Posts Tagged ‘future’

Falling In Love With A Comment

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Back on the 6th my blog, and some other blogs I read were twitted in part because of our responses to the I Am A Craft Brewer vid on Vimeo. This led to an avalanche of comments on all these blogs, and some were more interesting then others. One in particular had an effect on me, and it takes alot for someones words to stir me into a Passion. It was submitted by David Berg of August Schell brewing. Strangely it was meant for the blog of a lady named Maureen who happened to be on the Beer Wars panel (she was the infamous El Guapo who said “see me in ten years”). It couldn’t have fallen in better hands though as he accidentally posted it at Jeff Alworths blog Beervana. Jeff has written a bit on this quandary facing the brewers association (here and here, oh yeah, and he talks about Widmer getting kicked from “craft beer” here) to see Jeff’s post on David’s comment click here.

Without anything further on my part here is what David wrote.

Hey Maureen-

“I was a craft brewer.” That’s the movie I want to make. Because, I was at one time, according to the BA and the video. But alas, I work for August Schell now, and we are not craft brewers (just ask the BA). Never mind the fact that we will celebrate our 150th year in 2010 as the second-oldest family owned brewery in the US. We survived prohibition, a Native American uprising that burned New Ulm to the ground, and the vanishing of regional breweries in the 70’s and 80’s. Forget the fact that we sold a tree on our grounds in the 80’s to pay the bills. Discount that we brewed a German Pilsner and Weizen in 1986.

Because, the fact is, the bulk of our production uses corn as an adjunct. And even if you discount that beer, we would still produce a larger volume of non-adjunct beers than most of the top craft breweries. But hey, what does that matter?

No, I am not a craft brewer, and I’ll happily be that for another 150 years.


David Berg
August Schell Brewing


Cheers David

Future Of Beer?

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Man I didn’t get a single comment on my April Fools Day post yesterday. The compitition is still on, so get your friends to vote.

futureI’ve been pondering a lot on where the craft beer industry may be headed, and it seems I’m not the only one. With the crazy growth that micro brewers have been experiencing since the 80’s slowing, and the big brewers getting in the game people are starting to think ahead. The glory days of easy money for brewers have been approaching an end in the Northwest for awhile now. We’ve had longer then the rest of the country to develop a taste for what good beer is. The problem is some brewers are no longer as concerned about profit, they want growth, and I think the market will respond.

 If Brewers Alliance, and other beer stock is any clue of the future then may be changing. Several years ago all it seemed to take to make a profit in the microbrew industry were some good homebrew recipes, some old dairy equipment converted into brewery equipment, and an endorsement from beer snobs. So what’s changed?

 One of the first things is it’s getting crowded. Not everyone is content with being a brewpub anymore. They want to see their beer in bottles around the state. Already with the number of imports, commercials, plus the in and out of state microbrews the beer isle is crowded. This amazing amount of choice may make it hard for the smaller microbrewers to break outside of their local communities.

 Another impact is that the big brewers caught on have been releasing their own version of craft beers, and often it seems they are keeping pace with microbrews at restaurants and bars. With beers out there like blue moon the big guys have shown that they’re taking the threat craft beer posses to them seriously, and that they want to continue in the industry.

 Lastly some microbrews are growing too large. Just visiting the Deschuttes brewery was enough to bring this home to me. These larger microbrewers like Sierra Nevada, Deschuttes, Widmer, Sam Adams, and others have carved out a nich in the market through hard work. The problem is they have gained brand loyalty from their customers, and that may be bad news for start ups in their communities.

Is this a bleak outlook for beer? Not really. It just means the industry may start settling down for the time being. People are content with a beer being a beer, and this idea of finding a holy grail of beers looks to be loosing interest. Could I be wrong in my prediction? There’s a good possibility I am. Im neither an economics expert, nor am I a brewery owner. These are just things I’ve observed lately in Oregons beer market.