Those who love to drink beer also love to think beer. The crew at Craft Brewing Business (CBB) is no different. All week long we’re thinking beer. We’re elbow deep in copy, fishing out the best stories in the American brewing industry. That sort of editorial angling causes a mighty thirst. By Friday, the CBB squad is ready to crack open the fridge (or kegerator), pick a beer and discuss this week’s big news in craft brewing. We suggest you do the same thing. Because this isn’t a one-way conversation — we want to hear from you too. Let us know what stories caught your attention and what craft beer you’re looking forward to enjoying in the comments below. Cheers!
Keith Gribbins, editor:
It’s American Craft Beer Week, so indie brewhouses across the nation are throwing parties, slinging suds and celebrating the diversity of localized brewing. Good bless America. With more than 2,400 craft breweries operating in the United States, this week is quite a crazy shindig. After all that celebrating is finished, there’s going to be a whole new generation of folks ready to start their own craft brewery. Not to add to your hangover, but that’s not any easy thing to do. For starters, you need a thoroughly vetted business plan. Just read CBB editor Chris Crowell’s outstanding story this week about FERMÆNTRA, a new brewhouse in Denver, and how the company’s well-constructed business plan has it ready to tackle one of the most saturated beer markets in America. “Craft brewing in Colorado is most definitely a land of competition, but competition breeds excellence,” said co-founder Spencer O’Bryan. “[Our business plan] forced us to consider what we really wanted to accomplish by opening a brewery. We learned that at our core we are about quality, community and transparency.” What’s at the core of your brewery? If you’re thinking about starting one, you best read this article. Cheers.
Craft choice: Heavy Seas Loose Cannon
Jason Morgan, editor:
Pouches! No seriously. Pouches. Regular readers of “Thinkin’ and Drinkin’” may remember my amazement at the availability of beer in pouches. Honestly, I can’t explain my wide-eyed fascination with the unique packaging. Maybe it’s a mix of juice pouch nostalgia and craft beer excitement. Here in Northeast Ohio, I have yet to encounter a beer in a pouch. Maybe it’s time I take a CBB road trip to Connecticut where beer pouches are on their way to being a reality.
Craft choice: Great Lakes Brewing Lake Erie Monster
Chris Crowell, editor:
I admit to being a person that mocked hard ciders, or at least drinkers of it. I just didn’t understand the ethos behind it. If you are going to have a drink, then have a real drink – have a beer. Not spiked apple juice. What are you in junior high? Anyway, that was my way of looking at things. But in the last year, my girlfriend has joined the growing ranks of people realizing that gluten is a problem for them. I was skeptical at first, but as she cut gluten out of her life, you could see major differences in her energy level. She would say “it’s like I was being poisoned,” looking back on her former eating habits and how they affected her daily life. Obviously this is a positive life change for her, but as a beer drinker, this is a problem.
I’ve witnessed her journey to find a new drink of choice, in this post-beer reality, and it doesn’t look fun. Sure, there is wine and mixed drinks, but how do you really replace the feeling of cracking open a refreshing beer? Suddenly, I had a much better understanding of the need for ciders in the market. Now I find myself pointing out new ciders and alternative products to try. What at first seemed like a product without a real audience to me, now seems like a category of beverage that might keep growing and remain a fixture on shelves, and the numbers to this point seem to back that up. Will be interesting to see how the category evolves over time and how many craft pioneers try and jump into the fray. Also, a tip of the cap to those brewers trying out some gluten-free beers as another alternative.
Craft choice: The Brew Kettle Production Works 4 C’s American Pale Ale