Stone, it must be said, is one of the few beer-making outfits that has successfully made the transition from local to national. Seventeen years after it was founded, it's now the 10th-largest craft brewery in the country. But even Koch is feeling the squeeze from all the new, local breweries popping up across the country.Of course, it is particularly good because he quotes me. Though when he quotes me as saying "We're starting to see some closings. As a cold-hearted economist, that's a good thing — it increases the pressure to be exceptional," either he or I made a mistake. I meant to say that I expect we will start to see some closings not that we already have. I thought this is what I did say but I am probably wrong about that, anyway the point is the same. I do expect some bloodletting even as the overall market grows.
"I just got back from a short trip to Minnesota," he recalls. "A couple of the beer bars that have our beer on tap pretty regularly, just happened to not have our beer on tap. Why? Because their taps were filled with the new guys. It's not that they don't like Stone. It's not that they aren't going to be putting Stone back on tap. But when you have just so many physical tap handles — and now you have this rush of new stuff and everybody is in a shiny-new-object mode — it creates competition. You can't sell beer if it's not available."
The flooded market has bred a generation of beer fans with no allegiance to a particular brand but an unquenchable thirst for the latest and greatest. As a result, many beer bars regularly rotate kegs, meaning that breweries need to constantly innovate to maintain sales. "We usually won't keep the same beer around for a long time," says Joey Pepper, the lead bartender at Brooklyn's Torst. "We'll do one initial purchase of it and then maybe come back to it later."
Saturday, December 14, 2013
A Craft Beer Bubble?
A really nice piece by Noah Davis in Business insider magazine. Here is a great little taste: