Friday, April 12, 2013

The Future of Craft Beer

With the brewery boom in Dayton this year (see recent DCP article and last night's blog post), I've been thinking about the current state of craft beer. Are we seeing a bubble? What happens if the bubble bursts? There are projected to be 1,000 new breweries in the next year across the US. Are we over-saturated?

Here's an interesting article in the Beer Business Daily that discusses a lot of the issues the market is seeing right now. Worth a read. Good reminder of the problems craft faced in the 1990s and how folks weathered. I anticipate, as this article hints at, that at some point, we will reach saturation levels and breweries will fall to a more sustainable level. Call it a pruning cycle. Call it approaching equilibrium. Breweries that make bad beer will die off. So will, unfortunately, breweries that make great beer but have poor business models.

We are approaching the dozen mark for new breweries in Dayton. Our region will be interesting to watch because we could be seeing the cycles mentioned in the article play out on a micro level. My hope is that all of the Miami Valley breweries succeed, all make great beer, and the Miami Valley becomes a craft beer destination. Realistically, unfortunately, there will likely be some dropoff and not all of the breweries will open or survive the first few years, for the reasons mentioned above.

What should we, as Dayton craft beer drinkers do? Try all the breweries, but be patient and don't jump to conclusions too quickly about any one brewery. It can take a few months to dial in, so if you try someone and don't like their beer, wait a few months and try it again. Once you've given everyone a fair shake, then vote with your feet and support the breweries making the good stuff and making solid choices.

UPDATE: Dave Ranly over at The Brew View has a great addition to this discussion. He's advocating to a brewery district in Dayton. Great idea. Count me in and let's make it happen, people.

1 comment:

Jonathan W. said...

I'm thinking we should encourage the secondary suppliers--the manufacturing for the craft brewing industry, from bottling lines to brewing utensils--to come here. Then we are not just a brewing town, but a beer industry town serving the needs of the nation. Then Sinclair offers classes on brewing and food chemistry. Then the breweries, being successful, can start offering internships. Make it about the whole industry not just the craft breweries.