Here’s a hint:
1) We’re in the middle of a craft brewing boom, with more than a dozen breweries and distilleries in operation nationwide—more than at any other time since Prohibition—making craft beer (and cider) an increasingly viable option for consumers.
2) Beer is selling by the truckload in America—growing at a rate greater than inflation and higher than any time in over a century—helped along by several factors: declining unemployment, growing demographics, more choices for consumers at less expensive prices, and an increasingly sophisticated craft beer industry.
3) The craft beer industry may be expanding at an impressive clip. “The number of craft breweries will grow from nearly 20 to over 150 by 2020, up from roughly 400 today,” according to the Brewers Association. This number, of course, doesn’t include the many small and independent breweries that still struggle to break even. (The Brewers Association notes that “The number of breweries actually closed in 2016 was nearly the same as the increase in total breweries over 2015.”) While a decline in the number of breweries is a fair concern (though the number of craft-related jobs is still growing at the rate of the overall economy), the actual number of craft-related jobs is still booming (see chart below).
4) Craft-beer brewers are increasingly working together to make the same beer in as many styles as possible. “Consumers are responding enthusiastically to the variety that’s available on the market,” says Dan Wood, communications director for the Brewers Association. The organization is hosting an Industry Summit to explore the relationship between brewers and distributors. The goal is to promote the importance of craft beer to consumers, Wood says.
5) Small-scale producers are embracing beer as an alternative to other beverage products, or as a way to experiment and market their products. Some of that experimentation involves creating “artisanal beers” out of natural ingredients—like a honey maple smoked saison or a porter brewed from peppercorns, for example—that are sold by small brewers. That’s part of why the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver this year brought together brewers, distillers, and the beer industry for one-day workshops focused on “craft beer as a commodity-based industry.” (Last month’s conference in Seattle had the same theme.) Other efforts to diversify beer consumption include efforts by craft spirits companies and microbrewers to offer craft beer as an alternative to traditional products. All this experimentation and change is helping drive demand for craft beer,
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