Peel the Label – All for One

There is discourse both illuminating and not about the push / pull of beer and wine and spirits and whom is in the lead. Who has the market share?

To me, the three work in concert. A distiller has to use a barrel once? Well a brewer will take that barrel. Wine spritzers beget hard seltzers beget RTD’s. Craft brewers spawned craft distillers. Heck, for a hot second, there was a whole wine / beer hybrid thing.

I wonder why the three alc players don’t push together? We could possibly see uniform state laws if that happened. Uniform tax rates too. But they often work against each other instead of being co-conspirators.

And consumers seem stuck in lanes too. Wine drinkers say beer is too complicated. Beer and spirits drinkers say the same but I say enjoy the banquet. I do not go for seltzers or wines but gin and bourbon are great. I sneer at beer slushies damn a mint julep tastes grand.

There seems to be sharp elbows out when welcoming high-fives should be the action. I want all the beverages on the menu.

Peel the Label is an infrequent series with no photos or links. Just opinion.

State of the Craft Beer Union

Yesterday, Bart Watson presented the Top 50 Breweries in the US for 2022 along with answering questions about other items of craft beer economic import. Y’all probably saw the shares and re-tweets of the list but below are my take-aways from the press conference.

  • overall production was static at around 24+ Million barrels
  • total retail dollars grew due to higher beer prices and a shift back to on premise drinking
  • 9,552 active breweries in 2022 (though some may not have finished the year as active)
  • openings still outpace closings 549 to 319
  • no correlation between higher beer prices and slower growth
  • taproom only models are skewing younger in years and perform better in general
  • leases tend to be the main drivers in closings

I will dip into the Top 50 from a California perspective but this year saw the exit of Bell’s from the list since they do not meet the ownership criteria for craft and Stone will exit next year due to their sale to Sapporo. Also Yuengling is numero uno this year.

Here are the CA breweries in the Top 10

#3 Sierra Nevada

#4 Duvel US (which includes Firestone Walker)

# 7 Stone

Others include both Coasts, Lost and North, Pizza Port, Gordon Biersch and Craft Ohana which is the Maui Brewing / Modern Times group.

Beer Economics in Oregon

Infographics are all the rage.  Almost as much as listicles.  But both can harbor nuggets of wisdom and this particular graphic about craft beer sales and production in Oregon has one number that is mind blowing to me.  And it is the very last number…


53% of draft beer drunk in Oregon was brewed in state. That, to me, is a staggering number because that shows two things.

1. That drinking local is both ingrained and that there is enough supply to achieve it.

2. Craft beer is a majority choice if not a strong minority considering your definition of craft.

And combined with the 11% packaged beer number shows how far there is still to go.  Literally and figuratively.

Now if I could get similar graphics for the other big brewing states to make a good compare and contrast post.