TrentonDevils

BEER

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8 hours ago, devilsfan26 said:

I don't see how this in any way makes them like big beer.  The distribution laws are generally written by big beer lobbyists in a way that unfairly disadvantages smaller breweries to preserve big beer's grip on the marketplace.  Craft brewers have to join forces to eliminate the red tape.  Also, they aren't trying to stifle competition, they are trying to enhance it.  They aren't fighting for more restrictive distribution laws for their competitors, they are fighting to eliminate laws that make it difficult for themselves to reach the marketplace.  What is the moral reasoning for making it difficult for craft beers to reach stores?

I have been reading articles where the craft brewers are stifling other craft brewers who are not joining in on their holding company.  Basically to now get any sort of distribution it is either get bought up by big beer or join in on the holding company and follow their rules.  They are only enhancing competition for the craft breweries who join up.

Quite frankly I do not care really much anymore.  Craft brewing is a bubble waiting to burst.  Go into any decent liquor store and the craft beer aisle is overwhelming, but unfortunately a lot of it is crap or very much niche stuff.  Many times I have to go online just to figure out what the hell I am supposed to taste.  Why is the coriander in one beer better than the other?  Quite frankly they are all starting to taste the same.

I am not going to miss going from store to store to find beer that the owner/manager stashes away for his frequent customers or friends.   I am not going to miss the bevy of mediocre beers that have flooded the marketplace.  I am not going to miss the insane prices for said mediocre beers just because it was made in a an even smaller batch than another craft competitor who tastes almost exactly the same.  I am not going to miss the overhyping of the flavor of the month and hard to find beers (which often compromise taste just so the brewer can load it with either a crapload of alcohol or hops or both).  I am not going to miss (not that I partook in really) standing in line outside of these small breweries for a slightly different version of a beer that is readily available and for cheaper.

Not missing any of it and quite content with my Cherry Wheat Sam Adams, my Triumph Bengal Gold IPA and my Firestone Walker Union Jack (which is getting pummeled for "Selling out" hahahaha).

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Its a supply and demand world, once liquor stores start seeing the dust sitting on the weird sixpacks of Double whammy ghost pepper rootbeer with Elmers glue Hop levels there will be a culling and hopefully some quality micros are still standing.

I can't even keep up with all the local breweries anymore.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, DevilMinder said:

Its a supply and demand world, once liquor stores start seeing the dust sitting on the weird sixpacks of Double whammy ghost pepper rootbeer with Elmers glue Hop levels there will be a culling and hopefully some quality micros are still standing.

I can't even keep up with all the local breweries anymore.

 

 

 

That's what's going to happen and that's what I am waiting for.  I can't keep up either and they all taste the same and most are garbage.

Variety isn't always better.

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I know I rarely post here anymore, but I have to get into this conversation.

Like anything, the culture will drive the demand which drives the industry. I can't speak for the East Coast, but here in Texas, craft beer is exploding and the beer drinking community is large enough to support it (for now). The greater Austin area alone has over 30 breweries with more popping up monthly. They're not all going to survive, and that's fine, but they all get a fair shake from the community. And if they are average brews people try and discard, then that brewery goes under. Sunrise, sunset, capitalism. 

If craft beer dies on the vine like the microbrewery craze, it'll be a damn shame. It'll be the triumph of mediocrity over innovation. If you don't want to chase beer whales, that's fine, but that doesn't mean the option shouldn't be there for those who want to. I rarely stand in line for beers, but I love going to my local bottle shop and seeing what new stuff they have. And yes, that includes strawberry infused saisons with coriander notes with a strong hop finish. It's fun! I feel variety is always better for everybody involved. I don't get why people are actively rooting for craft beer to die (not saying anybody here is). Much like our beloved Devils most likely not making the playoffs, I think people are preparing themselves for what they think is the inevitable.

And I'm not sure it is. Again, Jersey is different due to the rules, but in Austin, every place sells craft beer these days. Supermarkets, gas stations, etc. Come to think of it, I've been in a proper liquor store maybe a handful of times since moving here. Maybe Texas just has more distribution channels than Jersey. Maybe the culture is more "hipster" in that we're willing to experiment, but I don't quite see the bubble bursting. It'll just shrink as average breweries die and fall out.

Maybe it's a bad analogy, but if we can have thousands of boutique wineries in the marketplace, why can't we have thousands of craft breweries? There are twenty or so major wine players that dominate the market, and the rest find their niche.

Perhaps I'm just a fan, but I truly hope craft beer is here to stay. I'd hate to walk into H.E.B. (our Shop Rite) and see nothing but Inbev and the rubble of an exciting scene blown to bits. And I think it can, so far as breweries continue to innovate, create great product, and find their spot in the marketplace. 

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On 2/23/2016 at 10:11 AM, DevsMan84 said:

I have been reading articles where the craft brewers are stifling other craft brewers who are not joining in on their holding company.  Basically to now get any sort of distribution it is either get bought up by big beer or join in on the holding company and follow their rules.  They are only enhancing competition for the craft breweries who join up.

Fair enough, those kinds of things are counterproductive to craft beer gaining market traction.  All of those gripes about the current state of craft beer are reasonable, but there is still plenty of good beer out there that you can enjoy while avoiding all of those issues.  The amount of beers that require knowing the store manager, waiting in line, etc. are a small percentage of what is brewed.  I'm confused as to why you would bump this thread just to say that you don't care anymore though.

Edited by devilsfan26

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18 hours ago, devilsfan26 said:

Fair enough, those kinds of things are counterproductive to craft beer gaining market traction.  All of those grips about the current state of craft beer are reasonable, but there is still plenty of good beer out there that you can enjoy craft beer while avoiding all of those issues.  The amount of beers that require knowing the store manager, waiting in line, etc. are a small percentage of what is brewed.  I'm confused as to why you would bump this thread just to say that you don't care anymore though.

Because it had to do with something I was once pretty interested in.  If I stopped caring about game worn jerseys, I probably would say so and probably start the sell off.  Thank God I don't have to do that with beers.

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21 hours ago, njskaguy33 said:

I know I rarely post here anymore, but I have to get into this conversation.

Like anything, the culture will drive the demand which drives the industry. I can't speak for the East Coast, but here in Texas, craft beer is exploding and the beer drinking community is large enough to support it (for now). The greater Austin area alone has over 30 breweries with more popping up monthly. They're not all going to survive, and that's fine, but they all get a fair shake from the community. And if they are average brews people try and discard, then that brewery goes under. Sunrise, sunset, capitalism. 

If craft beer dies on the vine like the microbrewery craze, it'll be a damn shame. It'll be the triumph of mediocrity over innovation. If you don't want to chase beer whales, that's fine, but that doesn't mean the option shouldn't be there for those who want to. I rarely stand in line for beers, but I love going to my local bottle shop and seeing what new stuff they have. And yes, that includes strawberry infused saisons with coriander notes with a strong hop finish. It's fun! I feel variety is always better for everybody involved. I don't get why people are actively rooting for craft beer to die (not saying anybody here is). Much like our beloved Devils most likely not making the playoffs, I think people are preparing themselves for what they think is the inevitable.

And I'm not sure it is. Again, Jersey is different due to the rules, but in Austin, every place sells craft beer these days. Supermarkets, gas stations, etc. Come to think of it, I've been in a proper liquor store maybe a handful of times since moving here. Maybe Texas just has more distribution channels than Jersey. Maybe the culture is more "hipster" in that we're willing to experiment, but I don't quite see the bubble bursting. It'll just shrink as average breweries die and fall out.

Maybe it's a bad analogy, but if we can have thousands of boutique wineries in the marketplace, why can't we have thousands of craft breweries? There are twenty or so major wine players that dominate the market, and the rest find their niche.

Perhaps I'm just a fan, but I truly hope craft beer is here to stay. I'd hate to walk into H.E.B. (our Shop Rite) and see nothing but Inbev and the rubble of an exciting scene blown to bits. And I think it can, so far as breweries continue to innovate, create great product, and find their spot in the marketplace. 

That's not always the case with variety.  I agree in general that variety is better, but there is such a thing that too much variety is very much counterproductive and only leads to consumer frustration when you have a series of beers made by the same brewer or different breweries that basically taste the same.  There probably are beer drinkers who have a more "refined" palate than I have and can detect these small nuances, but for most of the population we literally need to hop onto BA and read about what he hell we are supposed to be tasting.  Baskin Robbins knew variety is good, but even they knew most people really can't handle more than 31 flavors.

In NJ, only liquor stores can sell beer.  That means no beer in gas stations, convenience stores, and supermarkets.  We are one of the few states that have these laws and it makes no sense.

Craft beer craze has been going on for a solid 10 years now, possibly more.  When one of these breweries die about 2 or 3 more take's it's place.  It won't just shrink, the bubble will just burst.

I still go into the liquor store near me and see what new stuff they have, but for every new one I like, I wasted money on about 7 or 8 which I should like (based on style, description and rating on BA), but turn out I absolutely hate.

Craft beer will never die out and I hope it will not.  However, I would welcome a shrinking of it believe it or not.  There is just too much sameness and mediocrity within even craft beer.  Not every craft beer is good just because it was made in small batches and because the ingredients were locally sourced and all that other hipster idyllic garbage.  I just want the strong and truly worthy beers to stand and the rest of the flash in the pan beers just die out. 

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If you have such a low success rate with trying new beers, why not just save yourself the frustration and stick with buying the beers you know you like?

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7 hours ago, devilsfan26 said:

If you have such a low success rate with trying new beers, why not just save yourself the frustration and stick with buying the beers you know you like?

That's what I have been doing lately.  I am just no longer going to pay attention to the craft beer "movement" like I once did.

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DevsMan, I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree on the variety issue. In your Baskin Robbins example, you're right in that they chose 31 flavors, but to arrive at those flavors, they needed the room and the marketplace to discover what works. In the beer world, that testing ground requires a community of people willing to try out new things and pay for it. I rarely go "whale hunting", but if my bottle shop has a $20 bomber of something new, I'll pull the trigger. I'd hate to see that go away.

I think what we're really talking about is saturation, not variety. On that, I 100% agree. We don't need another brewery offering the standard pale/amber/IPA/porter selection. It's confusing to the customer and creates "beer shelf shock". And you're right, that will cause people to get frustrated by buying more of the same old, same old, and just stick with what they dig. But I don't think that'll cause a burst. I think the bubble is too big and too elastic for that to happen. Those ho hum breweries will just go away quicker and quicker.

Quick note: I grew up in Jersey, but didn't get into beer until my last year in NYC and move to Austin. Are there opportunities to try before you buy? In Austin, there are about 20 craft beer bars in a 10 mile radius, all of which will give you samples. Each has about 20 taps, half has more. My local bottle shop does daily tastings, where reps come in from new and established breweries sampling their line. Most of the breweries have on site taprooms where for $10 you get six pour tickets (ala Carton in your neck of the woods). Supermarkets allow you to make your own six pack, that way you can try without the $10 investment. This allows the drinking public to try before they buy, reducing the rate of failures on their investments.

And that liquor store law is so ridiculous, I can't fathom it. Texas has some bizarre laws, but if you had more distribution channels, maybe your market wouldn't be so crowded. But, I've been to the mega liquor stores in Jersey. Not sure on the name, but it's a giant place in Essex Green by the AMC in West Orange. That place has a monstrous selection organized pretty well and it's still overwhelming, so I get your point.

My hope is the ever crowding market will force breweries to be distinctive rather than copycats. I'd hate to see the interesting little guys fail in favor of the tried and true Dogfish Head / Goose Island / Firestone Walkers of the world. They all make exceptional stuff, but having those funky outliers keeps the scene fresh and special.

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31 minutes ago, njskaguy33 said:

DevsMan, I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree on the variety issue. In your Baskin Robbins example, you're right in that they chose 31 flavors, but to arrive at those flavors, they needed the room and the marketplace to discover what works. In the beer world, that testing ground requires a community of people willing to try out new things and pay for it. I rarely go "whale hunting", but if my bottle shop has a $20 bomber of something new, I'll pull the trigger. I'd hate to see that go away.

I think what we're really talking about is saturation, not variety. On that, I 100% agree. We don't need another brewery offering the standard pale/amber/IPA/porter selection. It's confusing to the customer and creates "beer shelf shock". And you're right, that will cause people to get frustrated by buying more of the same old, same old, and just stick with what they dig. But I don't think that'll cause a burst. I think the bubble is too big and too elastic for that to happen. Those ho hum breweries will just go away quicker and quicker.

Quick note: I grew up in Jersey, but didn't get into beer until my last year in NYC and move to Austin. Are there opportunities to try before you buy? In Austin, there are about 20 craft beer bars in a 10 mile radius, all of which will give you samples. Each has about 20 taps, half has more. My local bottle shop does daily tastings, where reps come in from new and established breweries sampling their line. Most of the breweries have on site taprooms where for $10 you get six pour tickets (ala Carton in your neck of the woods). Supermarkets allow you to make your own six pack, that way you can try without the $10 investment. This allows the drinking public to try before they buy, reducing the rate of failures on their investments.

And that liquor store law is so ridiculous, I can't fathom it. Texas has some bizarre laws, but if you had more distribution channels, maybe your market wouldn't be so crowded. But, I've been to the mega liquor stores in Jersey. Not sure on the name, but it's a giant place in Essex Green by the AMC in West Orange. That place has a monstrous selection organized pretty well and it's still overwhelming, so I get your point.

My hope is the ever crowding market will force breweries to be distinctive rather than copycats. I'd hate to see the interesting little guys fail in favor of the tried and true Dogfish Head / Goose Island / Firestone Walkers of the world. They all make exceptional stuff, but having those funky outliers keeps the scene fresh and special.

I think you are correct about the saturation term.  That is probably more accurate than varieties.  However, there are some varieties that should just die and are flavor of the months.  I bet there are plenty who would disagree with my feeling that all Peanut Butter Chocolate porters should die, but I wouldn't be sad to see them all go.  Again that is my personal taste and I don't have to, nor do I buy those.

I was thinking that some of the smaller ho-hum breweries would die, but there seems to be more and more of them coming up every 3-6 months.  A common tactic they seem to use when they want to build buzz or try to make some extra income to stay alive longer is just release something and call it "limited edition."  Most of the breweries I see pictures of people lining up for hours to get a limited edition beer are smaller breweries and the people who are lining up have never even tried the beer before, so they are willing to spend $ and wait hours and sometimes days for something they might hate.

We have tastings in NJ, but often times it's for breweries who can afford to send reps out and I usually have tried their beers before.  Another obstacle is just the time.  I am not always free at 3PM on a Saturday to try a bunch of beer samples.  Not only that but not as many liquor stores that you would think have these.

The make your own 6-pack is a nice way to try variety, but often times with the way these liquor stores price them it makes no sense.  The average cost that I have encountered when I have done those is $20-25 when I could have a 6-pack of a craft beer that I like for $10-13 on average.  That's also contingent on the variety the store has.  Some have 30 available for the make your own and some have 150+.

Those funky outliers are very much a mixed bag and unfortunately mostly misses in my opinion.  Last year there was a big run/thing about Maine Beer Company's beers.  I will admit they are very good, especially their MO and Lunch beers.  However, while I think they are very good, they are not that special where I have to call and travel to different liquor stores across the state to find them when I can get my Firestone Walker Union Jack at 3 different stores within a 10 min drive of my home.  I just am tired of wasting $ and energy to finding beers that are at the point marginally better at best than their other craft competition.

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12 hours ago, DevsMan84 said:

I think you are correct about the saturation term.  That is probably more accurate than varieties.  However, there are some varieties that should just die and are flavor of the months.  I bet there are plenty who would disagree with my feeling that all Peanut Butter Chocolate porters should die, but I wouldn't be sad to see them all go.  Again that is my personal taste and I don't have to, nor do I buy those.

I was thinking that some of the smaller ho-hum breweries would die, but there seems to be more and more of them coming up every 3-6 months.  A common tactic they seem to use when they want to build buzz or try to make some extra income to stay alive longer is just release something and call it "limited edition."  Most of the breweries I see pictures of people lining up for hours to get a limited edition beer are smaller breweries and the people who are lining up have never even tried the beer before, so they are willing to spend $ and wait hours and sometimes days for something they might hate.

We have tastings in NJ, but often times it's for breweries who can afford to send reps out and I usually have tried their beers before.  Another obstacle is just the time.  I am not always free at 3PM on a Saturday to try a bunch of beer samples.  Not only that but not as many liquor stores that you would think have these.

The make your own 6-pack is a nice way to try variety, but often times with the way these liquor stores price them it makes no sense.  The average cost that I have encountered when I have done those is $20-25 when I could have a 6-pack of a craft beer that I like for $10-13 on average.  That's also contingent on the variety the store has.  Some have 30 available for the make your own and some have 150+.

Those funky outliers are very much a mixed bag and unfortunately mostly misses in my opinion.  Last year there was a big run/thing about Maine Beer Company's beers.  I will admit they are very good, especially their MO and Lunch beers.  However, while I think they are very good, they are not that special where I have to call and travel to different liquor stores across the state to find them when I can get my Firestone Walker Union Jack at 3 different stores within a 10 min drive of my home.  I just am tired of wasting $ and energy to finding beers that are at the point marginally better at best than their other craft competition.

I would only wait on line for a beer if the brewery is one that I have had plenty of times before and know is very good.  I have no problem waiting on line for some of Kane's limited releases.  On the other hand, Demented has just come out with a membership to their brewery where for $100 or something like that, you get six of their barrel-aged beers each year.  I have not had enough from Demented that has impressed me to the point of spending $100 on beers they have never even brewed yet, so there is no way in hell I am signing up for that.

I have done plenty of mix-a-sixes before and I don't think I have ever come out to $20.  That is an average of $3.33 per bottle, there are very few 12 oz. beers that cost that much at any of the stores I go to.

I agree that Maine is overpriced.  They are good, but not worth the price they sell for.  However, I think that brings up a good point that hasn't been made yet:  Maine is good, but not worth their price because there are plenty of other good beers out there for a lower price.  If craft beer were to dry up, Maine might not be overpriced if it weren't for those other breweries selling their beer at lower prices, and then they would be able to raise their prices even more.

Edited by devilsfan26

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8 hours ago, devilsfan26 said:

I would only wait on line for a beer if the brewery is one that I have had plenty of times before and know is very good.  I have no problem waiting on line for some of Kane's limited releases.  On the other hand, Demented has just come out with a membership to their brewery where for $100 or something like that, you get six of their barrel-aged beers each year.  I have not had enough from Demented that has impressed me to the point of spending $100 on beers they have never even brewed yet, so there is no way in hell I am signing up for that.

I have done plenty of mix-a-sixes before and I don't think I have ever come out to $20.  That is an average of $3.33 per bottle, there are very few 12 oz. beers that cost that much at any of the stores I go to.

I agree that Maine is overpriced.  They are good, but not worth the price they sell for.  However, I think that brings up a good point that hasn't been made yet:  Maine is good, but not worth their price because there are plenty of other good beers out there for a lower price.  If craft beer were to dry up, Maine might not be overpriced if it weren't for those other breweries selling their beer at lower prices, and then they would be able to raise their prices even more.

My last mix-a-six came out to $21 and some change.  This was at Oak Tree in South Plainfield.  At Whole Foods in Middletown (could be Holmdel actually) I did a mix-a-six and just calculating in my head, it would cost me at least $23.  I decided to put the beers back.  Most of the beers I selected were in the $3-4 range and very few of the selections had them for $2 or less.

As for Maine, I would argue that they would be one of the breweries that would die out.  Their distribution is crap (a good chunk of that is their own doing) and their beer isn't a whole lot better than bigger craft breweries that would most likely survive and easier to find (Firestone Walker and Dogfish Head for example).  The price of Maine is not even the big thing for me, I will gladly pay more for good beer.  However their beer is not THAT much better than beers that are much easier to find and I don't miss the rat race of calling around and trying to find bottles of Maine's beers.

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14 hours ago, DevsMan84 said:

My last mix-a-six came out to $21 and some change.  This was at Oak Tree in South Plainfield.  At Whole Foods in Middletown (could be Holmdel actually) I did a mix-a-six and just calculating in my head, it would cost me at least $23.  I decided to put the beers back.  Most of the beers I selected were in the $3-4 range and very few of the selections had them for $2 or less.

As for Maine, I would argue that they would be one of the breweries that would die out.  Their distribution is crap (a good chunk of that is their own doing) and their beer isn't a whole lot better than bigger craft breweries that would most likely survive and easier to find (Firestone Walker and Dogfish Head for example).  The price of Maine is not even the big thing for me, I will gladly pay more for good beer.  However their beer is not THAT much better than beers that are much easier to find and I don't miss the rat race of calling around and trying to find bottles of Maine's beers.

Yeah when Maine first hit NJ I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, but now that I've had a few of their beers, I don't bother anymore.

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Anyone drink Lagunita's?  

I've found their Censored brew and Undercover brew are outstanding.

Worth a try

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On 2/25/2016 at 11:51 AM, DevsMan84 said:

I think you are correct about the saturation term.  That is probably more accurate than varieties.  However, there are some varieties that should just die and are flavor of the months.  I bet there are plenty who would disagree with my feeling that all Peanut Butter Chocolate porters should die, but I wouldn't be sad to see them all go.  Again that is my personal taste and I don't have to, nor do I buy those.

I was thinking that some of the smaller ho-hum breweries would die, but there seems to be more and more of them coming up every 3-6 months.  A common tactic they seem to use when they want to build buzz or try to make some extra income to stay alive longer is just release something and call it "limited edition."  Most of the breweries I see pictures of people lining up for hours to get a limited edition beer are smaller breweries and the people who are lining up have never even tried the beer before, so they are willing to spend $ and wait hours and sometimes days for something they might hate.

We have tastings in NJ, but often times it's for breweries who can afford to send reps out and I usually have tried their beers before.  Another obstacle is just the time.  I am not always free at 3PM on a Saturday to try a bunch of beer samples.  Not only that but not as many liquor stores that you would think have these.

The make your own 6-pack is a nice way to try variety, but often times with the way these liquor stores price them it makes no sense.  The average cost that I have encountered when I have done those is $20-25 when I could have a 6-pack of a craft beer that I like for $10-13 on average.  That's also contingent on the variety the store has.  Some have 30 available for the make your own and some have 150+.

Those funky outliers are very much a mixed bag and unfortunately mostly misses in my opinion.  Last year there was a big run/thing about Maine Beer Company's beers.  I will admit they are very good, especially their MO and Lunch beers.  However, while I think they are very good, they are not that special where I have to call and travel to different liquor stores across the state to find them when I can get my Firestone Walker Union Jack at 3 different stores within a 10 min drive of my home.  I just am tired of wasting $ and energy to finding beers that are at the point marginally better at best than their other craft competition.

I don't know what you're feeling a year later, but mostly what I'm getting here is that you've settled on what you like, and that's fine. There is absolutely a saturation point, and we might have hit that, but at the same time, something like 70-80% of beer drinkers aren't drinking craft in this country, and there's a huge market left to go after. With the culture of beer drinking, everyone still wants to try new and funky things, especially with people on apps like Untappd, and all people want to do is try something new. Right now, sours and goses are all the rage. I work in craft beer sales, and everywhere I go, that's what people are asking for. Next year it'll be something different, and a handful of breweries will innovate, and the rest will keep up. Most will put stuff out trying to jump on the bandwagon of the month, it won't sell, and they'll shift their brewing capacity elsewhere. Craft beer certainly is not a bubble, and with the explosion of the local trend, more and more small operations are becoming sustainable at the expense of AB Inbev, MillerCoors, and the largest craft breweries.

I've personally gotten tired of beer experimentation to some extent myself. I don't like super heavy beers much anymore. I rarely drink barley wines, triples, heavy ales, imperials. I'm enjoying the classics more and more. But there's no impending doom to craft beer, not by a long shot.

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1 hour ago, thecoffeecake said:

I don't know what you're feeling a year later, but mostly what I'm getting here is that you've settled on what you like, and that's fine. There is absolutely a saturation point, and we might have hit that, but at the same time, something like 70-80% of beer drinkers aren't drinking craft in this country, and there's a huge market left to go after. With the culture of beer drinking, everyone still wants to try new and funky things, especially with people on apps like Untappd, and all people want to do is try something new. Right now, sours and goses are all the rage. I work in craft beer sales, and everywhere I go, that's what people are asking for. Next year it'll be something different, and a handful of breweries will innovate, and the rest will keep up. Most will put stuff out trying to jump on the bandwagon of the month, it won't sell, and they'll shift their brewing capacity elsewhere. Craft beer certainly is not a bubble, and with the explosion of the local trend, more and more small operations are becoming sustainable at the expense of AB Inbev, MillerCoors, and the largest craft breweries.

I've personally gotten tired of beer experimentation to some extent myself. I don't like super heavy beers much anymore. I rarely drink barley wines, triples, heavy ales, imperials. I'm enjoying the classics more and more. But there's no impending doom to craft beer, not by a long shot.

I feel largely the same.  For every craft beer I find that I like, I absolutely hate 15 of them.  It's saturated to the point where I spend more time looking up reviews on BA on my phone more than anything when I am in the beer aisle at the store.

Sours are definitely in.  Had a gose recently with cranberry from an NJ brewery (whose name escapes me at the moment) and while it was alright, it is not something I would go after again.  Every year the trend is different; one year it was IPA, next it was imperials, next it was hard soda, now it is sours.  Everyone has different tastes but I was at the point where I was dumping half my beer every week because I couldn't stand them.  Not a good sign.

I think you are overstating the amount of the available market for craft beer drinkers.  I think the 70-80% figure that are not trying craft is accurate, but I think a majority of those aren't really open to drinking craft and are fine with drinking beer from the macro brewers.  I think at best the craft beer market can maybe make another 10% dent into that 70-80% figure.  There are just too many brewers basically competing with each other at this point and are just cannabalizing each other's sales/market shares.

Another one with me personally is that I am just about sick of the craft beer culture.  I thought the game worn jersey hobby had enough snobby and entitled collectors until I got into the craft beer world.  I am part of the NJ Craft Beer club (worth the $25 every year price just for the discount card alone) so I am also in the NJCB Members only group on FB.  The mods on there are cool people, but there are a lot of beer snobs on there that make me want to never drink another beer again.  If it ain't some super-rare, overpriced craft beer then basically you are drinking swill.  And god forbid if you ever had a sip of a beer from a macro brewer.

 

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2 hours ago, DevsMan84 said:

I feel largely the same.  For every craft beer I find that I like, I absolutely hate 15 of them.  It's saturated to the point where I spend more time looking up reviews on BA on my phone more than anything when I am in the beer aisle at the store.

Sours are definitely in.  Had a gose recently with cranberry from an NJ brewery (whose name escapes me at the moment) and while it was alright, it is not something I would go after again.  Every year the trend is different; one year it was IPA, next it was imperials, next it was hard soda, now it is sours.  Everyone has different tastes but I was at the point where I was dumping half my beer every week because I couldn't stand them.  Not a good sign.

I think you are overstating the amount of the available market for craft beer drinkers.  I think the 70-80% figure that are not trying craft is accurate, but I think a majority of those aren't really open to drinking craft and are fine with drinking beer from the macro brewers.  I think at best the craft beer market can maybe make another 10% dent into that 70-80% figure.  There are just too many brewers basically competing with each other at this point and are just cannabalizing each other's sales/market shares.

Another one with me personally is that I am just about sick of the craft beer culture.  I thought the game worn jersey hobby had enough snobby and entitled collectors until I got into the craft beer world.  I am part of the NJ Craft Beer club (worth the $25 every year price just for the discount card alone) so I am also in the NJCB Members only group on FB.  The mods on there are cool people, but there are a lot of beer snobs on there that make me want to never drink another beer again.  If it ain't some super-rare, overpriced craft beer then basically you are drinking swill.  And god forbid if you ever had a sip of a beer from a macro brewer.

 

Trust me, you're preaching to the choir with beer snobs. You'd be shocked how many people think it's ok to tell you how bad the beer from your brewery is, and half of those people just memorized BA vocabulary and think they know all there is. The point of beer went from pure enjoyment to a pissing contest. I used to buy two 6 packs at a time, get something new and something I know I like, but I never do that anymore. I only try new things at bars to avoid just that, wasting money on niche beers  I'll end up hating. And thankfully, most craft bars will sample stuff for you before you get a full pint.

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13 minutes ago, thecoffeecake said:

Trust me, you're preaching to the choir with beer snobs. You'd be shocked how many people think it's ok to tell you how bad the beer from your brewery is, and half of those people just memorized BA vocabulary and think they know all there is. The point of beer went from pure enjoyment to a pissing contest. I used to buy two 6 packs at a time, get something new and something I know I like, but I never do that anymore. I only try new things at bars to avoid just that, wasting money on niche beers  I'll end up hating. And thankfully, most craft bars will sample stuff for you before you get a full pint.

Yeah they are the worst and a good chunk of the reason I don't really get into it anymore.  What I find funny is when I see all these guys (it's largely a male-dominated "hobby") tasting new beers and posting about it on FB they use words like "crisp" to describe it.  Problem is, what the hell does crisp taste like?  I have asked several of my friends who enjoy drinking all sorts of beer to describe it and no one is able to articulate it well.  After much thought, basically any beer can be described as "crisp" when it is served cold enough.  It's stuff like that which drives me crazy about how pretentious it got.

I still keep up a bit with craft beer news though.  I still get quarterly issues of Beer Connoisseur magazine (bought a 2-year subscription that eventually ran out but they never stopped sending me issues and every issue they send me a flyer saying it will be the last one they are sending me) and it is interesting to read about the business side of things.  What kills a lot of them is distribution and how they often complain that the big guys hold bars and stores hostage to prevent the smaller craft breweries from getting better distribution.  There is truth to that, but you got to wonder how Boston Beer Company got to where it is when they had to go against the big guys in the 80's and 90's.  My guess is that these days with the explosion of craft beer that there is simply too many craft beers around for distributors and bars to carry.  Some or even most will get the short end of the stick.  I admit there are also still archaic laws that are hurdles, but those can be overcome and NJ is starting to come around on that.

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25 minutes ago, DevsMan84 said:

Yeah they are the worst and a good chunk of the reason I don't really get into it anymore.  What I find funny is when I see all these guys (it's largely a male-dominated "hobby") tasting new beers and posting about it on FB they use words like "crisp" to describe it.  Problem is, what the hell does crisp taste like?  I have asked several of my friends who enjoy drinking all sorts of beer to describe it and no one is able to articulate it well.  After much thought, basically any beer can be described as "crisp" when it is served cold enough.  It's stuff like that which drives me crazy about how pretentious it got.

I still keep up a bit with craft beer news though.  I still get quarterly issues of Beer Connoisseur magazine (bought a 2-year subscription that eventually ran out but they never stopped sending me issues and every issue they send me a flyer saying it will be the last one they are sending me) and it is interesting to read about the business side of things.  What kills a lot of them is distribution and how they often complain that the big guys hold bars and stores hostage to prevent the smaller craft breweries from getting better distribution.  There is truth to that, but you got to wonder how Boston Beer Company got to where it is when they had to go against the big guys in the 80's and 90's.  My guess is that these days with the explosion of craft beer that there is simply too many craft beers around for distributors and bars to carry.  Some or even most will get the short end of the stick.  I admit there are also still archaic laws that are hurdles, but those can be overcome and NJ is starting to come around on that.

Yea New Jersey is finally getting over the craft hump. I wish I had the capital and know-how to get a brewery off the ground in NJ, because we're about to be as saturated as most other states already are. I was at the AC beer fest, and I hadn't heard of a chunk of the NJ brewers that were there.

AB is cut-throat in terms of going after space in retail locations and going after the craft scene. They are brutal on their distributors in terms of sales goals and signage/display expectations. They only acquire craft brands to increase their visibility and coverage. Some smaller breweries will absolutely get buried in a major distributor with AB or Miller-Coors in the portfolio. The brewery I work for is out of one of the biggest distributors in the country in my territory, and unless we release something sexy, I'm pretty much selling our products myself, because our distributor's reps are dealing with Miller-Coors, Yunegling, Sam Adams, Modelo (which is blowing up), Sierra Nevada. 

As far as Sam Adams, Jim whatever his last name is is a marketing guru. Even still, they grab a lot of macro drinkers because they market themselves as a tiny, craft brewery, and their beers are marginally better and slightly higher priced than macro. People don't know any better. In the mean time, Boston Beer isn't all that far behind a Miller-Coors.

The thing about craft breweries is that they hire as few people as possible, and make those people that they do hire to wear as many hats as possible. A lot of breweries close, but there aren't many that grow too big too fast. Most breweries just serve out of their own tasting rooms for years before they even consider distribution. The business side of the industry is actually a lot of fun. I'd love to be able to own or manage a bottle shop one day.

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14 hours ago, thecoffeecake said:

Yea New Jersey is finally getting over the craft hump. I wish I had the capital and know-how to get a brewery off the ground in NJ, because we're about to be as saturated as most other states already are. I was at the AC beer fest, and I hadn't heard of a chunk of the NJ brewers that were there.

AB is cut-throat in terms of going after space in retail locations and going after the craft scene. They are brutal on their distributors in terms of sales goals and signage/display expectations. They only acquire craft brands to increase their visibility and coverage. Some smaller breweries will absolutely get buried in a major distributor with AB or Miller-Coors in the portfolio. The brewery I work for is out of one of the biggest distributors in the country in my territory, and unless we release something sexy, I'm pretty much selling our products myself, because our distributor's reps are dealing with Miller-Coors, Yunegling, Sam Adams, Modelo (which is blowing up), Sierra Nevada. 

As far as Sam Adams, Jim whatever his last name is is a marketing guru. Even still, they grab a lot of macro drinkers because they market themselves as a tiny, craft brewery, and their beers are marginally better and slightly higher priced than macro. People don't know any better. In the mean time, Boston Beer isn't all that far behind a Miller-Coors.

The thing about craft breweries is that they hire as few people as possible, and make those people that they do hire to wear as many hats as possible. A lot of breweries close, but there aren't many that grow too big too fast. Most breweries just serve out of their own tasting rooms for years before they even consider distribution. The business side of the industry is actually a lot of fun. I'd love to be able to own or manage a bottle shop one day.

I think that is half of the reason.  Obviously the craft brewery has to agree to the sale.  AB recently bought a brewery out in the Carolinas (brewery has Weed in the name).  The reasons for AB wanting it is obvious, but the brewery agreed to it mostly for trying to get better distribution (also getting paid which is nice).  I can't blame them for that.  I have heard talks about smaller craft breweries joining together to help distribute each other's beers, but haven't really heard much else about it and if it is successful.

Jim Koch is indeed a genius.  He also has the craft beer guild in the palm of his hand.  Oh, Jim needs to produce more beer but still wants to be classified as craft?  Well no problems on raising the barrel limit then for him.  A bit hypocritical but it is what it is.  Also interesting how he gives out money to help upstart breweries going, but would never dare allow them to touch his distribution system.

Finally I went up with a buddy of mine to a place called Hops in Morristown last night.  It's a small bar that specializes in craft beers.  I had a beer from Lone Eagle (out of Flemington, NJ) called Cranberry Saison.  It was alright except the fact that it wasn't a saison, but a gose.  That's another recent irritant for me.  Too many brewers cannot even classify the beers they are brewing correctly.  Lately I have been having way too many Pale Ale's that are really IPA's and Farmhouse-style beers that are really sours.

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I'm a macro beer drinker and I drink Sam Adams, but don't consider it craft brewery, and haven't been fooled into thinking that it's some kind of microbrewery.  I mean, it may get called that on the menus at some restaurants, but when you see something in every single liquor store and grocery store and it's priced only a bit above Budweiser, you're not really fooling anyone.  Same as Goose not fooling anyone (they sell it on United flights).

Jim Koch was a genius though.  At least based on my experience, he more or less invented the mass market for non-macro beers in the United States. 

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37 minutes ago, Daniel said:

I'm a macro beer drinker and I drink Sam Adams, but don't consider it craft brewery, and haven't been fooled into thinking that it's some kind of microbrewery.  I mean, it may get called that on the menus at some restaurants, but when you see something in every single liquor store and grocery store and it's priced only a bit above Budweiser, you're not really fooling anyone.  Same as Goose not fooling anyone (they sell it on United flights).

Jim Koch was a genius though.  At least based on my experience, he more or less invented the mass market for non-macro beers in the United States. 

Goose got bought up by Inbev/AB a few years ago, so they are everywhere.

I like to drink Sam Adams as it is available almost everywhere and usually at least a step above most of the other macros served on tap.  But I do agree that calling it craft is a huge stretch considering their annual output is about 4M barrels these days.

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On 3/15/2017 at 3:38 PM, Jimmy Leeds said:

Anyone drink Lagunita's?  

I've found their Censored brew and Undercover brew are outstanding.

Worth a try

I love Lagunitas.. my favorite might be the Lil Sumpin! I was never a hoppy beer guy but that's pretty much all I drink now 

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10 minutes ago, Onddeck said:

I love Lagunitas.. my favorite might be the Lil Sumpin! I was never a hoppy beer guy but that's pretty much all I drink now 

I'll give it a whirl. Thanks

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