Beer Industry

beercamp across america
Sierra Nevada has hosted Beer Camp for a few years now. It’s a beer lover’s dream come true. You get a VIP tour of the brewery, the chance to brew a batch of beer at their facility, and your beer gets packaged up and distributed. Yes, you can buy your own beer at the store.

But attending Beer Camp isn’t easy. It’s usually invitation-only unless you join the occasional contest where you must submit a video entry pleading your case to attend.

I’ve never been invited (tear…) and I’ve never submitted a video (lazy…) so I was pretty pumped when I heard that Beer Camp was hitting the road for a seven-city tour. Fortunately Denver made the cut.

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Something shocking happened right under my nose….craft beer is now a hipster beverage.

I’ve noticed signs for about the past year. It’s usually an overheard remark at a bar or a reference to hipsters in an article about craft beer. Here’s a perfect example from a CNN post called “Why I Drink Good Beer”. Notice the commenter automatically assumes the author must be a hipster:


And from another news article:

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With 2014 here I feel like getting all big picture with beer. How popular is craft beer in our everyday lexicon? Which words are popular and which ones are unpopular?

For this I turned to the almighty Google Trends. If you’ve never used it, clear your schedule for the next couple of hours. You can get totally lost in it. Google Trends tells you how popular a search term is, which is a good proxy for how popular a term is in everyday life.

First let’s compare “craft beer” to a popular mainstream term just to get a little perspective, say “Duck Dynasty”:

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When I study history my eyes glaze over when reading dates. Just reading a date as a number on a page does nothing for me. The two things that are missing are context and visuals. Context tells the larger story of the event: “What else was happening? Was is before this? Was it after that?” Visuals are important because I’m a visual learner. Turning a boring number on a page into something I can see brings it to life.

When I was reading The Audacity of Hops (great book) the familiar glazing-over feeling came back. The story of craft beer in America is a great one. The characters, the tales, the beers. It’s a story every beer drinker should learn.

While reading the book I got the idea to create this interactive American craft beer timeline:

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Sam Adams Facebook

Living in Colorado, you don’t have to convince anyone that good beer can come in a can. When Oskar Blues, Avery, and New Belgium are in your state, you learn this fact at a young age. Even most craft beers drinkers outside of Colorado know that great beers are being put into cans and that’s OK.

But we’re in the minority.

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False Advertising
When something is hot, everybody wants to ride its coattails.

Craft beer was up 15% in 2012, while the beer industry as a whole was up only 1%. Craft beer is hot, and marketers want a piece of it.

There are two recent examples of the term “craft beer” being abused.

The first was at Yankee Stadium this year when the baseball season began. See the picture below.

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kickstarter-logoThe beer industry has latched onto Kickstarter in a major way.

The fundraising platform with its social nature and quirky promo videos is the perfect fit for a new brewery looking to raise some cash. A search for “brewery” brings up 137 results.

Now we’re seeing all sorts of beery ventures, beyond just breweries. Here are some cool ones I’ve been following:

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conflictAs home to 168 breweries, the Great American Beer Festival, and some of the best craft beer in the country, you wouldn’t think there would be much for Colorado beer drinkers to be unhappy about. However, we are once again having the annual debate about the “Grocery Bill” which would allow full strength beer to be sold where you buy your food. A quick primer if you’re not familiar with it…

Colorado grocery stores and convenience stores cannot sell beer that is higher than 3.2% alcohol by volume. To get “full strength beer”, you must go to the liquor store.

I moved to Colorado from Virginia in mid-2010 and was unaware of this law. A friend nearly dove in front of me to block me from buying beer at King Soopers. I had no idea it was 3.2% beer.

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2013 Beer Predictions

by Billy Broas

2013-New-YearHappy 2013 beer lovers. Last year I gave my beer predictions for 2012.

Overall I did OK. I was semi-correct that Asheville would not win BeerCity USA for a fourth time in a row. They ended up sharing the title with Grand Rapids. That NC crew is resilient.

Speaking of North Carolina, I was correct about Sierra Nevada opening a brewery there, although that wasn’t exactly a shocker. AB-InBev never did merge with SABMiller. That was my bold prediction, but I’m not going to renew it this year.

So what does 2013 have in store? I asked my newsletter readers this very question. First, my predictions:

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How Booze Built America TV Show on Discovery Channel
Every time a new beer show hits the TV, I get excited. That’s right – I’m not content just drinking beer. I like to watch it on TV too. And I’m not alone.

What brings up this topic is the recently aired How Booze Built America on the Discovery channel, hosted by Mike Rowe.

It’s about booze in general, but beer plays a hefty role. I saw my first episode last night and thought it was really well done. America’s history is certainly soaked in booze. It also got me thinking of other TV shows and movies about beer. They are popping up all over the place now. Let’s have a look at them.

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