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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Jim Koch: Craft beer bubble near "popping point"
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:41 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by smw356 View Post
I think the wine industry comparison may be a fallacy, seeing as how small wineries can directly ship to their consumers, while I don't believe breweries can.

So basically the distributers and their lobby still have a stranglehold here and this really needs to change.
That is a good point. But it could also reinforce the whole "drink local beer" thing. I know my brothers winery does a ton of shipping to wine club members. It's a big part of their business. It would seem like the Brewers Association would be actively pursuing this. Here in CA The Bruery has a special club....http://www.thebruery.com/reservesociety/ They will even ship within CA! I could see a small, specialty brewery doing pretty well like this.
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:29 PM   #52
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Also, I believe someone mentioned the mid-west, I am in the Canton, Akron Ohio area and brew pubs are all but non existent, Thirsty Dog and two others are in Akron, but no brewpubs, The problem I see with the brewers that are in the area is they are marketing heavy, hoppy beers to a largely BMC crowd. I know from time in Europe that great full flavored beer can be easy drinking too. Yuengling has came in and made quasi-craft beer drinkers out of a lot of long time bmc'ers. I really believe that "beer geeks" do themselves a disservice by only embracing "extreme beers" while balking at or simply not talking about quality beers that are traditional or "low gravity" or heaven forbid appeal to the masses.
While I enjoy a Imperial IPA as much as the next homebrewer, on a Friday night playing poker at my house I really just want a beer I can drink all night and have a good time and I think that is the niche that is left largely unmet by the craft brewers. How many American Brewed Milds or Bitters Or Light Lagers are on tap at your local beer bar, cause mine has 50 taps and maybe 2 are on tap along with 35 Apa or Ipa. I guess what I am getting at can be summed up like this. Craft beer culture grew out of a want for choice other than American lager and skunked European imports and now the market has become flooded with variations of the same basic IPA APA and I love them, but choice becomes diluted when I go to the bar and 75% or 90% their tap space are various IPA's APA's.

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Old 11-15-2012, 09:50 PM   #53
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If people don't think the American (and specifically American, we haven't hit that level of saturation in the majority of Canada although Quebec is getting there) craft-brewing bubble is going to burst eventually they're out to lunch. It may not be as soon as Jimmy thinks it's going to happen, but it will happen eventually. I mean honestly, look at how many nanobreweries are popping up every week, and how many are being quietly buried just as rapidly. Not to take shots at those advertising their nanos in their sigs on this forum/in this thread, but I refuse to believe that the majority of these nanos are going to be around in a decade (sorry). The same can be said for a lot of new breweries popping up who are little more than johnny-come-latelies, trying to cash in on what other breweries have already done without forging their own identity or adding new innovation to the industry.

For all the pessimism I just spouted off I don't think things are that bleak though. I suspect the craft beer market share will continue to grow, and I have a feeling there will always be a solid market for fresh, locally brewed beer. Maybe not to the level the eleventy billion brewers in Washington state are currently banking on, but I'm sure it'll be there. Also, I suspect consolidation in the industry to start to ramp up in the near future. It always puzzles me that no one ever talks about it, as I don't think the craft beer world is immune to it.

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Old 11-15-2012, 10:43 PM   #54
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I've enjoyed craft beers for for years and I'm thrilled at the recent interest. I love the variety and quality of beer available. However, I worry that the craft beer phenomenon is a bit of a bubble in itself. It's starting to feel a bit trendy.

Everyone I know is suddenly on-board the craft beer train. Everyone is drinking, talking about, and brewing IPAs. I play poker a few times a month. We spend a good chunk of the evening swapping beers and doing taste tests. I can walk into any supermarket, drugstore, or convenience store and find a fully stocked craft beer section with hundreds of varieties. Heck, I can get a Growler filled at my local gas station. Half the people in my department are now brewing beer. I can even buy a brew kit at my local Rite Aid.

It's starting to feel like 1999 when everyone was obsessed with the stock market. Little old ladies in a supermarket check-out line could quote the Dow and everyone you talked to was going to quit their job to become a day-trader.

I hope I'm wrong, but if the interest in craft brews wanes it may take out a lot of breweries who have recently expanded. Hopefully not the ones I really enjoy. (I'm looking at you Stone, Rogue, and Great Lakes. )

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Old 11-15-2012, 11:16 PM   #55
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I didn't go to the GABF this year, but I wonder if we see a shift in vendor attendance next year? Will their be more, less or the same as this year?

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Old 11-16-2012, 08:34 PM   #56
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Beer tourism is hot right now. I think little craft breweries opening in places that people like to visit are going to remain successful. Here in little Astoria, OR a craft beer scene is starting to develop thanks to Fort George Brewery and Astoria Brewing Company. There is also Seaside Brewing Company just getting off the ground a few miles away by the beach. This is a destination and the local cities are starting to do a better job of promoting beer-cations. Lots of people from Portland come here. I think the beer tourism idea will help continue to grow the craft breweries.

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Old 11-16-2012, 08:52 PM   #57
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I agree to point.

Those seeking large scale distributorship on a regional or even national scale are going to either stop at the apex or push beyond it at some point. This is just the way any market works especially when seeing a surge as we have in the last 10-15yrs. Those looking to maintain a more local distributorship or brewpub style distribution will weather the storm far better and will most likely be looking at future progress in smaller increments.

I have been involved with several startups (variety of industries) and have seen a large number of them see a moderate success then spend or plan as though they were in the big time...they all failed because of this. Always plan and spend like it could plateau at any point but still gradually reach for the brass ring and success becomes nothing more than a game of patience.

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Old 11-16-2012, 09:37 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Paulgs3 View Post
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.
I'm only singling you out to make a point I was going to make anyway, so I'm not trying to make a dig at you. However, I am baffled as to how easily you can write off an IPA as just an IPA (and don't even get me started on your pizza remark). Yes, there are a truckload of IPAs out there, but just how many craft brewers actually make a Damn Decent one? We as homebrewers know better than anyone that an IPA (or best bitter, or russian imperial stout etc..) can either be fantastic or terrible. And honestly there are far less good ones than bad ones. While it would be fun to pretend like this is truly a free market and only the best representations of the styles will prevail, the realist in me knows that the deciding factor as to which craft brewers' survive and thrive will be through politicking and aggressive business practices, and not so much who really make the best beers.

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Now you're left with two groups, your BMC crowd, and your craft crowd. Craft may slowly steal more market from BMC, but at a fraction of the rate they are today.
I disagree, and I will attempt to explain. I believe an intermediate tier between "true" small scale craft beer and BMC needs to be acknowledged. I propose a tier for the likes of Sam Adams, who produce somewhere between what I think of as craft beer, and BMC at the macro level. I appreciate what SA has done for craft beer, but at the same time it's important to stay realistic.

I don't believe there will be a craft bubble "burst." I think that there will continue to be a virtual "land grab" for the craft beer market share and that through through business practices there will be a new mini-macro division of brews (think Sam Adams, Shock Top, SN, Widmer etc..) that will do unto "real" craft brews as BMC has done unto.. well, everyone.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:47 PM   #59
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I realize this is not a healthy way to form judgments of people, but I'm unimpressed with Jim Koch and what I view as his self worshiping advertising penchant.

It mostly started with Beer Wars though, and his refusal to help his former business partner get her feet under her. I'm skeptical of her product (and why it is that if beer with Caffeine is legal why hasn't a large company like redbull or monster already merged with BMC to meet this market, I'm sure it would be substantial), and in the movie they never covered whether she was the brewer or not, but the excuse he gave her "It would be helping a competitor and that would be unethical", was very very weaksauce IMHO.

I think he's getting so big that he'd actually benefit from a collapse of the micro-bubble, and saying stuff like he's said in this interview is somewhat self serving.

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Old 11-16-2012, 10:21 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaysurfer
(and why it is that if beer with Caffeine is legal why hasn't a large company like redbull or monster already merged with BMC to meet this market, I'm sure it would be substantial)
Look what happened to Four Loko, Joose and the like. (not beer, I realize, but still an alcoholic beverage) The FDA shot the products down claiming the mixture of a stimulant and a depressant was a health risk. They're still on the shelves today, but now all of the caffeine, guarana etc have been removed from the recipe. The same thing happened to Moonshot as well if I'm not mistaken.
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