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Old 11-14-2012, 10:00 PM   #1
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Default Jim Koch: Craft beer bubble near "popping point"

What's the count now, 2000 or so. Does anybody agree with him? There's only so much shelf space. I owned a business in the snack food industry and after Frito-Lay, Cape cod, wise etc, there wasn't that much space for me. I had a niche product so it was a little easier, but slotting fees are a real bitch..So many of the same beers trying to get our attention, how the hell are they going stand out.

If your just getting started today, what are the odds??

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Old 11-14-2012, 10:18 PM   #2
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He said there are too many breweries brewing similar beers without adding anything to the market.
I agree with him on this but how much can your really change a defined product. Unless you start making your own style, an IPA is going to be an IPA. Same thing can be said about pizzas, a cheese and pep pizza is going to be universally the same but different places will use different sauce. Different people are going to put a slight twist on their brew, but yeah, they are going to be very very similar. I'd rather have more choices of similar beer than only three or four breweries to choose from per style of beer.

As far as store shelves, most of my "store bought" beer is from an actual Beer Store. Their shelves are not competing with potato chips and frozen pizzas. They are a specialty store and being a niche store they need more product to move more product.

My major source of beer consumption besides homebrew is bars. And the larger the tap selection the more money I'm going to spend. Getting out with friends and trying something on tap I've never seen or heard of before is the highlight of my day. If anything, this is a great opportunity for craft beer, the present momentum is huge and I hope it washes right over BMC.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:21 PM   #3
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http://www.morningsun.net/community/...-with-Jim-Koch
heres the link
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:10 PM   #4
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I agree with him on this but how much can your really change a defined product. Unless you start making your own style, an IPA is going to be an IPA. Same thing can be said about pizzas, a cheese and pep pizza is going to be universally the same but different places will use different sauce. Different people are going to put a slight twist on their brew, but yeah, they are going to be very very similar. I'd rather have more choices of similar beer than only three or four breweries to choose from per style of beer.

As far as store shelves, most of my "store bought" beer is from an actual Beer Store. Their shelves are not competing with potato chips and frozen pizzas. They are a specialty store and being a niche store they need more product to move more product.
I know their not competing with the snack food industry, I was just saying that the competition amongst each other these days must be fierce. I have a really good beer store nearby. It's a large store that have hundreds of brands. Tough business to get into.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:37 PM   #5
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I can understand where he's coming from in regards to craft breweries who are trying to distribute on a state or national level, but maybe local breweries will be able to stay relevant.

To continue the snack food metaphor: if your company is called Johnson County Snacks (after your imaginary county of origin), it isn't going to mean anything to a consumer in San Diego. But your snacks might sell very well in Johnson County, or even in the surrounding area. You might not make millions that way, but it could be a way to remain successful. Just have to define success in a certain way.

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:41 PM   #6
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I absolutely believe this! There is just no way that every brewery can succeed and the competition is fierce and only going to get worse. I have talked to owners of smaller breweries (15bbl) and most say the tap room is where the real money is made. The profit margin is just so slim when you are selling bottles, cans, and kegs. I think we will always have great small, local breweries and a few mid size regional breweries. It is that in between stage where craft brewers are going to struggle to find market share. An example is my local craft beer watering hole. 101 beers on tap...now with all those choices you basically have a 1-2% chance that I will randomly select your beer UNLESS it has gotten rave reviews or is something unusual.

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:44 PM   #7
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Shelf space, and to a lesser extent, truck space is a big concern for packaging breweries, but smaller breweries that make mostly local deliveries to bars (only in self-distribution states) don't care as much about shelf space as a lot of their beer is sold directly to the public at tasting rooms and craft beer bars.

I imagine BMC will continue losing space for a while but will eventually push back hard. Craft beer will gain a larger foothold but will probably reach some sort of equilibrium with the big guys. At that point, when shelf space stops expanding for craft beer, you'll see the growth in little guys selling beer locally. Not nanos, mind you (I expect a lot of those will be tanking in the next few years), but much more regional and local places focusing on neighborhoods rather than counties.

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:50 PM   #8
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And just think of how many breweries their were ( as many as we have now) in the early 1900's, with a 1/3 the consumers.

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:50 PM   #9
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I think we'll see a lot more brewpub style breweries that supply their local towns, similar to the way it is done in Europe. In this respect, your local town will be what supports you and your success will be determined by them and the quality of beer you make.

I also believe that we have way too many people who want to make beer, and not nearly enough bottle shops to sell them! People need to start opening more craft beer stores. Distributors are also a part of the problem, because depending on where you live they can control the market...but that's a whole other conversation...

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Old 11-15-2012, 12:14 AM   #10
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I think we're gonna see a shift from the extreme ends of the style to more quaffable sessionable beers as well.

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