I live in Michigan. It’s one of the best states in the country for craft beer. It ranks #6 in the country for the amount of breweries, and has some phenomenal examples of great brews. Bell’s Two Hearted IPA is one of the best IPAs available in the state. Founders KBS is a highly sought after BBA Stout. While there’s many more examples I could give, there’s about a hundred mediocre beers for each great beer that are brewed around the state.
So, that leads me to the title of my post: Have we reached a point where all the smaller breweries are going to stop popping up or fall to the wayside?
We have approximately 225 breweries here in Michigan. Double of the amount we had just five years ago. Every small town has a microbrewery these days. Trust me, they’re not all that good for “Craft” beer. The super-micro trend that I’ve seen around the state, in my opinion, isn’t sustainable. Many of these breweries are the new shiny thing in their respective towns/cities, and I believe that is what keeps them going… not the product they put out.
If you look at the total number of breweries nationwide, there’s been an exponential increase in the number of breweries available in a similar time frame. Craft beer drinkers tend to go for the new and interesting beer on the block, including myself. This does promote innovation, and the more interesting styles that come with that. So, while I try to find new breweries to explore, I find myself often disappointed in the smaller start ups. Yes, up-and-coming breweries may have a rough start while they figure out their line up, but they end up pushing a mediocre beer. I’m not saying that all microbreweries will fail, and I love trying new beer, but I do think that the amount of breweries is outgrowing the growth of the craft segment. If what’s happening in Michigan is a nationwide trend, I think we’ll see people abandoning some of these newer breweries and returning to some of the tried-and-true craft breweries that are much more established.
This is just an opinion based on what I’ve seen, but let me know what your opinion is have a discussion!