs into a greater overall...

    People like to use things as emblems of who they are, displayed as badges for others to see who they are, and craft brew is a great example of that.

    However, at some point craft brew has to become main stream just like everything else (a la @stevepat). Example given, you can buy sushi in Lebanon, Kansas, the geographic center of the United States and theoretically the furthest point from any ocean.

    Starbucks is probably a clearer example. People use Starbucks to identify in Kansas, and also in NYC, although people in NY are far more likely to focus on a local shop or roaster. Therefore I agree with @ovaltine that local will continue to be a thing, and national will slow.

    At the same time, in this day we've seen that people are like locusts, always moving on to the next thing, so where does that leave us? It will swirl for a while with this thing being hot and then the next, and perhaps that will go on forever, but I think like any other trend it will eventually settle down. Beer will become like wine is now: those that care, those that don't, those that are in the middle, and those that feel cheap boxed wine is more than good enough - and to a certain extent, it's kind of like that right now. There will always be different sectors though, places for different people to fit in, kind of like "splintered sunlight".

    In the end it's just a big circle. Read back through what @cavedave has written. It's all true, and it will all be true again. It's just a matter of when, and how strong the movements are. It'll depend on where the new generations get on and when they decide to get off.
  8. rozzom

    rozzom Crusader (760) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Shanex, Beervana, RobNewton and 3 others like this.
  9. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,263) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I'm afraid I have no idea what you speak of....:wink:
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,761) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Dave (@cavedave) thanks for starting this intriguing thread!

    When does the term "movement" lose it's meaning/luster? My prediction is that 'craft beer' will remain a minority portion of the overall beer market but it seems to me that the aspect of "movement" is diminishing. I am uncertain when the term "mainstream" becomes applicable but it seems to me that 'craft beer' is currently exiting the "movement" phase and perhaps entering the "mainstream" phase? I personally see 'craft beer' being readily available from a variety of retailers from supermarkets, convenience stores to drinking at the source (i.e., brewery tap rooms) with plenty of choices being available.

    To my mind the area of Portland, OR is the poster child of where I think 'craft beer' will be in much of America in another decade or two; a commonly available and sought after beverage. To my mind this is a good thing. While I am an appreciator of 'craft beer' (e.g., a long term member of the BA community) it seems to me that 'craft beer' is simply beer - a beverage to be consumed and enjoyed. Perhaps someday in the not too distant future (i.e., in my lifetime) all beer will be referred to as just being "beer" and the terminology of 'craft beer' will no longer be popular?

  11. StoutElk_92

    StoutElk_92 Poo-Bah (2,031) Oct 30, 2015 Massachusetts

    It’s hard to say where craft beer is going, as it could be in any and all directions at this point. High abv, low abv sessions, traditional styles, creative and absurd styles, the great thing about beer is there is room for it all. There are plenty of hazy IPAs, adjunct pastry stouts, fruity sours, etc but there are always the traditional options available as well at least in stores if not from a brewery. Even the old big beer AALs are still available in most stores and bars. We can have it all.

    If I had to pick one of those movements to suggest what I think the beer movement is most like, it is probably the marijuana movement, where people think bigger is better, and always going for excess, higher abv, more hops, more fruit, more whatever. I don’t really think it is a bad thing, but it may be a bit unnecessary as well, but the great thing about beer again is we can have it both ways. Even with the bigger is better mentality trending and seeming to take over, there are still the traditional old imports that are great and hold their quality to stand up to most of what is made in this country, and there are still the BMC beers for the people who want those. Nobody has to take over, and the old will always be there even as the new moves in and tries to take hold. We have the best of both worlds really, the option to choose whatever our hearts desire, that is available at least. It’s a great thing.

    I do see a trend towards locality as well, as long as good breweries keep popping up all over the country and world. Some of these big regional breweries that distribute across country seem to have bitten off too much at certain points, and some are dealing with the consequences of our current market that seems to be rapidly changing. As long as the beer is good it should remain I think. It doesn’t matter where it’s from or what it’s doing there, if it’s good and people like it then I see no reason to get rid of it and deny it, at least from a customer standpoint. If the sales are low then the businesses might draw back.

    I’m still motivated to consider myself a part of the craft beer movement. It’s amazing how this country went from a near monopoly on the beer market to what we have today, worldwide influences creating beer as an art as well as business. I see myself and others pretty satisfied with where beer has gone. Sure we might have 20% abv fruity sour black milkshake pastry IPAs, but there is also that 5% abv Pilsner, and that 4% light lager or AAL, and the west coast IPAs, the English styles, Belgians, German beers, and all other traditional styles of beer still available. I can see myself drinking beer forever simply because of all the variety and different options available. With over 100 beer styles to be enjoyed, I find it hard to be completely bored with beer.

    There is so much great beer out there to be discovered and tasted. I only wish everyone had access to every beer, but of course due to limited resources and distribution laws, capacity of breweries, etc, that is not viable. Prices getting lower on average would be a great thing as well, but as prices of resources go up, that doesn’t seem too viable either until a brewery has made enough profit and slows growth to a point where just about everything made is profit. Then, like the bigger regional breweries, prices could be easily and justifiably lowered. For a smaller and newer business it doesn’t seem too realistic though unfortunately. If in 10-20 years more beers are more widely available, fresh, cheaper, and local breweries are good, and everyone is enjoying good beer, or at least beer that they like, then that would be an ideal future for beer. Only time will tell though, I suppose.
    cavedave, bluejacket74 and ovaltine like this.
  12. Dave_S

    Dave_S Initiate (49) May 18, 2017 England

    I think this happens with everything - for more-or-less anything that people do for fun, some people want it to be constantly surprising, varied and challenging, and then there's a spectrum of neophilia through to people who enjoy it but want it to be basically predictable, consistent and unchallenging.[1] But there tend to be lots more people whose tastes are towards the unchallenging end, so a new, exciting, varied thing will tend start small and then tend to grow at the cost of becoming more and more predictable, until eventually it's everywhere but it's lost most of what people originally found exciting about it.

    Another example - here's someone who's into the London urban music scene talking about the same phenomenon in 2009 in relation to music scenes:

    [1] This isn't a value judgement, btw - I'm sure there are loads of areas where my taste is totally pedestrian.
    bl00, LuskusDelph and cavedave like this.
  13. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,681) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I'm just thinking that one potentially critical difference exists between the movements used as analogies introduced by @cavedave in thinking about the current craft beer scene/environment. Each of the four examples in his throughful OP was something new and/or a rebellion. With the case of flavorful beer we're talking about something that can be seen as a rejuvenation/reawakening of what had once been the case in the past and in fact still was common in some other countries (e.g., the UK, Germany, Poland, Belgium, etc.)

    Some of the early flavorful beer brewers were attempting to recreate something they had found and enjoyed while serving in the military in Europe. Another (Maytag) was focused on preserving/reinvigorating his favorite beer that was about to go extinct (Anchor Steam).

    So perhaps the "revolution" is not critical and might even be misleading in overview, depsite the fact that some 2nd/3rd round of early starters wanted to pose what they were doing that way.

    In any event, I'd say what we've seen the last 10-15 years is a reflection of a major cultural shift in popular tastes and agree with those who think it "ain't goinna go away soon."
    #13 drtth, Jan 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  14. Glider

    Glider Devotee (475) Nov 15, 2004 Massachusetts

    I think coffee is a good comparison. For that reason, I think sweetened, flavored, and fruity-tasting beers will continue to make inroads, as will higher ABV offerings. Just look at what people order at Starbucks.

    I do think we will see more consolidation going forward. There are only so many small breweries that can charge $16 a four pack and still get shelf space.
  15. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,521) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    Contrary to what the mythology says, it never went away here either- it was just a niche product, and you had to make a little bit of effort to get what you wanted.
  16. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (247) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    With each passing year there will be more and more people for whom beer shelves filled with variety will always have existed. I suspect that this will have an effect on the novelty aspect of craft beer with new consumers, perhaps this variety will simply be percieved as clutter by many, rather than something new and exciting. Maybe they wont mind or notice a process of SKU rationalization where the retailers start to focus on a smaller set of brands within the major craft styles (which consumer really needs hundreds of different IPAs?). I could see branding and marketing become alot more important for breweries wanting to remain a contender. And maybe the large breweries will once again come to dominate the major styles with successful marketing backed by millions of dollars. Alot of people have written off the large breweries as having some sort of animosity towards flavor in beer, rather than being attuned to what sells. Once they have figured out how to sell beer with stronger flavors, in volume, for a profit, I suspect that they will be all over it, and good at it.

    There will still be a market for smaller volume, niche styles of beer, but I suspect that it will become smaller with fewer participants as the novelty factor of craft beer wears off with each successive generation of new beer drinkers.
    Ranbot, LuskusDelph and cavedave like this.
  17. Troutbeerbum

    Troutbeerbum Initiate (106) Dec 5, 2016 Maine

    To be honest, I think the term "movement" is over used in many circles. It's beer. No doubt there were many pioneers and innovators that worked hard to get into a market dominated by years of AAL's, and for that I think all of us are grateful. I started drinking "craft" (remember when it was microbrews?) because I wanted beer that tasted the way it was supposed to, and I was tired of drinking rice and corn. I never looked at what I drink as taking part in some sort of statement, I love beer and I now have tons of options. I enjoy talking with people who like beer, both here and in person, but I have other interests as well.
    What I do see, and this applies to my other interests as well, is the marketing of this as a culture or lifestyle. This is what brings in a lot of D bags that tend to ruin shit. Hype, social media, the next big thing crowd etc. Don't like it, Don't know if I like it, but I have to have it types.
    storm72, Ceddd99, Spade and 6 others like this.
  18. PrimustheOne

    PrimustheOne Initiate (72) Nov 23, 2016 New Hampshire

    There are actually quite a few places still out there that only have Sam Adams and SNPA as their only craft option.
  19. Sweatshirt

    Sweatshirt Disciple (324) Jan 27, 2014 New Hampshire

    Craft beer is not and was never a movement. It's a consumable good people have attached undo feelings towards. It stems from the false 'us vs. them' narrative that was sold to consumers and eaten up blindly for years.
  20. stevepat

    stevepat Devotee (413) Mar 12, 2013 California

    Thats exactly what im saying though, everywhere has at least one of those in addition to the AAL and lite AAL standards. Its been a long while since I bought a drink somewhere that only sold standard american big brews
    bluejacket74 and TongoRad like this.
  21. stevepat

    stevepat Devotee (413) Mar 12, 2013 California

    Other than mountain biking all of the 'movements' dave mentioned were also rebirths of a sort. Cannabis has been cultivated for psychoactivity for around 7 thousand years and the hippy and GD movements were about rebirthing either a simple land based community culture (hippies) or a paganesque mass spiritual experience in nature (grateful dead). So there might be more parallels there than it seems.
    I'd be interested to hear from anyone here who was brewing at home before it was relegalized. Not a part of the culture i experienced but they might be able to highlight some more parallels to the marijuana thing
    cavedave and drtth like this.
  22. Troutbeerbum

    Troutbeerbum Initiate (106) Dec 5, 2016 Maine

    Or music. Could just be music.
    stevepat, StoutElk_92 and MNAle like this.
  23. TheGent

    TheGent Meyvn (1,442) Jun 29, 2010 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    I will answer part of your question at the moment and perhaps come back with more thoughts on where this space is going in the future.

    I never considered myself part of a movement or craft beer a movement since I began enjoying it. Perhaps this is due to age differences, the time I joined the space, and the fact that I was never in the vanguard of any other movements. I do find your comparison of the movements and analysis of the “infiltration” of each interesting.

    Reading about the history of the craft beer in the US, in books like Steve Hindy’s Craft Beer Revolution and Tom Acitelli’s The Audacity of Hops, specifically when the industry was in its infancy, evoked for me feelings of a “movement” afoot. But I do not get those feelings today as a participant.
  24. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,056) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    I've been a fan of the Grateful Dead since the late 60's... own a large library of LPs, fewer CD, and a large digital library. I've been to a number of their concerts, but was not part of the Deadhead caravan. I loved their musicianship, their jamming style where they never performed the same song exactly the same way. The long interludes were generally fabulous. I also liked just about everything Jerry Garcia did separate from the Grateful Dead. I also like pointing out the diversity of their catalog to anyone who thinks they were a psychedelic rock band.

    I was in college in the 60's, so I experienced a lot of what @cavedave mentioned about marijuana first hand, but it is exceedingly naive to think that big money was not always behind it.

    I've never considered myself to be any part of a "movement" with the Grateful Dead... I just liked their music. And, marijuana was an experiment for me, left behind when I graduated.

    Craft beer for me is enjoying good beer, with my personal grounding being with the pub experience in England in the 80's. It has never been a movement for me.

    However, I don't like the direction it is going. It is too much chasing the latest "thing" rather than brewing good beer, or even true innovation. Case in point: Minnesota is awash with mediocre NE IPAs that everyone (it seems) is chasing like they were the elixir of the gods.
  25. rgordon

    rgordon Champion (872) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I like this conversation at this time. In 1968 I was 17 years old, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were killed just in our view that year. I was instantly politicized. I was dead fast against our involvement in Viet Nam and was well versed in the colonial history of the region. Ho Chi Minh tried to guide us, but oblique doctrinaire politics won the day(s) and steered us into oblivion. The notion of an ever growing monolithic communism ruled the day. At least 52,000 brave American soldiers perished as a result of this faulty policy. This was long ago, but was formative in my thinking and action forward into time.
    Weed and beer and bikes came later. But music was at the core of our culture at the time.I could go on and on. It was a very powerful time of direct action for one's beliefs.
    Dave's words are prescient in a time of moral quietude.
    Milktoast75 and cavedave like this.
  26. Troutbeerbum

    Troutbeerbum Initiate (106) Dec 5, 2016 Maine

    I have at last count around 180 Grateful Dead albums, studio,live,bootleg etc. Garcia and Weir side projects.Not counting original vinyl Dead, Hunter, Weir albums. I've never done a drug in my life, don't care if anyone does, just not my thing. Don't own tie dyed clothes either. The acid tests seems to have cemented that association with the Grateful Dead, individual band members personal tastes aside.
    Workingman's Dead is the seminal album showcasing multiple influences in my opinion
  27. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,683) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    Where are we going? And, why are we in this handbasket?
    breadwinner, JrGtr, sharpski and 4 others like this.
  28. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,521) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    Hah! And what do you mean "we"? :wink:
  29. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,657) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Great post Dave.

    I haven’t a clue where it goes to be honest and I’m a terrible BA. I’m very one or two dimensional and rarely stray from my comfort zone. Perhaps any forward moves are completely lost on me as time goes on. I’m shy on Belgians, almost nothing on sours, light on funky beers. If I’m still here in 10 years odds are it’s still Pils, dipas, the odd BA Stout. I’m actually quite boring beer wise.
  30. lastmango

    lastmango Zealot (504) Dec 11, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I too do not feel like I am part of a movement. I drifted towards European beers in the 80s because of the taste. When I experienced one of NC's first craft beers at Weeping Radish and later, beer from the Oxford brewery near Baltimore, I was pleasantly surprised and became interested in something other than big US adjunct breweries. Most of my buddies just thought I was a snob. Can't say I was ever a Deadhead although for awhile, I had a number of Garcia ties. I am however, a Parrothead. Of course, we know that Jimmy does not necessarily support craft beer given that his original backer was Corona and now he has Landshark by In Bev.

    I am also concerned that too many craft brewery startups are chasing different styles before they have mastered their original brews. I have had a few local breweries that seem to be doing just that. I wish they would focus on maybe three styles and get it done right before adding 8-10 other styles.
  31. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,681) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    With the Cannabis we don't have to go back that long if focusing on the US. According to more than one source I've come accross it seems that while hemp was grown in colonial America the medicinal/recreational the reports of use of Cannabis started showing up post the Civil war.

    e.g., https://www.history.com/news/marijuana-criminalization-reefer-madness-history-flashback

    So perhaps the parallels that exist don't involve rebellion as much as they involve renewal or rebirth.
  32. rgordon

    rgordon Champion (872) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Yeah, I always wondered what was in those peace pipes. And I know a number of kooks that drove to Indiana along those rail lines harvesting very poor quality hemp rope-like weed. And boy, did it stink bad!
  33. Retroman40

    Retroman40 Devotee (492) Dec 7, 2013 Florida

    I don't know what's the next new thing or where the whole deal is going but I'm glad to be aboard for the ride. A few years back I took a tour at the Wild Turkey Distillery and our guide stated that "today is the best day ever for the bourbon business and tomorrow will be better." Substitute "craft beer" for "bourbon". Unless the industry somehow "blows it" the future is good. There will be the natural ebbs and flows - yes, some outfits (even big ones) will go under - but someone else will step up to meet the demand. After all, beer and brewing, while an art and skill, in the end they are a business at the professional level.

    I've been drinking beer regularly for 43 years (a couple of them not so legally) and today IS the best day ever as far as choice - and tomorrow will be better. That I do think is certain. The beer scene in my part of the world continues to evolve into something better almost monthly.

    The Bud Light drinkers of the world don't know what they're missing. We should have pity on them - not scorn them! In the interest of full disclosure I still like some scorned beers - some of them A LOT!

    It is a good, check that, GREAT, time to be a beer lover!
    ovaltine, JrGtr, ogman and 4 others like this.
  34. nw2571

    nw2571 Initiate (34) Feb 26, 2017 Indiana

    The fact is that all fads come and go. Is craft beer a fad? It certainly isn't for me, but I'm afraid for some it is. I can't explain the meteoric rise recently any other way.

    I think we'll see contraction as many new to the fad gravitate towards other things. Craft spirits seem to be gaining in popularity. Marijuana legalization will certainly have some effect. Even a recession will be bad news for some of the new hyper-local breweries selling $20 4-packs. I don't think the growth is sustainable.

    There will still be a robust market for those true advocates, and there are many of us. But, I just can't see how small towns like mine can support 4 local breweries, plus 2 craft bars forever.
  35. rgordon

    rgordon Champion (872) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    The local beer in many locales scene will continue to be emergent. I have Foothills, Highlands, and Sierra Nevada from Mills River in my fridge. I did not plan on that,,,,
    surfcaster and cavedave like this.
  36. stevepat

    stevepat Devotee (413) Mar 12, 2013 California

    for some it definitely is/was. but if you look at the die hard 'tribe' that continues on today it is as much or more about the whole tribal-nomad-meeting-up-for-massive-quasireligious-get-downs lifestyle. Of course any one of these (or countless others) movements is huge and diverse and can't really be talked about without overly broad generalizations.
    Troutbeerbum likes this.
  37. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,314) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Liver transplants.
  38. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Initiate (161) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Premium Trader

    I hope not! Speaking of craft spirits, a comparison might be to how American craft has spread to Europe, even places that have long and respected traditions. They're not going to overturn all that, and likewise, recently read an article on how the majority of Americans still drink AAL. Will ales ever replace lagers as the "popular" choice? Or at least balance things to 50/50?

    Also wonder if one day there won't be a such thing as craft vs macro, just "bad" vs "good", or small vs large. Besides, some of the larger names being distributed worldwide prove the two aren't mutually exclusive. Still, I wonder where we'll be in another hundred or two hundred years (assuming US lasts so long as an entity).
  39. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,314) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Would love for English brewers to stick to embrassing, expanding and improving their English beer styles. Same for Belgium and Germany and not trying to make American IPAs and such.

    Then we need all laws changed so people can order beers online from any small brewery from anywhere in the world on Amazon Prime and have it fresh delivered to our doorstep in less than a week! How awesome would that be? :-)
  40. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,314) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    I think the difference is that in USof A NEIPAs are still fairly new style and the best ones are loved by so many people that most every other brewer out there is trying to make one on par so to speak. Not sure there is any historical literature on the subject, but what about when English beers (IPAs, Milds, ESBs etc) or German lagers first started being brewed?. I'm sure there was 1-2 brewers who nailed it well, the many others tried to mimic but many were really bad beers and took decades later for enough brewers made beers at a high quality baseline and thus create a great beer culture in their respective country will good beers found everywhere. US craft breweing as a whole, I think has finally transitioned at least out of child stage to adolescence. Obviously there are scattered "adult" brewers out there and places in the US with a mature beer culture (Portland OR, Vermont etc).