Beer has been an essential part of human culture since its creation in 1800 BC. Today, modern brewing has become a culture in and of its self. It has evolved into Beer Geeks, unique social platforms dedicated to beers, underground beer trading, and over 7,000 unique craft breweries across the country.
With so much competition, breweries have had to evolve, and many turn to creating the most unique brews imaginable. You can find anything from beer brewed with pickle juice to sour punch straws to waffle cones. And that’s what is trending now. Even the most traditional breweries have been adjusting their brewing methods to include off-the-wall brews that fly off the shelves.
The craft beer industry has grown exponentially in recent years and has proven that while craft used to be a niche hobby, it now carries more than 25% of the $116 billion dollar beer market. Major brewing companies have acquired various craft beer brands to add to their brewing portfolio. Smaller breweries have stayed true to their roots and are steadfast in their independent label. While some consumers may prefer to buy from independent brewers rather than those that were bought out, the true measure of success is the beer.
Word spreads fast within the craft beer community. Multiple social media platforms like Unappd have been created for the sole purpose of reviewing and rating beers and breweries. This website can also be used by restaurants and bars to continually update their never-ending tap list.
Bringing the craft beer industry online has surely contributed to its growth. But does any keyboard warrior have anything significant to say about the industry? There are some reports that say the fall of the craft beer industry has already begun. When the only way to get truly noticed on the vast shelves of specialty stores (and even big box liquor stores like Total Wine and Specs) is a flashy can design and far-out flavors, is there room for classic beers done right? Not many craft breweries in the DFW area are taking advantage of this seemingly untapped potential. But with shelves full of Miller-Coors, Bud’s and Imports, what is the true formula for success in craft beer?
It all brews down to the beer… and the marketing. Brand partnerships have been the latest trend in the beer industry. Martin House partnered with Best Maid pickles on their pickle beer that has now spanned 5 variations, and a jar of beer pickles, that have continuously sold out. 3 Nations Brewing has partnered with the American Candy Company to brew a watermelon sour punch straw brew that uses dozens of pounds of the candy in each batch. New Belgium and Ben & Jerry’s created a Salted Caramel Brown Ale and ale ice cream whose proceeds benefited a climate change charity. There are many more times when brands have come together and aligned their values in the quest for creativity. These craft beer partnerships demonstrate brands working together collaboratively, being open minded and sharing ideas. This is the new frontier of craft beer.