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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: yso191 on March 28, 2013, 07:58:13 PM

Title: Craft beer sociology
Post by: yso191 on March 28, 2013, 07:58:13 PM
I am a very amateur sociologist.  In other words I love thinking about it, but I know very little...

Anyway, I was musing this morning as I was driving around, about an ongoing discussion point: The craft beer brewery movement, and its stopping/contracting/ point. 

So I am interested in actual demonstrable dynamics that have fueled this change from the macro-brew to the micro-brew in an effort to better understand when the pace will slow, stop or reverse, and why.

A few of these dynamics that I think are fueling the move are:
 *the cultural shift away from brand loyalty (i.e. my dad was a Ford guy - I've owned 6 different brands)
 *the shift toward local sourcing of food (i.e. the "Know your farmer's name" bumper sticker)
 *the new social phenomenon largely brought on by the internet: Affinity Groups. (I'm a beer guy -            therefore I know beer in its various forms and makers)
 *the homebrewing movement.  Nobody is going to just brew BMC clones!
 *the Baby Boomer-and-beyond value: "Just give us the best, we'll figure out how to pay for it."

On the other side of the coin, the biggest (IMO) barrier to the craft beer movement is the 'no-nonsense,' utilitarian mindset that many men have: "Just give me a beer!  I don't need any of that froo-froo crap!
On this note I have had a bartender say to me: "Oh yeah you're that guy that likes the fancy beer."  I thought: "You're an idiot." at the very same time I felt a small desire to communicate my masculinity to him.  Oh, and by fancy beer he meant Fat Tire which just happened to be the beer they had which had the most flavor

Then of course there is cost.

So those are my thoughts, what would you add?
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: euge on March 28, 2013, 10:35:51 PM
First of all mr fancy pants bartender hopefully didn't get a tip! Anyway, I brew because it is a masculine thing to do!
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: a10t2 on March 28, 2013, 10:56:50 PM
I think this growth in the overall *number* of breweries will continue for years, if not decades. There will be some high-profile shakeouts in the large "craft" breweries (say, 100,000 barrels and up) as they try to expand into one another's markets. But any town with a few thousand people can support at least one brewpub, and the vast majority don't have one yet. In most of the country, small breweries are still confined to large cities, but as their influence continues to grow they'll jump-start interest in local beers in smaller markets as well.

A lot of the seemingly huge number of breweries that have opened in the past few years are nanos (which I would define as being under 1,000 bbl and serving no food). I do think that the closure rate for nanos is going to stabilize at a very high level, rivaling or exceeding that of restaurants. But there will always be thousands, perhaps many thousands, of them open at any given time, simply because the barriers to entry are so low.

First of all mr fancy pants bartender hopefully didn't get a tip! Anyway, I brew because it is a masculine thing to do!

Historically, it's a very feminine thing to do!
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: euge on March 29, 2013, 12:27:27 AM
I know it was but now we have the reins.
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: klickitat jim on March 29, 2013, 02:04:58 AM
I think it's all of the above. There is also a going prepper movement. What's the point of surviving the zombie apocalypse if there's no beer. Followed by, now that o know how, how do I make it better?

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: Slowbrew on March 29, 2013, 11:15:17 AM
Don't forget to include the effects of 600 TV networks and 100s, if not 1000s of radio stations, being available.  Most of which aren't worth a damn but the simple idea that we don't have a "common American experience" anymore is driving quite a bit of change in our society.  Back in the day when we had 3 TV channels and 9 or 10 AM stations to choose from your peer group all had the same experience.  Some of that still happens but you see it less and less.  Basically, no social pressure to conform allows you to choose what you want.  In our case that is beer and food with flavor.

Craft beer will continue to grow but its growth patterns will drift.

No jokes this morning, sorry still waking up.

Paul
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: jklinck on March 29, 2013, 11:54:41 AM
I think it's all of the above. There is also a going prepper movement. What's the point of surviving the zombie apocalypse if there's no beer. Followed by, now that o know how, how do I make it better?

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

I always tell people if the world ends that I know how to make beer and am an excellent shot so I'm pretty much set.
Title: Craft beer sociology
Post by: majorvices on March 29, 2013, 12:10:23 PM
When people say that craft beer is froo-froo I usually launch into a loud and annoying diatribe about how light beer was first made to target woman, and that men who drink it are pussies.
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: Slowbrew on March 29, 2013, 02:23:19 PM
When people say that craft beer is froo-froo I usually launch into a loud and annoying diatribe about how light beer was first made to target woman, and that men who drink it are pussies.

One of Keith's rules of "How to win friends and influence people".   ;D

Paul
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: morticaixavier on March 29, 2013, 02:38:04 PM
Don't forget to include the effects of 600 TV networks and 100s, if not 1000s of radio stations, being available.  Most of which aren't worth a damn but the simple idea that we don't have a "common American experience" anymore is driving quite a bit of change in our society.  Back in the day when we had 3 TV channels and 9 or 10 AM stations to choose from your peer group all had the same experience.  Some of that still happens but you see it less and less.  Basically, no social pressure to conform allows you to choose what you want.  In our case that is beer and food with flavor.

Craft beer will continue to grow but its growth patterns will drift.

No jokes this morning, sorry still waking up.

Paul

add to that the internet 'radio' station that is tailored to exactly what you want to listen to and internet news agregators that are tailored to show YOU exactly the news YOU are interested in. talk about a loss of common experience!
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: HoosierBrew on March 29, 2013, 02:54:04 PM
When people say that craft beer is froo-froo I usually launch into a loud and annoying diatribe about how light beer was first made to target woman, and that men who drink it are pussies.
  +1.   I have given a diatribe or two over the years to that effect.  Not generally well received!

         I believe one of the many factors driving the growth of craft beer is now that, legality aside, there are actually 17 year old kids trying/stealing their Dad's craft beer, instead of their Dad's BMC, as in my youth.  In other words, there are kids that, by the time they're old enough to buy beer, have been exposed to beer styles and good beer.  Every good liquor store I go into has a line of barely 21 guys buying good beer. Certainly not the case in the past.
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: yso191 on March 29, 2013, 03:40:53 PM
           I believe one of the many factors driving the growth of craft beer is now that, legality aside, there are actually 17 year old kids trying/stealing their Dad's craft beer, instead of their Dad's BMC, as in my youth.  In other words, there are kids that, by the time they're old enough to buy beer, have been exposed to beer styles and good beer.  Every good liquor store I go into has a line of barely 21 guys buying good beer. Certainly not the case in the past.
[/quote]

I've noticed the same thing.  Yakima isn't really a college town, but 30 minutes North in Ellensburg there is Central Washington U.  Near campus is a store called Happy's that has probably 400 different beers from all over the world.  And one of the most popular pubs brags 100 different beers.  Imagine when these kids get to be 40-50.
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: AleForce on March 29, 2013, 04:02:32 PM
First of all mr fancy pants bartender hopefully didn't get a tip! Anyway, I brew because it is a masculine thing to do!

+1
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: Alewyfe on March 29, 2013, 04:18:35 PM
I think this growth in the overall *number* of breweries will continue for years, if not decades. There will be some high-profile shakeouts in the large "craft" breweries (say, 100,000 barrels and up) as they try to expand into one another's markets. But any town with a few thousand people can support at least one brewpub, and the vast majority don't have one yet. In most of the country, small breweries are still confined to large cities, but as their influence continues to grow they'll jump-start interest in local beers in smaller markets as well.

A lot of the seemingly huge number of breweries that have opened in the past few years are nanos (which I would define as being under 1,000 bbl and serving no food). I do think that the closure rate for nanos is going to stabilize at a very high level, rivaling or exceeding that of restaurants. But there will always be thousands, perhaps many thousands, of them open at any given time, simply because the barriers to entry are so low.

First of all mr fancy pants bartender hopefully didn't get a tip! Anyway, I brew because it is a masculine thing to do!

Historically, it's a very feminine thing to do!

Thank you for noting that. ;)
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: ynotbrusum on April 01, 2013, 11:53:14 AM
When macro drinkers ask me why do I try new beers all the time or declare that they are only a (insert macro name here) drinker, I ask if they always order the same food at the same restaurant? Or when they were a kid, did they always get the same kind of candy?  I like to try new foods, new candy, if you will, which allows me to try new beers. Oh, and by the way, you'll need to drink three of those to get the alcohol of one of these.  So that's why I'm only having one or two...
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: Jimmy K on April 01, 2013, 12:38:20 PM
*the cultural shift away from brand loyalty (i.e. my dad was a Ford guy - I've owned 6 different brands)
I think there is still plenty of brand loyalty, we just have a longer list of brands. Think about the hype around release day for a rare beer or the willingness of fans to throw money at a brand like Dogfish Head. The shift, though, is that "I'm not a brand" is the new brand.
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: reverseapachemaster on April 01, 2013, 01:45:03 PM
There's a lot about the craft beer movement and homebrewing that's tied to larger social movements away from the industrialized, one-size-fits-all production that dominated the twentieth century. The craft beer industry is only driven by those trends. It's also driven by market trends. Right now there's still a lot of demand for more beers and plenty of people who can be converted to craft drinkers. As a result, there's a lot of competitors in the market but not a lot of direct competition between brewers for market space. As regional markets reach saturation through either a sufficient number of competitors and/or expansion of existing breweries we'll see if the cooperative attitude remains, how many breweries fall off and how many breweries expand into a larger role.
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: anje on April 01, 2013, 04:14:47 PM
I think it's all of the above. There is also a going prepper movement. What's the point of surviving the zombie apocalypse if there's no beer. Followed by, now that o know how, how do I make it better?

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot
Better know how to malt and kiln then, too!
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: klickitat jim on April 02, 2013, 12:58:20 AM
If the zombies come, I will malt my own and probably skip kiln. Maybe roast a bit for variety. But post ZA beer will be pretty low tech. When the propane runs out will have to boil over a wood fire too.

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: yso191 on April 02, 2013, 01:16:35 AM
If the zombies come, I will malt my own and probably skip kiln. Maybe roast a bit for variety. But post ZA beer will be pretty low tech. When the propane runs out will have to boil over a wood fire too.

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

And we better like sour beers!  Regular, pure yeast will become very scarce.
Title: Re: Craft beer sociology
Post by: alcaponejunior on April 02, 2013, 09:45:07 PM
But any town with a few thousand people can support at least one brewpub, and the vast majority don't have one yet. In most of the country, small breweries are still confined to large cities, but as their influence continues to grow they'll jump-start interest in local beers in smaller markets as well.

And damn well they should!  Craft brewing really brings people together.  In less than two weeks I'm going camping with a bunch of people to celebrate RABC (Blanco Brewery) and their anniversary.  We're camping just down the street and the bunch of us are going to celebrate with them.  Their beer is very good.  I've already rated several and bought several more than once (a sure sign of good beer).  Support local breweries!