All the Beer News that’s fit to drink… or something…
Much is happening in the world of craft beer… the news comes fast and furious and it is easy to miss things. From new breweries opening to old breweries doing something new to the business and legal side of things, there is never a dull moment. Some of the news items that have caught my eye over the last few weeks are these:
- Sierra Nevada to start canning Pale Ale. Not exclusively, but as an alternative, the flagship beer of one of the granddaddys of the all (and the EPA’s Green Business of the Year for 2010) will soon be available in cans. This is a trend that has really taken hold in recent years, as cans are better for the environment, cheaper, and actually store beer better than bottles. Several smaller breweries are doing it, but with Sierra Nevada stepping up, I think you are going to see a huge move towards cans over bottles.
- In a time in history where there seems to be no place or desire for compromise and common ground, it appears that there is one thing the Left and the Right can agree on: beer is good. The bill is called the Brewer’s Employment and Excise Relief — or BEER — Act. Introduced by Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry and Idaho Republican Mike Crapo, and subsequently co-sponsored by nine other Democrats and eight other Republicans the bill essentially allows smaller, craft breweries to compete on a more level playing field with the giant corporate macro brewers.
- If there was any doubt about the growing popularity of the craft beer movement, chew on these sweet nuggets of data: there are now over 1700 breweries in the United States, the most at any time since the year 1900. Sure, you say, that’s great, but are they successful? Here is nugget #2: In 2010, small and independent craft brewers saw volume increase 11% and retail sales dollars increase 12% over 2009.
- Finally, on a less positive note, there are those in our government who would like to stop the direct shipping of wine and beer to consumers. Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz has introduced the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness (CARE) Act that would essentially end direct shipping of wine and other forms of alcohol in the United States, or at least put major roadblocks in front of lawsuits by consumers and wineries trying to reduce restrictions on direct shipping. I find it troublesome that, with everything this country is struggling with, anyone in Congress would make this a priority, especially when it could adversely affect small businesses.
Much to look forward this Spring with new releases and festivals, so drink up! Cheers!