Is This the Real Craft Beer Bubble?


Last week I spent time writing about the perception of the craft beer bubble and what that meant.

Then this weekend I spent Saturday afternoon at All About Beer magazine’s annual World Beer Festival in Durham and I started to wonder, is this the real bubble we’re talking about?

The commonality of discussions about the idea of a bubble, what a bubble is and what it could be may neglect an underlying fact I find comes up often: our craft beer bubble has as much to do with people as business practices.

But not just people. Not just new craft beer fans. Band wagoners.

Josh over at Short on Beer recently touched on this when he posted the question “do we want more people to like craft beer?

Maybe it’s a little yes. Maybe a little no.

My response to our inebriated lady friend was to do what makes her happy. Just please make sure she doesn’t get so happy she projectile happys all over my feet.

Because that’s not a bubble I want to be a part of.

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac


8 thoughts on “Is This the Real Craft Beer Bubble?

  1. How old was said lady? That seems like a youngin’s mindset.

    1. This is true – I’d guess she was in the late 20s/early 30s range.

      Because, you know, PARTYPARTYPARTY.

  2. It is a good question to ask if we want more people to like Craft Beer. It’s a hard yes and no. Going to a beer festival the person who annoys me the most is that guy or girl who is puking themselves silly at a beer fest knowing this person usually does this with drinking a few Buds on most days. On they flipside you want things you like to succeed. When you make friends with brewers who make your beer then you want nothing more than for them to succeed and be prosperous. It is a catch 22 to say the least.

    1. You take the good with the bad. It just so happens that the “bad” in this case have a propensity to be loud, occasionally obnoxious and sometimes vomit-inducing.

  3. Presumably she likes the taste, though. Otherwise she would be drinking O.E. 800 or Country Club. Young people are going to party…why not have them party on good beer. A keg of Sierra Nevada is only about .30 cents more per beer than a keg of Natty Light, which is probably close to a wash, if the amount you have to drink to get drunk is one of your factors.

    Hell, the price of Lagunitas, Flying Dog, etc. at the grocery store are very competitive. And most of these partiers will continue to drink, they’ll just slow down as they age up and transition to more mature drinking. But instead of thinking that mature drinking is not only slowing down, but switching from Natty Lite to something tastier like wine or sophisticated cocktails…perhaps, because they know beer can be tasty, they’ll slow down and venture further into craft beer.

    Some might see these people as a sign of a bubble. I see them as a craft beer bubble insurance policy or credit default swap…or whatever fancy bubble hedge word works. At least that’s what I tell myself because I don’t think there is really a bubble (or want to think there isn’t one). It’s just normal market expansion and contraction, as there are no real market distorting factors at play. And my comment has gotten too long because I forgot to write a session post.

    1. I think what piqued my curiosity about this interaction was a thought of – “I wonder how these kind of people factor into data for craft beer and beer sales?”

      There’s obviously a wide variety of demographics that buy, sell, promote craft beer and I doubt the segment of “LET’S GET DRUNK FASTER” is significant enough to rock the boat, but they just rock the boat in a loud and unfortunate way. By being asses.

      However, I’m still happy they enjoy craft beer. I just hope (and wish) they learn to do so not for the sake of getting bombed in 30 minutes instead of an hour.

  4. I bet partiers factor in. There is no way the entire craft beer market is made up of twats like us (beer nerds) and occasional drinkers. This is especially true when one considers that Sam Adams factors in to craft beer market share stats.

  5. And I would like to note that during this visit to your site, the rotating beer label header at the top was ALL Great Lakes labels. That has to be like all sevens or cherries or whatever on a slot machine. I should totally win something!

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