Wine Drinkers, Meet Beer Drinkers—Your New Allies

Beer-WineUSA Today outlines the incredible explosion of Craft Beer.

There are 2,500 breweries in the U.S. And, USA Today reports, there are another 1,600 in the planning stages in 2013. Sales of independent craft brewers were up 15% over last year. A total of 7.3 million barrels of craft beer will be sold this year. 4.4 million were sold in 2009.

Does this sound familiar?

It should if you were part of the wine industry in the late 1980s and 1990s when artisan wine exploded. You can bet that the very same issues that impacted small wineries that could not find distributors to carry their product and were forced to pry open the three-tier system for direct shipping will be and are being faced by the craft brewers.

The brewers will have it easier than the wineries only because the wineries showed them the way, but not that much easier. Count on the  beer wholesalers and their professional associations fighting tooth and nail to prevent direct shipping and brewery to retailer sales.

The good thing for all artisan-minded beer and wine professionals is that this new surge in the craft brewing and the politics that will follow it will put even greater pressure on what is an entirely archaic and unworkable three-tier system for anyone other than big wholesalers and big brewers.

Welcome to the fight, brewers!



3 Responses

  1. Kris Olof - September 23, 2013

    Agree 100%. The explosion in craft beer has been great for the small wine industry. Getting people used to trying something different beer wise directly translates to wine. The same guy who starts bringing local IPAs to a party instead of “light beer” is the same guy who will bring a local Barbera to dinner rather than a “red” or “white”. The future of the wine industry is in league with craft brewers.

  2. Carl - September 24, 2013

    I don’t see the connection marketing wise. Most craft beer producers do there own distribution in a area depending on output. When they grow large enough they get bought by one of big guys who leave them alone production wise, but market the product nationally. Two examples in this area that have gone that rout are Shipyard and Harpoon.

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