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Things craft beer fans think but never say

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  • Things craft beer fans think but never say

    Did anyone else see this article? It makes some great points and really does address some of the things that are most concerning about our burgeoning industry.
    Grind Modern Burger
    PostModern Brewers
    Boise, ID

  • #2
    Gotta say, I agree with most of the points in this article.
    Kevin Shertz
    Chester River Brewing Company
    Chestertown, MD


    • #3
      Great article. Alot of interesting points...
      Hutch Kugeman
      Head Brewer
      Brooklyn Brewery at the Culinary Institute of America
      Hyde Park, NY


      • #4
        I think the (nearly) 100% dominance of craft brewing by white men is a serious problem for the growth and success of craft beer. I don't think sustainable growth is possible without broadening the appeal. Some breweries seem to be doing a good job, with stuff like beer classes for women. Others do some seriously groan-inducing pandering.

        Here is some info I pulled from Mediamark:

        Consumes any alcohol
        Men +9% (more likely)
        Women -8% (less likely)

        Any wine
        Men -16%
        Women +15%

        Any whiskey
        M +41%
        W -38%

        Any brandy/cognac/cordials/liqueurs
        M 0%
        W 0%

        Booze soda / wine coolers
        M -20%
        W +18%

        any beer
        M +31%
        W -29%

        dinner/table wine
        M -17%
        W +16%

        any distilled liquor
        M +3%
        W -3%

        So beer is already in a bad position, while all the other kinds of alcohol are pretty evenly divided. Things get a lot worse when you dig into "craft beer." The only companies large enough to make the Mediamark reports are Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada, but I think it's reasonable to use those as a rough proxy for "craft beer."

        Sierra Nevada stats:
        M +62%
        W -58%
        Post-grad +60%
        College +102%
        High school -68%
        Management/business/finance occupation +146%

        Household Income brackets:
        $150k+ +85%
        $75-149k +74%
        $60-74k +5%
        $50-59k -50%
        40-49 -47%
        30-39 -46%
        20-29 -62%
        <20k -86%

        White +21%
        Black -95%
        American Indian -100%
        Asian +49%
        Other -71%

        Spanish spoken in home -2%

        Sam Adams looks pretty much the same, though their ethnic demo is different
        White +19%
        Black -66%
        American Indian -47%
        Asian -18%
        Other -59%

        Spanish spoken in home -46%

        Craft beer is overwhelmingly made by and for rich white men. SN seems to do a fairly good job appealing to certain minorities. But if the bulk of your customers are white, college educated men who make over $75k a year, good luck sustaining growth.

        If anyone is interested, I can email you the full excel sheets. Just shoot me a PM with your email address.

        Edit: Here's a couple more fun stats about SN
        Cigar Aficionado +340%
        The New Yorker +335%
        Yoga Journal +335% +306%
        Sunset Magazine +279%
        Bicycling Magazine +238%
        Wall Street Journal +196%
        Mother Earth News +178%
        Last edited by nateo; 04-20-2013, 02:36 PM.


        • #5
          A great article...hard to disagree with any of the points made. It's clear that the BA is taking itself too seriously with their definition of
          "craft" (which is so flawed to begin with).
          Good beer is good beer. And there's equal amounts of good & bad coming from both sides of the industry.
          Last edited by LuskusDelph; 04-21-2013, 06:56 AM.


          • #6
            This makes some great points, especially about the beer culture in america from the "White whales" to the disregard to classic styles that has developed. Having spent 5 Years in europe and drank many great and Iconic beer, somrtimes in the brewery it's self, I have a distinct respect for these classics. They are the reason I got into brewing when I came back to the states, to try to recapture that expirience. Don't get me wrong I love some of the Hop bombs out there, and I brew my own version of a India Dark Ale (Cascadian Ale) and some of my brews have twists on the original style. But to naysay the classics or ignore them altogether is to discount a palete of styles and flavors that most americans have never even tried. We as a beer brewer culture have set our sights on the bigger, better, more extreme of everything with beer before really exposing the public to just good classic beer styles.
            Busted knuckles Brewing Co.


            • #7
              Great points. Can't disagree with any of them.

              Liam McKenna


              • #8
                When does the comradery end? The article voices concerns over general industry norms that are going to proceed to happen in the craft beer industry. And since the barrier to entry is lowered by helpfulness of others within the industry, and microbreweries smother the general populace, the tough times are acoming!

                We must remember that Good Beer is Good Beer! And that gimmicks and poor companies have to fall by the wayside eventually; although customers are the ones primarily deciding who stays open. We sure do love our customers, but maybe not necessarily because of great decision making abilities. So truck on with ingenuity of small business and keep improving the product ya'll!


                • #9
                  Totally agree with the article and I've been talking along these lines for a few year now. We are in the second craft beer bubble and this one is much larger than the first. Nobody knows exactly when it will end but at some point in the not too distant future, new supply will far outstrip growth and the industry will under go severe turmoil.

                  The newer and the lower quality participants stand the most risk as well as those located in cities with tons of craft brewers. There is plenty of bad beer being brewed in the US at this point (and of course a ton of good beer) and at some point soon it will get shaken out. For now distributors seem to take on just about any new beer that comes to them, when the bubble bursts they will quickly close the doors of their trucks to many.

                  I have the luxury of being the first craft brewer in my country and the second brewery in the country with the SAB Miller brewery being over 100 years, old but I am very aware that I must produce quality drinkable beer and listen to my market to make it. I fully expect other entrants into the market in the next few years. I am in a market that is similar to the US market in the early 80s. 98% of the population doesn't even know anything outside of a light lager exists and they think light beer is what it's all about. I've been in business for a year and still havent brewed an IPA as my market is simply not ready for it yet.

                  I think we are brewing very good beers but they are not extreme, they are balanced and drinkable and they are taking our population slowly by the hand away from light lager. Many Americans who are fans of craft beer have tried my beer and the reviews are all positive (not trying to be arrogant). So far we've brewer two spiced ales (a pumpkin and a ginger ale which at 6.4% ABV is the strongest beer we've brewed so far). I've had craft beer drinkers tell me the pumpkin is the best they've had or in their top 3 favorites and it's not because it is over the top it is because the spice is a compliment to the beer. Our spiced ales are drinkable, the spice in them is recognizable but not overwhelming. At our brewery we are focused on brewing good drinkable beer not at being extreme and so far it is working very well.

                  Having said that, in the next two weeks we are going to brew our first IPA on our 3HL pilot plant. There definitely is a small group here more than ready for it.


                  • #10
                    In the uk there are more women involved in brewing I think. Still not a huge percentage but a reasonable representation. Brewing was traditionally a female job so it's good to see women claiming a place in it.
                    Affordable Brewery Management Software specifically for MicroBreweries
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                    • #11
                      Good read

                      Good article and very true. Our efforts will be a woman owned and led business to bring diversity to our small rural area.


                      • #12

                        Source of the attached Chart - BA 1990-2014

                        The denominator in production market share has been relatively constant for over 25 years, around 200M barrels. BA's so called Craft share only grows by their continuously changing numerator definition and product substitution.
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by mkunce; 11-10-2015, 04:39 PM.


                        • #13
                          There goes the BA's numerator



                          • #14
                            Beer Production in the US Remains Flat for 2015 around 200Mbbls

                            As it has for the last 3 decades. The BAs contrived 2015 market share is 24.5 Mbbls / 200.8 Mbbls = 12.2%.

                            Last edited by mkunce; 03-24-2016, 01:36 PM.


                            • #15
                              Raw Material Trends

                              TTB Raw Material Usage by all reporting Breweries

                              Millions Pounds, % Adjunct, # of Breweries

                              2012 Malt/Barley/Wheat 4,279, Corn/Rice/Syrups 2,582, 38%, 2456

                              2006 Malt/Barley/Wheat 4,451, Corn/Rice/Syrups 2,524, 36%, 1460

                              1996 Malt/Barley/Wheat 4,863, Corn/Rice/Syrups 2,447, 33%, 1149

                              1986 Malt/Barley/Wheat 4,862, Corn/Rice/Syrups 2,225, 31%, 124

                              Source: TTB Report Of Brewery Operations. Material Usage reporting ended in 2014.

                              Adjunct use is on the rise in the US. This chart hides the fact that Macro’s are using more adjunct than ever, the brewery number growth subtly tells this story. New brewery additions typically use Malt, not Corn/Rice/Syrups.
                              Last edited by mkunce; 04-11-2016, 04:51 PM.