Revenge of the (Beer) Nerds
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Thanks for joining me, whether it’s your first time or whether it is your 100th time checking out this podcast. We certainly appreciate you dropping by to learn a little bit more about craft beer, craft coffee, and craft food. Also, Augustino Brewing, which is our brewery startup.
Today we’re going to talk about the rapid growth of the craft beer movement and what it means on the positive side of things, as well as on the negative side of things. If you are a craft beer fan in Wichita, Kansas, or if you are a craft beer fan from anywhere else throughout the United States, it is abundantly clear that craft beer is now the cool thing.
I joke with friends and family that I was into beer before it was cool. Now, that’s not the case anymore. Craft beer is the in thing, and that comes with a lot of positives. It’s part of the reason why Augustino Brewing is able to carve out our niche in the market and work on getting our doors open.
It does come with some side effects that we, as craft brewers and beer lovers, need to be cognizant of in order to protect the quality of the products that are being made and the quality of the market place in general, because if we start putting out as craft brewers, a lot of flawed, poor beers, it reflects poorly on the entire industry. If craft brewers can’t continue to consistently put out excellent products, then people will be less attracted to craft beer.
There are few concerns that I have personally. Feel free to comment and provide any other concerns that you may have in the comment section on our webpage. One thing that I’ve noticed when sitting at the bar with other beer drinkers who may not have been into craft beer as long as I’ve been, is that most craft beer fans today can’t tell the difference between a well-made beer and a flawed beer. Even a beer that’s made with significant issues, including contamination, where it’s fairly apparent that the brewer or the system that the brewery is using is not working to product high quality beer.
The problem is, newer drinkers, they don’t have a sophisticated pallet yet, and so they think that a beer is wonderful, when in fact, it is absolutely the opposite. I think some of these builds off of the increase in the sour beer movement in this country which gives a little bit more flexibility to some brewers that make beers and then put them out into the market place as sours, when in reality, they may just not have prudent good beer.
There are sour breweries, including one here in Wichita that make very good beers, and they’re doing so purposefully. There are a lot of brewers that are showing a lack of care for their product, and it is showing in the public eye. Unfortunately, the public tends to not be able to notice some of those flaws.
It’s a balancing act for us as brewers as to how we balance the public perception, and perhaps even some of the misconceptions about beer and what beer should be like in the craft beer arena and what the consumers wants. There are new areas of beer that are very creative and very innovative, but at the same time, are we damaging craft beer as a whole for the short term, push in niche directions.
All these doom and gloom about how people can’t taste good beer properly aside, there is, as I see, somewhat of an awakening in the force. No, I’m not talking about Star Wars, I’m talking about the fact that there are more brewers and also more beer fans that are expanding their minds and are understanding that beers can have quality and they can have complexity and flavor.
As more beer fans come on to the market, and as more breweries open, there is going to be an awakening, a mindset in the general public’s eyes that is not going to tolerate poor beer anymore.
Currently, that’s not been the problem, but as more beers are out there and more breweries are producing less than high quality products, and as more breweries sell out to large brewing conglomerance, there may be a reawakening to being very harsh breweries that do not produce excellent beer consistently.
It’s certainly something that we’re paying attention to in Augustino Brewing and planning to make our quality as well as our customer service the best in the area, bar none.
We have said since day one that we will do everything that we can to win and keep our customers that come to us. We’re not going to be the brewery for everybody, but we will be the brewery for a large portion of the beer market. It’s impart, because we are going to make sure that we are adding beer pairings and beer dinners that are specifically set up. As well as educating the public.
It doesn’t take that much. It starts with your staff and it builds to every part of your branding, but you have to build up your brew pub to educate the public, because there are so many people coming out to the scene in terms of craft beer. If we, as brewers and as brewery owners, are not educating the public, then we deserve to lose customers, in my opinion.
Back to the beer future in my way of putting it to use my second movie reference of the podcast today. Your neighborhood brew pub, or taproom, is going to survive for the most part, the current influx of new competitors and the changing tastes, as long as they maintain high level of quality.
Even if they’re at high level quality, they need to continue to push that quality bar up, because there are many, many, many good beers out there. Especially when you go to your liquor store and you look at the shelves, we are competing against the best beer that has ever been made in humankind and the human history.
Along those lines, I think that taprooms that rely solely on food trucks for the food, which forces them to drive more of their product out there backdoor into distribution are going to increasingly have some difficulties as shelf space is squeezed currently and is going to be squeezed even further.
I think that it’s going to be very, very difficult for regional breweries to popup in the future, and that that traditional sense of driving the product out is going to be much, much more risky as a business model.
I think it’s important … At Augustino Brewing, we are making it our focus to focus on controlling our product flow rather than being mostly subject to a distributor to get our product out there. That’s the beauty and also, to a certain extent, the curse of being a brew put, because you can only push your product out so far, but you have control over your product a lot more than you do if you drive through a distributor.
With the amount of history we’ve seen, if we don’t maintain our focus on quality, we risk the fact that the tasteless, fizzy beer, may make a comeback. Fortunately, I think there is enough wonderful breweries out there that will continue to focus on great craft beer including Augustino Brewing, and we’re going to be just fine.
Hail to the beer nerds out there. We need you in full force as more and more breweries come online.
Have a great day, and drink craft.