A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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W.W.W. -

We get it - big is bad.

Chris -

Yeah, apparently the seasonal beers aren't doing so well. They really pushed the summer stuff out early. And despite what they said in the earnings release, I still have no idea why they did this.


Alan -

Whose is "we", Wuhwuhwuh? Are they two handpuppets behind that comment?

Velky Al -

Perhaps it serves to demonstrate that the 'boom' in craft beer is really not much more than smaller breweries picking up a greater share of a dwindling market? With additional brewing companies constantly starting up, the share of the non-macro market will just be further segmented until the point where the market can no longer sustain so many companies. Macro beer, regardless of the splashing in the shallow end of the craft beer evangelists, will only fall so far in terms of market share, and so eventually the bubble of craft beer will have to burst, at which point the bigger companies will pick off the brands that could still have life in them and many will simply go to the wall.

Alan -

A grim foretelling you give. But likely. The proponents of the utter paradigm shift seem to have no idea how tenacious money is in protecting the interests of money - not to mention how the dreams of the cottage craftsman turn also to money when the availability of money is made clear. It is not for nuttin' that Dr. Johnson recognized "...the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice."

Jeff Alworth -

It's the flagship, baby. In the 1980s and 1990s, if you could boost your flagship to mainstream status, you were golden ... until the novelty curve arrived. Now companies trying to sell the same beer they had back in the mid-80s are finding it harder and harder. Jim Koch was wise to go national--finding new customers is a way of goosing the novelty curve, but eventually you run out of new people.

So far I don't know any brewery that is succeeding by growing the flagship. For companies like Widmer and Boston Beer that are reliant on them, this poses certain challenges.

Jeff Alworth -

I should amend that to say I don't know any large craft brewery that is growing the flagship. (That's why Boston Beer, Widmer, and Sierra Nevada all have so many new products.)

Alan -

But I think what they are saying is not that the flagship is failing but that the whole beer production side is slipping. That might be because, say, 90% of of their beer is flagship, however, so we may be saying the same thing.

Marc -

I think where I live, in the Chicago area, there are too many other options instead of Sam Adams. Local and regional options which craft beer drinkers here prefer. I imagine this is the case in enough parts of the country that it hurts Boston Beer. Sam Adams faces competition from all sides really...sucks to be them.

Jeff Alworth -

Yes, I believe the big part of Boston Beer's production is Boston Lager, though I don't have the actuals.

Martyn Cornell -

Eqjually pertinent, why weren't their financial PR people managing the analysts' expectations more realistically? If the analysts say they expect your eps to rise, that's because the message the company has been putting out has been hinting at just that. If eps then, instead, falls, you've made the analysts look like a bunch of no-nothing losers, which ain't gonna help when it comes to them making recommendations to investors about your company.