Saturday, November 23, 2013

Craft Beer's continuing growth

Boom! CraftBeer!

It is a good time to be a Craft Beer fan!

Like Premium cigars in the early ‘90s, Craft Beer is still exploding here in the U.S. And is quite literally a billion-dollar business.

According the the industry annalists at the Brewers Association, American Craft Brewers sold an estimated $10.2 billion worth of beer in 2012! That's up 10.2 percent from 2011.

In 2012 we saw 409 new craft breweries open and only 43 closings. What other industry is seeing growth and sustainability like that?

Bottle cooler at Triton Brewing
Functional and diverse business models along with a passionate customer base are helping to keep this trend moving forward.

Many, if not most breweries have tap rooms where you can sample the freshest examples of their craft. Many of those tap rooms even have small bottle coolers like the one at Triton Brewing in Indianapolis Indiana.

I should point out that Craft Beer is a niche in an otherwise bland and pale market. Overall beer sales were only up by a scant 0.9 percent in 2012, while the import beer market was up a full 1 percent. This tells me that people are looking for a better beer!

This market explosion has been cause for plenty of celebration and optimism in the beer community, and people are still betting their lives on the industry.

Take our friend Rob Fullmer for example. He recently quit a decent job in the normal business world to take over as the Executive Director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. He will be helping to shape and grow the future of Craft Beer in his state, which of course flows out into neighboring states and thanks to beer trades, across the nation.

Interesting fact about Rob: He is the reason BigKahunaBrew was created. He was our first follower on Twitter (Twice) and he is the man that introduced me to LaFolie, perhaps my favorite beer of all time.

LaFolie, as if you didn’t know, is part of the New Belgium Lips of Faith line of beers. This line is a specialty lineup put out by the Fort Collins Brewery consisting of wood aged, off the wall or specialty brews. They are a little hard to come by, but normally well worth the work once they are in your glass.

My newest acquisition from this line is the Coconut Curry Hefeweizen. We will be sharing this brew with you sometime after the first of December.

The Lips series currently consists of 11 brews, and is constantly expanding and contracting, so it takes some attention to keep up with what is going on.

Add to that, all of the collaboration brews that New Belgium is working on, the brewery expansion projects and you’ve got one brewery that is really moving and shaking!

My only complaint is that with so much new beer hitting the market, limited editions, special runs, collaborations and Pro-Am type beers, there is simply no way to keep up.

There was a time, just three or four years ago, when I could tell you the brewery location, head brewer’s name, hop variety and other tid-bits about my 10 favorite beers. Now, in today’s market, I can’t even pick 10 favorite beers.

Hell, I’m lucky if I can pick 10 favorite categories of beer. I tend to lean toward the strange, the over-the-top or the innovative. But I’m still a sucker for the classics. I’ll take a well brewed mild any day. IPA? YOU BET! You’ve got a stout? I’ve got a glass!

The new beers on the market are providing a great opportunity for those with the notion and the budget to keep seeking out what is new and delicious.

I do want to encourage everyone to remember to be gentile and keep trying to convert BMC drinkers. If we want to continue the success of our Craft Beer industry, we must keep promoting what we love to those who are still stuck in the shadows of the watery, fizzy, yellow beer.

I hope you are planning on a great weekend, and if it fits in your plans, reach out to the local beer scene and try something new!

Have a great weekend peeps!

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The adventure never stops

The adventure never stops
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