Craft Beer Has Come a Long Way, but Still Has a Long Way to Go

I was struck by something as I was walking to lunch last week.  I walked by a restaurant that was taking beer deliveries for the weekend, and parked in a row were three delivery vehicles.  Closest to the street was a Widmer van.  Widmer is a smallish craft brewery from Portland that has a lot of different brews, but is probably best known for their Heffeweisen.  Then parked in front of that was a larger delivery truck that was delivering Deschutes products.  Deschutes Brewery was originally located in Bend, Oregon a small Oregon community in the heart of the Cascade Mountain Range.  It is the kind of place Coors would like you to think of when they show their Golden, CO ads on TV.  It is a bit larger than Widmer, and to my way of thinking a superior brewery.  Finally in front of the Deschutes truck was a Budweiser Rig, and you guessed it, it was a semi.  Much larger than the other two, and probably dropping off much more product than them as well.

So you can take this little analogy several ways.  First it was great that there were craft brewery delivery trucks there at all.  It shows that the small guys are starting to make some inroads into the local market, and have made great strides over the last decade or so.  Or you could say that the cream is rising, and Deschutes is more popular than Widmer, and that competition is compelling and leading to better breweries getting larger.  Or you could look at it like I did, and say that with all the strides that craft beer has made, and is making, that we still have a long way to go before we topple the King!


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7 Comments on “Craft Beer Has Come a Long Way, but Still Has a Long Way to Go”

  1. March 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    I’m pretty sure that the trucks with craft brewery images on the outside are not necessarily delivering beer from that brewery—in New York, you see Sixpoint images on trucks all the time, but it just means that it’s the truck from the distributor that handles Sixpoint, and could be any of that distributor’s accounts inside.

    • Don
      March 12, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

      I’m pretty sure you are correct Maggie, but I think it is telling none the less.

  2. March 12, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    I love that picture of the semi combined with the first line of “I was struck by something on the way to lunch last week.” Not intended, but you certainly painted a picture there.

    • Don
      March 12, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

      Well isn’t that what Bud does anyway…just kind of run over anything that gets in their way?

  3. Rob Crozier
    March 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    I realize that we will never see a day when Budweiser/Coors/Miller will be forgotten, but would that be such a good thing? I am not a fan of any of the above mentioned beers but have no issues with them. My wife is not much of a beer drinker but when she does want one, she orders a Coors Light. I’m glad that she has something to choose; I’ve tried to sway her to come to our side but to no avail (she does drink Rolling Rock now though). I love that there are choices; I hate that the people who drink the above mentioned 3 have issues with craft brews (i.e. -” that stuff tastes like crap”, “it looks like motor oil”, etc.). I actually prefer that the craft beer industry is the underdog because it gives me a sense of knowing that I have this knowledge of something that is better and how a few others also know about it. It’s like when you were younger and you discovered this great band, like Van Halen before anyone else did. You felt like they were yours. When everyone else heard them and started to follow them, they became passe. Blah, blah, blah…you get my point.

    I love that you guys created this blog and have all of the other links that I can click on and read about something I truly love. Well, gotta go…I just put a bottle of Java Head in the fridge for later…

    Happy drinking!

    • Don
      March 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

      Good points Rob. I found a craft beer my wife really enjoyed recently. It was Kona’s Longboard Lager, and Jim and I recently got our older sister off of light beers! So we just need to keep trying. I agree choice is great, but really great choices are better. It’s like Peter Kennedy from Simply Beer says there is a craft beer for everyone, it is just a matter of finding it! Have a great weekend. Enjoy the Java Head.

  4. March 13, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    David and Goliath. It is telling that it was a semi. Either they control the distribution of the beers they are delivering or it’s their product. Either way, I think it’s a good image of the market domination they have.

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