How Much Does New Matter

I’ve seen this conversation happen a little more and finally someone decided to write out one of the detriments to the craft brewing industry.

Now, I’m going to set aside the “but the youths” element from that essay-because every craft beer drinker I know, myself included, has looked at a menu, seen something they never saw before and said, ‘that, please’ instead of beers they know and have had before.

And I am no longer a spring chicken. I’ve been legally drinking for almost as long as the craft beer industry has been a thing.

However, I would agree that too many breweries, especially new ones, try to give customers too many options, instead of focusing on 5 or 7 styles and doing them really well.

Are IPAs necessary in this market? Sure. Make two of them, because the demand is there. But is a lager, stout or amber ale going to be unwise? Heck no; those are styles customers, even customers who aren’t incredibly savvy to the beer market, are going to recognize.

That leaves a couple taps left over and there are a lot of options; from seasonal rotators (that means 3-4 months of one beer, so brewers can refine the recipe and customers can get used to the product) to just some different options; hefes or saisons or brown ales. Whatever; just get a set of beers locked in, with some options for the brewers to experiment as well!

This, I want to note, is one reason why I do the “Common Ales” series. Picking up a beer at a Fred Meyer or Safeway means that my options narrow down. Plus, it let’s be come back to beers that are tried and true, so I don’t lose sight of the history.

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4 thoughts on “How Much Does New Matter”

  1. Wait, they’re brewing beers now with gym instructors sweat?

    Sounds WAY better than “beard yeast” beer any day.

  2. On a more serious note: I completely agree with the sentiment here. You don’t have to give me new all the time. I like new, but I’ll take good over new any day of the week.

    As for breweries that make five different varieties of the same beer, I can think of several offenders off the top of my head. And it’s disappoint to go in and find that nothing has changed, because there are five different hazy IPAs that all taste and look alike.

  3. This is why I also like 33 Acres in Vancouver, because they have set aside a separate space for trying out new things. The main bar is where you find their five or six dialed-in and consistent offerings, which never change; next door is where they do everything new, but not with the goal of knocking stuff off the board next door.

    1. I really like that notion, but I acknowledge that breweries have to get ‘up to speed’ in a way and even tried and true recipes get tweaked over time. Every major brewery has done it, especially in the first few years, in order to get what they wanted.

      Still, a little more stability would be good.

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