Craft Brewing Business Closings

There’ve also been a lot of openings, but the number and scale of the closings is pretty surprising.

I expect there to be more once the fads burn themselves out.

9000+ breweries, there’s bound to be some shrinkage. Sadly, even some good breweries wont make it. Hermit Thrush of Vermont just closed, they were unique and made special brews. I don’t miss another silly named purveyor of endless IPA (insert local brewery here).

The “shrinkage” you describe is probably the result of that >9,000 number having more than doubled in 8 years. Such Lemmingesque growth is unsustainable, and is forcing many (who can’t afford to advertise and distribute their way to brand recognition) over the cliff.

The shelves are too crowded.

Yes, exactly. At one of my favored markets, they resort to piling beer cartons in the aisles, and there is relatively little beer that can be purchased refrigerated. At other, smaller markets, they’ve resorted to converting their walk-ins into “Beer Caves” with various states of lighting, safety and disarray.

As with television, there are too many selections, too many duplications, and too much vying for attention.

It seems the micro/craft brew surge is focused much more on marketing and less on sourcing great ingredients. Like anything you make at home: mediocre ingredients, mediocre food. But, put that mediocre product in a sweet lookin’ can/bottle, might have a seller. IMHO, most are mediocre at best. I’m done spending $3-$10 a can/bottle and getting ho-hum, or even shtty, brew. I don’t care how the cool the packaging is. I was very proud of my beer can collection when I was wee. I’d have a helluva collection these days.


That’s precisely where we are. When I was making wine, I learned that the right label designer was an important if not crucial initial investment. What you decided on, you largely stuck with, and because of this steadiness, you got a leg up on shelf recognition and shopper return.

Now, with many, many canned micro beers, there’s a new “label” for every product the brewer offers. It turns the shopping experience into something akin to flipping LPs in a used record store.

Yes, but LPs with new, pretty covers.

I think with the increased prices for raw ingredients, we’ll keep seeing the same. It’s like I’m buying homebrew in a cutesy can.

It’s the US, baby! Whatever sells.

In today’s world with many apps, discussion boards it is quite easy for beer, wine, food etc. (as this discussion can be extended far beyond just beer) to easily determine before you buy something if it is most likely good for your taste.


Don’t forget the pun-ridden and/or vaguely smutty names.

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I hear you andi the the way you put it. Whooped my ass in concisitity.

that was a special place, sorry to hear about its closing.

Whenever I go to a new to me microbrewery I order a flight of 4 or 5 beers. At most brewpubs I will have 1 beer that is good and perhaps 1 marginal, the rest are not good or borderline dreck. The recurring theme for me, (which may be due to your note about mediocre ingredients), is that the Pilseners are usually some of the worst offenders while the sours and the IPA’s have a better chance to be acceptable. Pilseners tend to at least nod to the Reinheitsgebot and perhaps this “simplicity” of ingredients means that they rely more on the quality thereof? Not sure. I cut my teeth on Pilseners in the Czech Republic so I may be spoiled by Staropramen and locally brewed Pilsener Urquel, so there is that.
But I have drank so many bad Scotch Ales, Porters and Stouts that I hesitate to even add them to the flights. And for Gods sake, would they stop the “add a fruit to your beer” nonsense! OK, I may be in the minority on that last one, but if you need a lemon or blueberry to make your beer acceptable, it probably is not good beer.
I am looking at you first, Corona!
And those Weissbiers hiding behind the bar are only a bit less guilty!

My favorite website for beer is BeerAdvocate. I imagine there are dozens more but that is the one I check on first.


This is because you already know good pils. You might feel the same way about sours if you had similar depth of experience in Belgium. As for IPAs, I think they’re mostly an artificial construct at this point.

I don’t mind an occasional beer brewed with fruit, but it better be subtle. Beers hopped to create over the top tropical fruity esters make me want to scream. Death to all beer fads.

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You will be disappointed to hear that IPA aren’t a fad. Within craft beer (I don’t count any of the mass produced horse piss beers like Heineken, Coors, Budweiser etc) the IPA sales (especially NEIPA) are still growing and perhaps more interesting when we were back in Europe recently it is obvious that even in Germany the breweries are starting to change and offer quite a variety of IPA which is continuously growing - quality-wise they are most of the time not on the same level as good IPAs in the US but even restaurants have now IPA quite regularly on their drink menu


Yeah, IPA has some historical roots, and it’s a style. But it’s become completely faddish and loose from its moorings. That the fad has yet to peak is hardly a disproof of that, but it is sad.

yet to peak. OMG, that scares me. Too many ipa’s.

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It’s hard to hide flaws in true Pilsners. IPA’s, add something, more hops, fruit, anything and ramp up the bitterness over all else…

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Too many terrible IPAs. They try to hide behind the hops, or seek to be the least bad among the peculiar, arcane variants. We now append letters to ‘IPA’ to attempt to distinguish them.

I wonder when the last barrels of IPA went around the Cape, and if anyone’s alive today who actually tasted one. Or, better yet, whether anyone today would even drink what once docked in the Raj.