The Future of Craft Beer – Fruity or Hazy (Craft Beer Week)
Covering the craft beer industry is a lot of fun, but keeping up with all of the changes and new styles can be tricky. The amount of innovation in the craft beer world is staggering, even within a broader CPG industry that considers innovation a core growth pillar.
Craft consumers are insatiable for new styles and the landscape is constantly changing.
In March this year, the Brewers Association officially added ‘Juicy or Hazy IPA’ to its style guidelines – recognizing the growth of a new style of IPA – a much more fruit-forward (juicy!), creamier, less bitter IPA. A style that looked like a mistake (IPAs are supposed to be clear, right?) is now one the hottest categories around. Try finding a local brewpub without a hazy IPA on tap…
Gose – a beer with sour and salty notes, was not even included in the nearly 1,000 page Oxford Companion to Beer published in 2011. 7 years later, the ratings website Beeradvocate lists over 2,000 brands in the category.
Craft drinkers can even enjoy what are affectionately called “pastry stouts” as brewers add non-traditional dessert-y ingredients. Perhaps a S’mores inspired beer brewed with graham crackers?
Sam Adams (also one of the first to release a hazy IPA nationally) has a new beer – Sam ’76 – that is a mix between an ale and lager. The beer has a lighter flavor and less bitterness – perhaps this gets closer to the real future of craft.
While all the experimentation is here to stay – the next big, “new”, category for craft beer is likely to be lager. Major craft breweries like Founders and Firestone Walker are pushing into the space – Founders featuring a 24-pack – creating an alternate avenue of growth for craft beer.
So, the future of craft is crushable lager at an affordable price point?
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