I find the obsession with the fortunes of the brewing industry overall a bit odd. For me, there is no real connection between the rate of beer consumption here in Canada and my own personal interest in both the trade and the product. So, I am always interested in the new reasons given for the collapse or expansion of brewing generally or by sector as with this story from Deutsche Welle:
"There's a very simple explanation," he told Deutsche Welle. "The socio-demographic development in Germany is the way it is, and it means that for the last 30 years and more, the beer market has shrunk by between one and two percent every year. So with this year's fall of 1.7 percent, we're in the normal range." The message might fly in the face of regular newspaper reports about binge-drinking, but Germany's aging population means less beer, and less alcohol in general, is being consumed. "The number of German beer-drinkers is going down, and in the last ten years, another 500,000 weren't born - so to speak – who could take their place," Huhnholz added. "Meanwhile, the older age groups – who used to drink a lot of beer – have got older, are working less and drinking less."
This is called a "tragedy" and "demoralizing" but I am not sure why. Isn't it just a fact? I mean, it is not like the brewers of Germany are going to now advocate for or, say, sponsor programs to increase birth rates, are they? As with comments about beer drinkers by wine drinkers, it all seems a bit overblown and a call to a cause that is utterly irrelevant to one's own interests.
Is there really a danger to us all? I am not sure. The only dangers to me are that I cannot obtain what I want or, if it is available, it costs too much. What is the effect of a wine snob, lower birthrates or confused artsy farsty beer on the marketplace? As far as I can tell they each help me out in their own way by keeping the interest in good beer so niche or disrespected that one way or another supply outstrips demand. And, based in part on that healthy disrespect, when gouging does seem to rear its ugly head, well, it still gets rightly slapped down. Excellent. There is nothing finer than having an interest that too few share. Like anyone who collects 8-track recordings knows, we all benefit by the forces that keep our beer affordable.