Visit the Brewery. Please. And before I get in trouble, this is not an attack on distributors, retailers, restauranteurs, etc. NOT AT ALL. But … visit the brewery.
As a licensed beer snob*, I could not be any happier about the explosion of craft breweries over the past decade. What used to be the rarity, finding a local craft brewery is now the norm. According to the Brewers Association, there were approximately 1,800 craft breweries in the US in 2010; almost 6,000 by 2016; and nearly 10,000 by the end of 2022. This is absolutely a great time to be alive! However, with the onslaught of new breweries comes an inevitable issue of sustainability. If craft beer consumption is a relatively finite number, more breweries equals less market share for each. Unless the pie grows, many breweries will get a smaller piece as new competitors enter the marketplace. No, I am not an economic, and this is about beer not math.
What has been predicted for a long time is beginning to happen with greater frequency. Your local craft breweries are starting to make the painful and difficult decision to close their doors. Listen – I get it. In some instances, it’s not a great brewery or has personnel issues or is stuck in a terrible location. We’re rarely shocked when these situations force closure. What I’m focusing on today are the ones that seemingly come out of nowhere.
In days of yore (i.e. a few months ago), I would come across a Facebook post about a brewery set to close and explore with mild curiosity to learn which was closing. Usually, that led to either “never heard of it” or “that doesn’t surprise me.” Recently however, I am now researching those posts quickly and with trepidation, fearing the worst for ‘my’ brewery. It’s starting to hit closer to home, and I don’t like it. So, back to the title of this diatribe – Visit the Brewery.
This is my plea to give the best support to your brewery. Yes, it’s all well and good to buy from the local grocery store or package store; and yes, we should order local craft when we’re at the watering hole or corner tavern. But every one of those sales has other sets of hands in there, pulling some of the profit. Do you know want to know a pro tip** on how to provide the best support to the brewery?
Visit the Brewery
There are myriad advantages to YOU, the consumer, but it’s also beneficial for the company … the artists who create those tantalizing elixirs.
- Beer is at its best when enjoyed directly from the tap where it is manufactured. THIS is what the brewmaster envisioned when creating it.
No – I don’t mean literally from the tap. That would be gross.
- Beer is about community. Saddle up to the bar and get to know the other people who love the same place you do.
- This is best opportunity to try several flavors and styles. Unless uber crowded, most breweries I have visited enjoy talking about their product and want to help you find something you’ll love.
- Every dollar spent there stays there. There are no merchandisers, distributors, retailers, etc who get their fair share of the tab. Every dollar spent there stays there.
- You can support the staff! The people who work there everyday, listening to an unending sea of people saying things like “This IPA is too hoppy. What do you have that tastes like Blue Moon?” deserve to interact with people who appreciate a good pint and a good time. And generous gratuities are readily accepted as well.
This is a win-win. And it’s a small thing we can all to do to support those places that we cherish. I don’t want to ever have to think these thoughts again:
- They always look so full
- Everyone loves their stuff
- They’ve been here forever
Cheers! And I’m hitting my neighborhood brewery at 5pm. See ya there!
*No I don’t actually know of or have a ‘beer snob’ license. Maybe we should work on that next?
**It’s not really a pro tip – this is pretty flipping obvious, right?