Are we heading toward craft beer ruination? Are there too many microbreweries in America? Is every home brewer going to quit their day job to open up a brewery?
The answer to all of these questions: probably not. “Probably,” because it’s just not feasible that everyone who ever had a dream to be a craft brewer is going to open up a brew pub. Just like those pre-adolescent thoughts of becoming an astronaut don’t materialize for most of the population, becoming a legitimate brewer is also a pipe-dream.
Still, there are 2,500 breweries in the US right now. Some are suggesting that that’s way too many. The Brewer’s Association is refuting all talk of a potential craft brewery bubble, and posted a blog post comparing previous bubble blunders in other industries to the slow and steady (read: healthy) growth of the craft industry.
However, the annual National Beer Wholesaler’s Convention was held in Las Vegas last week, with a panel featuring the head honchos from some of the biggest breweries (only one craft brewery, Dogfish Head, was represented). They were bemoaning the decline of beer distribution across the board.
Doesn’t this sound like the beer apocalypse is around the corner? No.
Yes, we have more choices than ever before in the world of beer. That’s a good thing. Is it true that some breweries will not make it in the long run? Yes. But that’s also a good thing. Not everyone is supposed to be a brewer. Just like everyone isn’t cut out to space walk and drink Tang in zero gravity. And if there is a slight decline in distribution, maybe we’re just looking at a “correction” in the market. For the time being there are plenty of good brews to go around. And maybe, just maybe, a few less beers are being carted around in trucks and being purchased and enjoyed at the local pub. Bubblicious - a frothy beer bubble?
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