Hey guys! Happy Thursday! Sorry to miss you all last week, the boys and I had an incredible vacation in Florida while John stayed home and kept all the things running. I’m happy to be back though, and looking forward to some awesome things at Trek in the near future. It was wonderful to come back to some great press; The Advocate ran a story about our Trek Together Community fund this week. It was a great article, and we’re excited to be doing something good in our little corner of the world. You can come tonight and help us change the world, one beer at a time.
Also in the news this month are a lot of statistics and numbers about the craft beer industry, thanks to the Brewer’s Association annual report. It’s awesome to be a part of an industry that is exploding, and I think it’s time that we dig into that a little bit. People often ask John and I when we think the “bubble” of craft is going to burst. The best answer we can give to that is- “not anytime soon.”
I think that there are a lot of factors at play here. First off, is that there is a huge movement to “shop local” “eat local” “drink local”. Some do this for environmental reasons- reducing their carbon footprint. Some do it to “stick it to the man!” Shopping local usually means shopping small and helping a real person make their dreams happen. And some do it because they like to know that the product they are receiving is made by people that they know and love. Drinking local is becoming such a huge thing that we’re seeing a shift back to pre-prohibition times, where everyone had a neighborhood bar. This trend isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Secondly, the rise of craft has brought with it flavor variations that the general public has come to know and love. Sure, many of these beer styles are centuries old, but their availability has only recently become mainstream. One of the most incredible phenomena taking place in the industry is the innovation of new styles and flavors. This constantly evolving trend is fun for brewers and consumers and allows the artistic side of beer making to shine. While we see some breweries doing only new styles or flavor combinations, we’re also starting to see breweries really nail those traditional styles. Either side of the spectrum, variety is something that is here to stay.
I feel like the last big piece in support of the bubble sticking around for awhile is the collaborative nature of the industry. Craft beer is not a “cut throat” sector. A rising tide lifts all boats, and the brewers we know and work with celebrate this fact. One of the best things about craft beer is that you might LOVE Trek’s Trail Majik Vanilla Stout (who doesn’t), but some days you’re in the mood for Columbus Brewing Company’s Bodhi (again-who isn’t). We love this. We support this. And we’re rooting hard for all of us to succeed. We work well together and we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. It’s not every industry that feels this way, and I think it’s one of the things that make the craft industry so attractive.
Ohio has some impressive stats on the board. We’ve seen a huge and “surprising” growth over the last year. Ohio is ranked 4th in craft beer production in the country, and we’re 8th in number of breweries. The economist that studies the nationwide craft beer trends pointed out, “The most surprising numbers at the top of the list for me were from Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Ohio, which saw 60, 58, and 50 brewery openings respectively. Those are three brewery-dense states that aren’t at the top of the list in population that are still seeing a lot of brewery growth. If the total U.S. looked like those three states, there would have been closer to 1,800 brewery openings last year.” https://www.brewersassociation.org/insights/state-craft-brewery-growth-trends/
Is the “bubble” going to burst? Not anytime soon. We’ve got 10 incredible breweries in Licking County and we’re excited to see where this all leads. Every week we introduce more people to craft, and build new relationships. It’s exciting and it is so much fun. This is our big adventure, and we’re right at the beginning. Come and join our journey. It’s worth the Trek.