The State of the Industry
As another year began, I was thinking about the Craft Beer industry and where it might be headed in the future. The industry has grown by leaps and bounds since the turn of the century. Can this continue? With over 3000 breweries in the US, can there be room for more? There are hundreds of IPA's - do we really need another? The answers are yes, yes and I'm always ready to try another IPA. Let's look at a few facts: In 1880 there were 2200 breweries in the US. This was before widespread distribution became possible due to the advent of refrigeration and pasteurization. So, almost every town had a brewery for local consumption. With just over 50 million people in 1880, the number of breweries today could be 13,200. Today, there are national and regional brands and many small local breweries. Most of the new breweries are small and local, operating in neighborhoods or towns. There will be competition, which will raise the quality and diversity of brews. We now have just over 8% of the market here in the US. There will be changes in the coming years. There will be some consolidations of larger brewers to increase efficiencies and merge certain corporate functions that most small brewers don't have the desire or money to do completely. Exports will increase. Breweries continue to open; I opened my e-mail yesterday to discover two more. One in Greenville, SC and the other in Waynesville, NC. Western NC will soon have breweries almost everywhere; there seems to be enough business for everyone. I have heard estimates that Dade county could support 70 or more. We have already started and the ride will continue for the rest of this decade. 20% of the market by 2020? I'll drink to that!
While we are on the subject of brewery openings, there are two opening in Dade county this weekend. MIA Brewing is having it's 'soft' opening Friday in Doral.. (See article below) J Wakefield Brewing will be the third brewery to open in Wynwood - on the same street! We are on our way to 70 here. Another local event this weekend: Funky Buddha Brewery is holding it's annual release of Bacon Maple Porter with an all day festival with a huge variety of brews available. Later in the month, the Jupiter Craft Brewers festival is on January 24th, and the Miami Beer Festival happens at Marlins Park on the 31st. Wherever you are there is sure to be a beer event in the near future!
The "Style of the Month" is Scotch Ale. Scotch ales are reddish brown to dark in color. Also called a 'wee heavy', Scotch ale is usually very malty and has a low hop character. Scottish brewers don't use hops to the degree that Americans do. Traditionally hops were expensive as they had to be imported. Many brewers use old, almost dried up hops in their beers. These days, Scotch styles are unique, thanks to some of the old brewers' stubbornness in keeping to traditional methods. ABV: 6.6 - 8.5 % Pair with roasted or smoked beef or salmon
2015 is going to be a great year!