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Monday beer briefing: Exit through the comments

07.29.19, BEER AND WINE LINKS

1) Authenticity and automation.
2) We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Pack, Pt. 2 — How 15-Packs Changed the Game for AB InBev’s Craft Segment.
3) The Macro-ization of Craft.
4) Watch the Hands, Not the Cards — The Magic of Megabrew.
Deep into 1), Alan McLeod quotes a clothing blog and provides context for much that was written last week. Here’s where the words took me. McLeod follows Permanent Style’s riff on authenticity, heritage and craft with this thought: ”Interesting. Given most ‘craft’ beer is made on computerized set ups that manage much of the process automatically, the comparison may well be a useful one.

2) is one of four relevant posts at Good Beer Hunting last week (read them all). In 3), Jeff Alworth concludes something of a recap of those by writing, “More and more, customers are going to think of ‘craft beer’ as just beer, and expect to see it priced accordingly. And guess who’s positioned best to take advantage of that?”

When he posted those words on Twitter it led to conversations about price and access that are still going on (and include @agoodbeerblog). I added 4) to the conversation, but the smartest reply, I thought, was from Mike Kallenberger’s: “Or will craft split into quasi-macro and hyper-local (which will carry on some but not all craft values as we’ve known them)? Seven thousand+ breweries can’t all be macro-ized.”

Already plenty to think about, but I will add this. When we talk about “most” craft beer what are we talking about? The largest 50 Brewers Association-define craft breweries produced 55.1 percent of beer brewed by all the BA-defined craft breweries in 2018, and that number would have been larger if Lagunitas, Blue Moon, Goose Island, Elysian and so on were included. They are highly automated, as are plenty more breweries much or somewhat smaller.

So, yes, most of the quantity of beer brewed is computer enabled. However, if we count each unique beer (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Halfway Crooks Sanguine, etc.) then maybe the number of hands-on on beers exceeds those untouched by human hands.

P.S. Karl Ockert, really and truly one of the “micro brewer” pioneers, added this comment to 3): “From a starry eyed early micro brewer; I have to express my disappointment that many new ‘Craft’ breweries tend to be more business plan than beer focused. Their beers beers are safe and uninspiring, the pubs sterile, the appeal is mass market. The IPA style I helped create has been beaten to a bloody pulp. The priority is not to innovate but rather to profiteer. This is not why we started all this.”

5) Short & Shoddy|New England IPA.
6) Changes Mostly for the Best at OBF.
Beer, and much that surrounds it, is constantly changing.

SENSORY

7) Can we find out whether we really can tell red wine from white?
This is a fact: “It is quite certain that ‘tasting’ involves our mouth, our nose and our eyes — the brain needs all three to decide what it is drinking, and whether it likes it.

WINE

8) Filipino Sommeliers and the Western Bias in Wine Tasting.
9) Can’t Knock the Hustle: Hip Hop and the Future of Wine.
10) “Leave poetry to poets… I want to know whether I’ll like a wine or not”
11) 15 Helpful Words for Talking About Wine.
Making, or at least trying to make, wine more inclusive.

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MORE LINKS

ReadBeer, every day.
Alan McLeod, most Thursdays.
Good Beer Hunting’s Read Look Drink, most Fridays.
Boak & Bailey, most Saturdays.

2 Responses to Monday beer briefing: Exit through the comments

  1. Mike Kallenberger July 30, 2019 at 6:05 am #

    Thanks for the call-our, Stan. And for what it’s worth, my article in the September/October issue of The New Brewer will be on whether the role of innovation is changing in the age of macro-ization.

  2. Gary Gillman August 5, 2019 at 1:52 am #

    The “we” getting into all this included the customer base which differed widely in degree of knowledge, dedication, social philosophy, but I suspect this applied to the early craft brewers as well.

    As an original customer, the reason I admired many small brewers was simply the products they made, as large brewers had given up on that level of quality. But how far the brewers were committed to the bottom line was up to them.

    Macro-ization therefore, in my opinion, is a kind of misleading term, or at least doesn’t fully explain what is going on.

    Finally, even as I don’t find macro craft IPA particularly wanting, I will always support small brewers, the good ones, mainly because they offer a diversity of taste and quality mass brewers aren’t hard-wired to provide, not because of independence of ownership, scale of production or related technology, etc.

    Gary

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