Due to an unknown snafu, I could not watch the live stream of the discussion where the NAGBW tackled inflation and packaging and sustainability. But I did watch a couple days later. The speaker was Bourcard Nesin a beverage industry analyst and it was made clear what should be done, which is quite different from what might be done.
Here are my takeaways from the discussion…
- most sustainability claims are bullshit
- U.S. is exceptional in are low recycling rates
- part of the problem is that there is no centralized recycling system in place
- returnable and re-used glass would be the best option
- Oregon is leading that charge
- un-returnable glass is the worst option compared to aluminum and plastic because of cost to create, cost to re-make and weight of shipping
- a “universal bottle” be it plastic or glass would create economies of scale.
- no returnable bottles infrastructure
- you will probably hear the word “lightweighting” in the future
- lots of promises by business to endorse “extended producer responsibility” but when it arrives business does not do it
Back to hearing from other beer writers, this time economist and data expert Michael Ulrich of Seventh Point Analytic talks sales.
Here are my bullet points:
- Don’t place bets on 2022 sales but if you had to bet on down
- seeing more tweets on breweries for sale
- cider generally filed with wine and seltzer under beer
- the bigger – small brewers losing more share
- 15-30k barrels the current sweet spot
- prices are increasing compared to costs
- wine and spirits have stockpiles compared to beer but the pandemic drew down the reserve which may cause prices to rise
- 9 months from ingredient price rise to beer price rise
A week or more back, the NAGBW broached the three-tiered topic of distribution. The speakers were Kimberly Clements of Pints LLC and Lester Jones of the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
Here are my nuggets of wisdom from the Q&A…
- California is a whole market on its own
- lots of merger and acquisitions, but the consolidation game isn’t over and despite barriers to entry, smaller, boutique outfits are not to be written off
- the role of the distributor is essentially the same though the world around is different
- where beer is being distributed has grown
- coverage of distributors seems more negative, though most days it works just fine in the background
- you have to take what the market gives you, if cans get too expensive, then draft may grow
- on premise and off premise lines are blurring when you can drink a beer at a grocery store
Thankfully, I just finished the beer history book by Tara Nurin (A Woman’s Place is in the Brewhouse) that this talk revolved around. Lets see what this latest session hosted by the North American Guild of Beer Writers brought to my attention.
- the term archival silence will probably start being used more
- research during Covid was both harder and easier in different respects
- who “hasn’t” been talked to for a story? usually a minority
- you just have to turn your head slightly to see someone who was just as instrumental in a brewery’s success
- the same silencing of women happens over and over as men take over, over and over
- Tiah Edmunson-Morton is writing a book on the women married to Oregon brewers
This month the Guild has two back to back weeks of info. Here are my takeaways from Opening a Brewery During a Pandemic with guests Mario Cortes and Dave Riddille of the excellently named Here Today which is still yet to open in Seattle.
- How do you create a beer list that attracts beer nerds, beer newbies and then how do you split that between local and tourists
- You don’t know what will be important day-to-day nor predict what may be important in the long term
- You need to be able to have honest discussions about which distribution route you want to take. Is selling focused on your location the best?
- Can you still produce quality beer but with less state of the art equipment?
- And a question from me for other new breweries, do you have to design a space that can be transformable in case of future pandemic restrictions as yet unknown?
Now I have to admit upfront that I have yet to listen to an episode of this podcast, Good Beer Matters. I have downloaded a couple episodes though and plan on listening.
That said, there are three reasons why I am pre-listen posting.
- Level of Guests – Charlie Papazian and Jeff Alworth are recent guests. That is strong.
- The Host is Certified Cicerone®, a BJCP judge, an IBD Certified Brewer, a homebrewer, a beer educator, and a beer writer.
- A member of NAGBW, the North American Guild of Beer Writers.
Next up in “News from the NAGBW” are my takeaways from a night talking about the SoCal Cerveceros.
First you should read the article that prompted the J-School discussion, HERE.
The most interesting point was brought up by Ricky Ray Rivera, founding member of the home brew club, now at Norwalk Brew House. Press and attention is good but too focused on the Latino aspect and not enough on the hone brewing can seem patronizing.
The six year old (around there) club started with seven members and is now over 250 with many having started breweries.
The networking is now important it seems. People have joined whose interests lie in food or other businesses.
Next up in “News from the NAGBW” are my notes from last nights talk on whether or not a reckoning can become a revolution as the industry confronts sexism.
Here are some takeaways from the discussion with host Jessica Infante and panelists Beth Demmon, Jess Bautista and Paige Latham Didora.
- hard to rehash these atrocious stories
- workers are at a disadvantage bur female workers are often more so
- career development is stunted
- toxic gratitude where you have to be happy despite the bad environment
- even job descriptions raise red flags
- maybe reporting incidents to the local brewers guild could help
- change the imperative from moral to either financial or legal
Next up in “News from the NAGBW” are my notes from last nights talk on the Inner Workings of Brewing Guilds on Diversity with Danielle D’Alessandra.
- Will we revert back to pre-pandemic ways and forget about issues that have been brought to our attention?
- DEI has to to start from the top and it needs to be driven by hiring more women and more people of color.
- craft beer is new to the political process
- How do we help diverse breweries to succeed and get past the barriers imposed on them such as ability to get loans?
- What is the best way to bring beer to minorities in a way that educates them?
Next up in “News from the NAGBW” are my notes from last nights talk on the State of Beer Media with one of my favorite beer writers, Jeff Alworth alongside Canadian beer writer Crystal Luxmore.
Below are my takeaways from the discussion…
We have to remember that craft beer has been written about for 10+ years. It is not the IT beverage
Not to focus as much on the brewmaster. Write about the founder, the marketing person or someone else with an interesting story.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is making more money off beer twitter than beer writers
Sponsorship can be made creative. Go deeper and pitch something less like a traditional ad,
Writing opportunities for money are indeed scarce but it is also a world where you can write without gatekeepers
Look to signal boost the good work being done.