Craft Beer Market is Overcrowded [Link]

August 06, 2014 by Gabe | [mmd] | ℳ↫

Related to the previous post, Joshua Bernstein writes about the increasingly crowded craft beer market:

I’m onboard with America abandoning middle-of-the-road beer and exploring flavorful new directions. The highway, however, is getting mighty crowded. Hundreds of different beers debut weekly, creating a scrum of session IPAs, spiced witbiers, and barrel-aged stouts scuffling for shelf space. For consumers, the situation is doubly confusing. How can you pick a pint on a 100-brew tap list? Moreover, beer shops are chockablock with pale this and imperial that, each one boasting a different hop pun. When buying beer, I can’t count how many times I’ve assisted overwhelmed shoppers, playing the benevolent Sherpa in the wilds of modern brewing.

This is actually a good thing. There needs to be churn and invention so that new and better ideas bubble to the top. In fact, Joshua gives a great example:

Yes, last year, craft beer accounted for just 7.8 percent of the market, but consumers are fickle. When I was in high school, Red Wolf and Pete’s Wicked Ale were the rage. Remember them? Probably not.

I do remember Pete's Wicked Ale. It's still around and making a bunch of beer, but craft beer today is generally better and more complex than Pete's. Cheers to overcrowding.