The Brewers Association made no big waves in their 2022 beer style guidelines. Clarity, spelling and grammar being the key words in their press release.

As the craft beer landscape continues to evolve, we want to ensure that our Beer Style Guidelines continue to be a trusted resource worldwide and are in stride with the innovation that continues to be brought forward,” said Chris Swersey, competition director, Brewers Association. “We took 2022 as a year to focus on housekeeping, to address some discrepancies within the exiting beer styles, and for a small number of significant updates to certain beer styles.”

Stay tuned for GABF in the fall to see who comes up with medals.

Newly in Style

The 2021 style guidelines dropped at the end of February and here is the news people are tuning in for, what new styles have been added?

Per the Brewers Association press release…

“Hundreds of revisions, edits, format changes, and additions were made to this year’s guidelines, including updates to existing beer styles and the creation of new categories. New additions to the beer styles include:”

  • Kentucky Common Beer
  • New Zealand-Style Pale Ale and India Pale Ale
  • Belgian-Style Session Ale

I bet local Ten Mile Brewing will be sending their Common, Hidden Hollow on to GABF but this also helps the IPA focused breweries who now have less crowded main categories as the entrants shift to hazy. My interest lies in which of Kentucky Common and Belgian Session have more entries.

Historical Brewing

The Kviek yeast wheel in the top middle photo should get the science beer geeks excited but what is super cool if author Lars Marius Garshol can make it work, is conjuring up old practices and lore and explaining it to a modern generation.

Here is the elevator pitch for this new book, “Equal parts history, cultural anthropology, social science, and travelogue, Historical Brewing Techniques describes brewing and fermentation techniques that are vastly different from modern craft brewing and preserves them for posterity and exploration.”

This sounds like a fun way to get “outside” the house by book instead of plane.

Last Year’s Sales

The Brewers Association released the sales numbers for last year, and normally I would post about it from the standpoint of California brewers or breweries entering or leaving the top 10 but this year, the numbers will need to be viewed against the 2020 numbers as well as the 2021 numbers before you can truly glean some insights.

I expect to see some churn in companies and quite possibly more CANarchy like groupings when we hit the post virus phase. I wrongly expected to see closures aplenty by now but the loans and financial measures seemed to have postponed those, though I still think fallout is coming. Unemployment numbers are going to really start to hurt, really soon. Unless Biden gets elected come November, I do not think there will be much long-term help for small business and especially a small business in California.

I sorely wish that I could do a pro forma, boring post about who is in the lead though.

Federal Relief?

So, despite some light Republican siding with corporate interest resistance, the first of what may be many CoronaVirus bills has been signed into reality.

Phase 1 is about free testing, sick leave and expanding unemployment benefits.

Phase 2 would have small business loan assistance

Also, the Brewers Association is going to push their weight behind the following initiatives…

  • “A temporary suspension or deferral of federal excise taxes;
  • A waiver of penalties for payment of late excise tax fees;
  • A business tax credit for lost sales;
  • Flexibility in submitting amendments to licenses for current permit holders;
  • An increase in funding for Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Relief Assistance programs;
  • Deferment of SBA loan payments/no interest loans;
  • Deferment of payments with no interest accrual for loans with commercial lenders;
  • A freeze on premium increases for unemployment insurance;
  • Suspension of payroll taxes;
  • Compensation Fund.”

That list is taken from information from the BA and of those items, the last one is the most important. Breweries need a replacement cash flow and hopefully they can get it.

Science Grants

The Brewers Association has selected the 2020 recipients of its Research and Service Grants Program. This funding, which began back in 2015, funds research into science that will effect brewers and how they make beer. This year the Brewers Association parceled out 13 grants totaling $389,370 to thirteen projects (8) barley and (4) hops projects, and in a change one draught quality project which I found a pleasant surprise. Overall, in six years, this program has invested over $2 million for research.

Below are the (4) that I think will have the most future impact on consumers in the years to come:

Controlling Hop Enzymatic Potential – Hop Kilning and Brewery Treatments

  • Partner(s): Oregon State University
  • Principal(s): Thomas Shellhammer

Analysis of Various Metabolites in Hops as Potential Key Parameter for Thiol and Ester Release by Yeast During Beer Fermentation

  • Partner(s): Nyseos, Barth-Haas Group
  • Principal(s): Laurent Dagan, Christina Schoenberger

Deeper Explorations of Barley and Terroir Contributions to Beer Flavor

  • Partner(s): Oregon State University
  • Principal(s): Pat Hayes

Evaluation of Biofilm Growth in Chemically Treated Beer Draught Tubing

  • Partner(s): Montana State University, Center for Biofilm Engineering
  • Principal(s): Darla Goeres

FOOD: Transforming the American Table

For those heading to DC, the Smithsonian is going to show a little more of a beer side, ” “FOOD: Transforming the American Table” is an existing, permanent exhibition that explores the history of food and eating in the United States since 1950. The exhibition’s fall update will highlight new stories about changes in food itself and how Americans produce, prepare and consume food and drink. One of four major new sections is “Brewing a Revolution.”

Per the Brewers Association press release, “Visitors will see artifacts, archival materials and photographs that originated in the homebrewing and microbrewing movements of California and Colorado in the 1960s through 1980s—the beginning of the craft beer “revolution.” “

Check out more about this exhibit HERE.

Pocket Guide

Beer books have to have something that they cannot get from a quick Google search, and the The Guide to Craft Beer from the Brewers Association looks to do that by adding a tasting log and including a food and beer section as well as helping “readers explore style preferences, traditional and modern brewing ingredients” as well. What I think separates this from a reference book fate is the pocket size and the focus on community. I will check it out and report back.

Stylin’ 2019

So the annual revision of “styles” is out from the Brewers Association and this year I have a couple of questions…

Rotbier? Breslau-Style and Dark Schoeps? Those are some really deep cuts. Maybe it is just housekeeping but I do not think that beer geeks were clamoring for obscure European wheat beers to be consolidated. And speaking of the obscure, Rotbier? Yes, that is the second time I have put a question mark on it. I cannot think of any beers available in that style to me here in SoCal. And I don’t think it is something you can readily pick-up in any beer store around the country. Is it the next new thing? Is it hazy?

The Twitter Machine will probably make hay with the Ice Lager removal for days but it and its brethren the malt liquor were really out of favor with the sometimes pop-up of ironic releases. I would be more concerned that there were not MORE consolidations and removals.

What will the effect be on the GABF awards? Minimal. I don’t see a rush to enter into those (4) new styles since the hazy strong will probably steal entries from the other two hazy categories, Gueuze might grow in later years but has too few current practitioners in the US. IPL’s like regular lagers are the Houston Rockets of the beer world, threatening to take over but then don’t and complains about it afterwards.

Now where is my DDH Rotbier?

Let’s Do the 2018 Numbers

Let’s break this into (2) parts….

The two numbers that most people are going to obsess over are the big 4% and the 7% (Slightly more hidden) but since Bart Watson and the Brewers Association put a number at the top of the graphic, I wanted to focus on the .1 2016 to 2017 was .5% share of the market and 2017 to 2018 was .6% If you are looking for a silver lining then that is the big one. In a down market for beer overall, craft is still picking up share of mind.

The number that I find most important are the opens vs closes in this section of the graphic. We need to follow this number and see when column A dips below 1K and when Column B goes up and over the 500 mark. I won’t guess at what is the perfect number of breweries for the US but if pressed, I would say around 7K seems good with some churn still going on.