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Significant beer digits ii

This is not new. The numbers get tossed into conversations every once in a while, a reminder that when we talk about small breweries we really are discussing small businesses.

@Josh Noel ran this up the flag poll today on Twitter: “We think of craft as having grown so large. It has. But there’s some stat out there: 90% make less than 3k bbls — or something like that.” Then he suggested it would be better if he could quote a number a little more authoratively.

Brewers Association economist Bart Watson replied rather rapidly:

– “Just looked up the 2015 TTB data. 91.8% (of brewers who made at least 1 bbl) made less than 7,500.”
– “They don’t break out between 1K-7.5K, but our figures have 90% around 5K, which makes sense with that TTB data.”
– “The smallest 3,000 breweries in country made less than Sierra Nevada in 2015 & Sierra Nevada makes ~1% of what AB makes in the US.”
– “That’s all 3,000 collectively. So 3,000 breweries together make less than 1% of AB’s US production. Small breweries are small.”

Diversity, St. Louis style

Yesterday Jeff Alworth filed a dispatch from Bend, Oregon, headlined “American Palates: 82% IPA.” He reported a definite lack of diversity at the brewery taprooms he visited, leading him to write, “The point of all this? Hoppy ales have taken over American brewing, and we’re never going back.” And, “When a country develops its own beer culture, diversity declines.”

Perhaps this means Oregon is more advanced than we are here in the Midwest, because we have not yet developed a similar beer monoculture. (The caveat being, as Alworth points otu, that we are talking about everything outside of industrial pale lagers.) To make reassure myself I’ve rounded up what’s on offer at six of the seven breweries within two and a half miles of our house.

I’m not saying where we live (near that small green park left of central on the map) is typical of St. Louis, Missouri, the Midwest, whatever; just telling you what’s nearby. That Twitter asks if it should translate the menu board at Side Project Brewing from French or tweets from Urban Chestnut Brewing from German may be a sign we don’t fit in quite anywhere.

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Compare and contrast

Late last month I tweeted this compare and contrast after Alan McLeod suggested we could use a “Tree Of Brewing Traditions.” (A fine idea, by the way, so waiting for somebody to step up and do the work.) So you’ll understand why when I first saw the interactive beer wall at Schlafly Bottleworks last week I thought immediately of the ceiling at Strefa Piwa Pub (Beer Zone) in Krakow.

So Bottlesworks at the top, Beer Zone below. The Schlafly map is a work in progress, but right now you can tap one of those circles and details about the beer will pop up on the screen in the center. Wondering what the hops are in American IPA? There they are. Stephen Hale, whose title really is ambassador brewer, says that in a later version customers will be able to tap on any of the hops in that beer, say Amarillo since it is in APIA, and find out what other beers are brewed with that hop.

Of course, I immediately suggested more refinements. Like listing other beers fermented with a POF+ yeast strain when you tap the saison button. This is why I don’t get asked out much.

Interactive beer wall at Schalfly Bottleworks

Ceiling at Beer Zone in Krakow

Brewsters at work

Scratch Brewing and Jester King brewsters at work

Jester King Brewery promoted Averie Swanson to head brewer this week. She replaces Garrett Crowell, who is leaving Jester King with plans to start his own Texas brewery.

That’s Swanson in the background of this photo, with Marika Josephson of Scratch Brewing in the foreground. Swanson joined Jester King co-founder Jeffrey Stuffings and Crowell at Scratch last August, where six brewers assembled collaborated to make a beer that was mashed in wood, boiled in wood, and fermented in wood. Josephson is doing her best to keep wort from boiling over, while Swason stirs the mash for the next batch.

“I’ve never had this much fun,” Swanson said at the time.

Craft Beer Austin has an interview with her.

Monday beer links: Stone beer, DNA silliness & that word that’s not going away


Editorial note: Weekly links will be on unpaid leave the next two Mondays. Regular service will resume Jan. 9 (01.09.2017 or 09.01.2017 depending on where you live).

Craft: The Lost Word.
So let’s head into 2017 with the optimistic thought we’ll quit talking about the word we put before beer and talk about beer itself, brewing, culture, ingredients, geography, or anything that does not involve bickering about a definition of something that which refuses to be defined. [Via Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog]

Beer tailored to your DNA: London brewery creates the perfect pint based your genetic code.
No. Just no. I sense this story has legs, so wherever you read your headlines you’ll keep seeing it, often enough that you might believe that somebody has done a little investigating and established there’s a reason to pay going on $32,000 for 317 gallons of beer. (That’s the equivalent of 3,381 12-ounce servings, so almost $10 for each one.)

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