#BeerIndustry Archives – PorchDrinking.com
On August 10, 2023, the Brewers Association issued a press release summarizing the craft beer industry midyear update from the Chief Economist, Bart Watson, where he expressed that things are still not great for craft beer, but also not quite as bad as they have been.
Number nerds unite! This was the call to action for many brewery owners, operators, and employees during the Brewers Association 2023 Craft Brewers Conference, which took place from May 7-10 at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN. So what’s the noise about numbers and why should the craft beer community even care?
The 2023 California Craft Beer Summit highlighted the industry’s achievements and current challenges. The Summit has changed some of its focus from past years. The educational sessions were geared 100% toward the industry. They had no general “beer lover” element, which meant no beer and donut pairings for the beer geeks. This year’s event also did not culminate with a beer festival.
On January 17th, 2023, the nearly 100 current employees of Creature Comforts Brewing in Athens, GA filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to unionize under a brand new independent labor banner — BUG or the Brewery Union of Georgia. This does not mean that Creature Comforts has officially unionized their labor force, as a formal election process amongst employees must take place to solidify the new structure and then head to the bargaining table, but BUG organizers are optimistic about the vote. The discussion about unionization began earlier last summer and progressed quickly as many employees cited feeling neglected, overburdened, and unsupported by upper management, who have been busy planning the expansion of a new Creature Comforts facility in Los Angeles. BUG also believes that unionization embraces Creature Comforts’ overarching company values such as ‘“existing to foster human connection” and “building a balanced team of authentic and professional individuals.”
Yes, but also no. How’s that for a definitive answer? The intricacies of why craft beer dances between recession-proof and recession-resistant are many, but the first step in answering this complex question is to analyze the underbelly of what a recession actually is, how it affects the alcohol industry overall, and what that means for craft brewery owners and operators. Taking a look at factors like consumer behavior, unemployment rates, gas prices, syndicated retail sales data, beer supply, and market seasonality all contribute to how craft beer will fare during times of economic duress. Earning its chops as a multi-billion dollar consumer packaged goods industry over the past decade, craft beer can simply not afford to overlook a downturned economy as something that will not affect bottom lines.
The role of Head Brewer is highly coveted in the beer industry, and for good reason. Sure, the job has its challenges. There are high-demand ingredients to obtain, brewing shifts to arrange, and equipment to tend to. There’s a leadership element, too, that’s critical to success – an area where many brewers have fallen short at best, or been willfully negligent, resulting in pain and trauma for others.
Last week, the Brewers Association sent out a press release announcing that more than “3,000 craft brewing companies—representing more than 6,000 craft brewing locations in the U.S.—have signed on to use the independent craft brewer seal.”