Some industry observers worry that the craft beer market might be getting saturated. Brad Tuttle of Time magazine cites two states where that could be happening. One is Vermont, which despite its small population, ranks 15th in overall craft-beer production and has the most craft breweries per capita in the U.S. However, the state’s beer production fell 2.5 percent from 2011 to 2012. The other is Indiana, where the number of craft breweries has tripled in just four years, and new brewers complain about the difficulty of getting their beers on tap at restaurants and bars.
On the other hand, Bart Watson, a staff economist for the Brewers Association, contends that there’s still plenty of room for growth. He points to Oregon, a mature craft beer market, where production still grew by 11 percent last year.
The New Yorker magazine took the newly-released 2012 data gathered by the Brewers Association, and made an interactive map out of it. The map allows the user sort states by number of breweries, annual production, year-on-year production growth, and breweries per 500,000 people; and to locate the 50 largest breweries, fastest-growing breweries, and breweries that opened in 2012.
This week the Brewers Association released the list of America’s 50 largest craft breweries. Heading the list is the Boston Beer Company, followed by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company; the New Belgium Brewing Company; The Gambrinus Company (best known for Shiner, but also brews BridgePort and Trumer); and Deschutes Brewery.
The BA points out that of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 39 are small and independent operations. It also notes that craft beer’s market share is over six percent, and that both volume and dollar sales are at an all-time high.
On this day in 1939, Jim Bouton was born. Bouton, who pitched for the New York Yankees and several other clubs, is best known for Ball Four, a tell-all account of a major leaguer’s life. The book, which infuriated the baseball establishment when it was published, has become a classic.
And now…Play Ball!
We begin in Cleveland, where the Indians are trying to attract fans by rolling back the price of beer for the upcoming season. A 12-ounce domestic brew will cost $4. Want a hot dog with your beer? It’ll cost you $3.
Celebrity chef Rick Bayless plans to create a new, Latin-themed beer. He’s working with Crown Imports, the company that distributes Corona and Negra Modelo in the United States.
It’s never too early to plan your beer travel, and Robin Fuchs, the founder of Beer Tours USA, has some suggestions: the five best small-brewery tours.
The 2013 Major League Soccer season is underway, and Portland Timbers fans can cheer their team on with Green & Gold Kolsch brewed by Widmer Brothers.
The Brewers Association has added Adambier and Grätzer to its Style Guidelines. The two newcomers bring the BA’s list of recognized beer styles to 142.
Where is John Hall, the former brewmaster at Goose Island Brewing Company, these days? He owns the Virtue Cider Company in Fennville, Michigan.
Finally, if you’re really lazy, and have $1,150 to blow, GrinOn Industries has something for you: an armchair that refills your beer from the bottom up. You’ll still have to arrange your own trips to the bathroom.
Winter is here! The southern solstice occurred at 11:12 am Greenwich Mean Time. Both ancient and modern cultures have marked the first day of winter, and the lengthening days that follow it, with rituals and celebrations–and the liberal consumption of beer.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Nashville, where country singer Thomas Rhett has stirred up a hornets’ nest with his new single, “Beer With Jesus.” It stands at number 21 on the country charts.
The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal will hear a complaint against Earls Restaurants, which serve Albino Rhino beer. Earls says the name is derived from an animal, not people suffering from albinism.
Why did St. Sixtus monastery allow Westvleteren 12 to be sold in the United States? The monastery needed a new roof, and the monks knew American beer geeks would pay big bucks for their ale.
One of the beer world’s trends of 2012 is nanobreweries. These pint-sized breweries (pun intended) require less than $100,000 to start, and their product serves as “a liquid business card.”
From the Odd Couple Department: in La Crosse, Wisconsin, City Brewery is turning biogas into electric power, then sending some of it to Gundersen Lutheran Health System, which is aiming to achieve energy independence.
Ever have problems transporting multiple growlers? Now there’s a solution: Growler on Board, which not only holds three growlers, but also keeps them from bumping into one another.
Finally, the Brewers Association’s definition of “craft brewery” didn’t sit well with the August Schell Brewing Company. The 152-year-old brewery blasted the BA for excluding it because its grain bill includes a small amount of corn.
This just in: Ludwig wants you to know that he’s going on vacation for the Christmas holidays. The lion limo will arrive Sunday, and he doesn’t expect to get back until after New Year’s. In the meantime, keep quaffing those holiday ales.
Today is the 75th birthday of Peter Max, the pop artist who’s famous for his use of psychedelic shapes and color palettes. Max has been the official artist for the World Cup, the Grammy Awards, and the Super Bowl…but, so far as we know, no beer festivals.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Frederick, Maryland, where the Monocacy Brewing Company has released its first Civil War commemorative beer, an English session bitter called Antietam Ale.
Kendall Jones of the Washington Beer Blog describes a weekend beer getaway in Victoria, British Columbia. Final stop on the tour: Garrick’s Head Pub, which has been serving beer since 1867.
Congratulations to Brown Distributing Company, of West Palm Beach, Florida, which was honored as the Craft Beer Distributor of the Year by the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
According to the Beer Institute, New Hampshire ranks first in per-capita beer consumption. Rounding out the top five: North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, and Nevada.
From the Department of Higher Zymurgical Education: Arizona State University offers a course called The Cultural and Chemical History of Beer. The course has been rated “challenging.”
A British microbrewery has developed a freeze-resistant beer for researchers working in in Antarctic cold. The beer, an India pale ale, is packaged in plastic, vacuum-sealed bottles for the journey to the Pole.
Finally, Scott, who blogs at The Brew Club, serves up 12 Things You Don’t Know About Your Beer. For instance, there are more calories in a pint of Budweiser than in a pint of Guinness.
The results are in. Nearly 30,000 people voted for America’s top beer bar, a competition sponsored by the Brewers Association’s CraftBeer.com. The overall winner was Mekong Restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. HopCat in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the runner-up, and The Thirsty Monk in Asheville, North Carolina, finished third.
Beer and politics have been inseparable at least as far back as the Code of Hammurabi, and all politics is local. This is where you come in. The Brewers Association has created a “Support Your Local Brewery,” which mobilizes craft brewers, and those who enjoy their products, when a legislative issue affecting small brewers comes up. So far this year, SYLB has been mobilized 24 times in eight states to speak out on legislation affecting small brewers.
More information about SYLB can be found on the Brewers Association’s website.
Jim Galligan, who writes about beer and other adult beverages for MSNBC.com, has a bone to pick with the World Beer Cup. He believes that competition organizers do good work overall; but he questions their decision to award medals in industrial beer categories, which are won by large breweries.
Charlie Papazian of the Brewers Association defends the practice, arguing that a rising tide lifts all boats. He told Galligan, “Winning in a competition is more than a statement of achievement,” he said. “It enhances the image of beer everywhere.”
Galligan wasn’t convinced. He responded:
If a wine lover saw the Miller Lite commercial where they crow about winning four WBC gold medals, do you think he or she would be convinced to put down their wine glass and pick up a mug? Or would they simply think that the world of beer must be pretty lame if Miller Lite is the best of the best? If anything, giving gold medals to industrial light lagers sends the wrong message. It lowers the tide for all brewers.