Closing South and North

Two breweries to the south and north of L.A. have called it quits. The combination of slowed growth with increasing competition is probably the wellspring of trouble for both Valiant of Orange County and Speakeasy from the Bay Area and it might foretell further closures ahead (or not).

Valiant seemed to fall due to specific business model choices whereas Speakeasy just fell behind the zeitgeist. Both though, I believe were OK as long as the nationwide sales numbers were growing in double digits. When that trended downward, the music stopped and the pair found themselves without a chair. And if more chairs are removed, more might call it quits.

We must remember though, that this all new territory for craft beer. The U.S. has never had this many breweries before. California, alone, has more than 800! Even foreigners like Guinness, BrewDog and Mikkeller have facilities or plans for them stateside. The Global beer sellers have gobbled up breweries across the nation and are loss leader spending like crazy. A brewery starting in 2015 versus one starting today would face radically different business climates.

My guess is that there is more turbulence ahead. Which makes your beer dollar a very potent vote, use it.