Craft Beer Biz Questions Worth Asking

Hard questions worth asking…

We’re not trying to bum you out…We’re just trying to keep things real. But the craft beer biz is becoming more difficult for breweries to navigate.

And there are some hard questions that need to be asked…

Is the Brut IPA Already Over?

The short answer is yes…But its arrival and even faster exit speaks to an industry desperate to keep its ADHD consumers interested and involved…

Maybe because the Brut ‘style’ was more a reaction to the whole hazy IPA thing than something with more clearly defined parameters, it was destined to fall by the wayside. But still…

Remember when everyone was brewing session IPAs. When was the last time someone released a Black IPA?

Do Low Calorie, Low Carb craft beers have a future?

At a time when the world’s biggest light beer brands continue to shed market share more craft brewers than ever before are producing low calorie low carb options. And we question their staying power.

Are consumers going to continue to spend the kind of money they are willing to pay for Pliny the Elder on a craft variation of Michelob Ultra?

Unless they’re truly full-flavored and priced closer to mass-market brands than to big IPAs, we can’t help but be skeptical…

Are Sports Craft Beers Going to Survive?

Maybe with consumers who are athletes first, and beer lovers second or third…Not the other way around.

In February Sierra Nevada signaled that it was onboard with the concept with the 100% acquisition of Sufferfest Beer, a leader in the sport beer sector.

But it remains to be seen if a premium priced sports craft beer brand has legs for the long run.

Are Flagship Beers in trouble?

Ask AB InBev who’ve already begun discounting some of it’s of ‘crafty” core beer brands.

According to Behind the Beer, “Devils Backbone and 10 Barrel, have effectively cut prices by at least $1.25 per case.

“Collectively, the company’s acquired craft brands average prices dropped 2.5% to $37.91 per case, according to IRI multi-outlet and convenience data through May 19” as cited by Beer Marketer’s Insights (subscription required).

Efforts like Flagship February speak to the  to the difficulty craft breweries are having keeping their once successful core brands in play in a brave new world of a craft beer consumers increasingly infatuated with the newest limited releases.

Will Craft Brewery Closings Accelerate in 2019?

Unfortunately they already have according to Bart Watson the chief Economist for the Brewers Association…

But with craft beer’s momentum slowing, and more breweries online than ever before, we can’t help but worry that brewery closings could accelerate significantly in 2020 and beyond.

Back in 2014 Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione created a stir when he told Bon Appétit that “We’re heading into an incredibly competitive era of craft brewing…There’s a bloodbath coming.”

There were just over 3000 craft breweries operating when Calagione famously made that comment…There are closer to 7,500 breweries online now.

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