Time to give a full recap of my trip to the California Craft Beer Summit.
What did I like, what did I see and how do I feel about California Craft beer now that I am back in Los Angeles….
Let’s start with the golden nuggets of wisdom that I picked up during the CCBA Summit:
Gallup has done a poll with the title: “Do you have an occasion to drink alcohol?” Since the 30’s the Total pie doesn’t change much. What get drunk does.
1/4 Hispanics will be over 21 soon.
8 to 10 thousand breweries needed before possible saturation
4 California breweries make 90% of beer in the state only one is craft, Sierra Nevada
5% of breweries sell outside California
Peter Zien – AleSmith
13 years in the red.
No sales or marketing for 19 years
First made profit in 2008-9
Focus on quality, let the rest follow.
Lots of good information about pairing piece to piece. Like malt to toast. Or hops to salted peaches.
Build the pairing up from the base blocks.
Julian and Jeff
Water and beer are different solvents. Coffee behaves differently in beer
Have to keep the base beer constant otherwise the coffee needs to change.
Cold steep post fermentation has been the best way they have found with groundcoffee.
Do not treat the coffee as an additive.
The base beer doesn’t really stand alone without the coffee.
Wet processed vs dry processed coffee is a key decision.
Coffee beers don’t have a big shelf life
I picked these four seminars and talks because it shows the range of this Summit. Yes, there was plenty of great beer in the Expo Hall and the festival but for me, the learning was key. Each day I learn but much more was packed into this long weekend. From brewing techniques to brewing philosophy to dry, hard economic facts to memories and even harder facts of running a business.
The capstone discussion included the powerhouse duo of Russian River and Lost Abbey on stage. They were asked if they were starting now, if they would open a brewery now. Both said no without hesitation. But it didn’t seem as negative as when they implored brewers to dump batches and have rigorous QC measures. It didn’t seem as negative as the subtext of industry vets aging out and retiring.
I left cautious and wary having drunk good beers and beers with way too much cucumber. But I see this as growth. It isn’t bad to be a grown up. Grown ups can have fun but they also know what works and doesn’t. Our little industry is growing up and I think the next few summits will show that.
(Next up will be a more fun post about what beers I drank)