Bump Williams is like the Warren Buffett of beer, and he recently took to the stage at a conference in Portland to wax wise on how Maine brewers can maintain market dominance in an increasingly competitive environment.
According to a recent survey by the Maine Brewers’ Guild, 43 percent of brewers reported that in spite of the pandemic, business was better than expected in 2021, and 87 percent reported optimism about their future.
A total of 143 craft breweries were operating in Maine in 2021, according to the Press Herald who covered beer industry analyst Bump William’s presentation at the New England Craft Brew Summit in Portland last week. “The state ranked No. 2 in the number of breweries per capita, and Maine’s beer production – totaling 364,000 barrels in 2021 – ranked No. 3 per capita.”
Overall Williams was positive about the health of Maine’s craft beer scene.“You own the backyard,” he told attendees at the Summit, noting that Maine brewers had adapted quickly to craft beer’s increasingly fragmented environment and proved agile in keeping up with “rapidly changing consumer preferences.”
Williams pointed to the profits generated by the state’s outstanding network of brewpubs and tasting rooms, emphasizing that Maine brewers had done a masterful job of getting people to stop by to taste the latest offerings. “We don’t really see that anywhere else.”
After congratulating Maine brewers for their ability to navigate a post-pandemic economic landscape Williams went on to make a number of suggestions as to ways breweries could extend that dominance.
He said that Hazy IPA trend will continue to grow and that breweries need to pay attention to that. “Brewers don’t like them, but people will wait in line for them,” Williams added.
He told the audience of more than 500 professionals to expect further turbulence at retail and suggested that brewers should consider larger single-serve 19.2 cans as an alternative to the traditional 6-pack, which are better positioned to secure shelf space especially at convenience stores.
The New England Craft Brew Summit featured more than 20 in-depth workshops surrounding this year’s theme of “Focusing on What You Can Control,” exploring technical and business topics to engage brewers in thinking about where their businesses will be in five, ten, and twenty years.
(All image credits: New England Craft Beer Summit)