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Old 11-15-2012, 04:56 AM   #21
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Actually I think if anyone is going to survive it is going to be the nano's. Most of them are run as some sort of side business and they cater to an extremely local customer base. Most of them don't even have any employees besides the owners. The vast majority of them will never get "big" but for a lot people that is okay. Think of a brewery as a restaurant. Most restaurants are small "mom and pop" places.....I see that being the destiny of many, many breweries. Not necessarily a bad thing IMO.
It's a good point, but I think a lot of the nanos that are open today were financed with the intention of "Getting big" very quickly. Barrier to entry is low, but most of the places I've been to were not well thought out and will lose money for quite a while before they can even sell beer. After that it's a bit of a crap shoot. As the fella says: "Want to know how to make a small fortune in the X business? Start with a large one."

You are right though- small local breweries are where things are headed.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:15 AM   #22
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The only reason this is a problem (or possible problem) is because of the homogenization of grocery/liquor stores. The big national or major regional chains want to sell the same product lines at every location---maybe with a token amount of shelf space set aside for localish options. That only allows room for a limited number of breweries.

Along the lines of the nanobreweries being the survivors argument, if there were more local variations in grocers and product lines, this wouldn't be an issue. This is, I suspect, why England and Europe can support proportionally more breweries---it's not expected that every one of them is going to be sold in every grocery store throughout the country.

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Old 11-15-2012, 12:09 PM   #23
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95% of businesses fail within 5 years. A vast majority of those breweries have come about in the last 3-5 years. there are a lot of breweries that will go under.

Despite bad business practices, have you tasted the swchill that some of these "brewers" are making?

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Old 11-15-2012, 02:46 PM   #24
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It is my belief that we will see a trend to the smaller artisan nano-breweries/brew pubs. The established production breweries will remain, and continue to break into additional markets. The major markets are pretty saturated. Take Denver for example, small breweries are finding success with limited distribution (made easier because CO allows self distribution) so a nano like Wits End becomes the neighborhood brewery, a small craft place like Denver Beer Co has that ability to brew different beers all the time, Strange Brewing can run limited productions and still be successful. IF I were to open a brewery, this is the route I would initially pursue. So in a sense Jim Koch is correct in regards to production brewing.

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Old 11-15-2012, 03:02 PM   #25
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I agree with a lot of the thought here in this thread. The megabreweries will remain due to their huge financial edge.

The small breweries will continue to open (and close), but will largely have to rely on local business to survive. The truly exceptional ones will have a chance to grow and become regional/national brands.

This is not a bad thing. Historically, beer has always been a local/regional product... this is the number one driving force behind the varying styles in existence today. This will continue, going forward; I think that craft beer will grow into a reflection of older times, with much more variety locally - but no guarantee of finding those local brews in the other side of the country. Viva diversity!

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Old 11-15-2012, 04:40 PM   #26
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This is where I think the brewing industry can take a cue from the wine industry. There are over 7000 licensed wineries in the US right now. Most are very small local wineries that are more a labor of love than a money making operation. Most were were started as a hobby business rather than a career change. My brother owns a high end winery and he is one of the few that actually started from the ground up...most made their money somewhere else. They then decided to open a winery. I could see a lot of people doing this with small nanobreweries. The advantage of a situation like this is that the brewery doesn't necessarily become a job but something you choose to do.

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Old 11-15-2012, 04:45 PM   #27
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I'm wondering what his reasoning is. There is still a lot of beer being consumed besides craft. The question is, how many of those drinkers will convert to craft from Macro?

I agree that shelf space may start to get precious for craft. But I think that there are lots of smaller towns that could use a small brewery. If the owners are smart about the financing and they brew a decent beer and serve good food, they can maintain a small business.

I'm not sure I understand Jim's statement that they don't produce an IPA because there are already lots of good IPAs being sold. So what? They make a lot of beer that doesn't taste good already. I'm fairly certain that if they made an IPA as good as he claims they can, a lot of the public would buy it just because it's readily available. Then again he says he doesn't enjoy drinking an IPA, so... Is the reason they don't make one because he doesn't like them? Sounds like he's is poo-pooing a fairly significant portion of the craft beer market...

And then he says they are considering a "India Pale Lager"? WTH?? So they think they can sell an IPL just because nobody is doing it? or because they purport themselves to be geniuses at lagers?

By the time they get all of those hops in there nobody is going to notice if it's an Ale or Lager. I think he doesn't understand IPAs at all.

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Old 11-15-2012, 05:10 PM   #28
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I think there will always be room for a passionate brewery that can find a location that isn't saturated. In South Jersey there's only Flying Fish in the area and Iron Hill Brewpub. Flying Fish expanded and sells really well in my small store and Iron Hill is regularly packed and is opening a second location in the area. These are good signs, and I would wager to say that there's room for a few more locals to get to Flying Fish size if they are smart on the business side and care about their product. People around here want local beer, there isn't enough.

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Old 11-15-2012, 05:26 PM   #29
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And then he says they are considering a "India Pale Lager"? WTH?? So they think they can sell an IPL just because nobody is doing it? or because they purport themselves to be geniuses at lagers?

By the time they get all of those hops in there nobody is going to notice if it's an Ale or Lager. I think he doesn't understand IPAs at all.
Jack's Abbey makes the most amazing IPL...they are like a stone's throw from Sam Adams. SA could never compete with any of Jack's Abbey's lagers, period. I bet they don't do it.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:58 PM   #30
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I think there will always be room for a passionate brewery that can find a location that isn't saturated. In South Jersey there's only Flying Fish in the area and Iron Hill Brewpub. Flying Fish expanded and sells really well in my small store and Iron Hill is regularly packed and is opening a second location in the area. These are good signs, and I would wager to say that there's room for a few more locals to get to Flying Fish size if they are smart on the business side and care about their product. People around here want local beer, there isn't enough.
Well you get all the good SE PA brews as well.
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