Now that there is one month left to this year I will now take a look back and see just how much I know about the beer business and the folks that make the beer business possible.
That said, the following were my prognostications for the year 2013.
THEN: After a winter lull the month of March will see the introduction of small-batch brewed beers from small breweries in the Republic of Ireland into the United States market.
NOW: Strike One – This one is still waiting to get started. Of course international economies played a major role in this situation.
THEN: In April InBev will announce that they have acquired two well-known “craft” breweries in the Great Lakes region.
NOW: Score One – The growth of the major brewing mega-giants is more and more dependent on the acquisition of stand-alone semi-autonomous breweries. See: Analysis - InBev eyeing bigger part in craft beer and the other Big Boys are not far behind… How Big Beer Is Succeeding -- in Small Batches .
THEN: May brings a major increase in the number of small breweries that will begin operating canning lines.
Now: Score Two - This one I had right on. The more cans the better eH? Mile Marker adding to St. Augustine's local flavor, and Shipyard Brewing expanding in Clearwater
THEN: In the month of June there will be a series of articles written in the main-stream foodie press about “pop-up” ten gallon brewing operations in restaurants in New York, Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans.
NOW: Strike Two – Not only did this attract the attention of the press, it also caught the attention of chefs and restaurant owners around the country. See: An Industry Roundtable with Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Sea, Surf & Fun
THEN: For the 4th of July consumers will be able to select from a growing number of “Session” (less than 4% abv) beers presented as the “favorite” beers of celebrity chefs.
NOW: Foul Ball – This did not hit the mark. However the efforts of fellow journalists and writers have encouraged the trend to low-alcohol “session” beers with less than 4% abv.
THEN: When one of the hottest summers on record rolls around those “session” beers will make sales history and yet the first of the pumpkin beers will hit the shelves also. (Guinness will be named the beer of the summer by the foodie mass media.)
NOW: Foul Ball – As noted above… this is a split decision. “Session” wins…. “Guinness” is “Guinness”.
THEN: When things finally cool down in October the consumers and the industry will both cool off until the development of one of the coldest winters on record that will take Russian Imperial Stouts to over 12% abv and find high-test brews infused with herbs, not spices. Look for thyme, rosemary and lavender infused concoctions.
NOW: Foul Ball – The rush to be different did not happen. The rush to get on the market was like a reporter on a hot lead… determined, insistent and obnoxious. However, this is a market where you find Wit in winter and Imperial Stouts in the spring. You try and figure it out!
THEN: What will I be asking Santa for this December?
NOW: Once again… Beer-goggles!