I’ve recently read a lot of predictions for the coming year and I keep asking myself “how the hell do THEY know what’s going to happen?” I certainly don’t, so instead of predicting the good and the bad that 2012 will bring to the craft beer world, I’ve decided to share six things I hope will happen this year. These are my craft beer wishes for 2012:
Beer Will Get Bigger: I’m not talking about the size of breweries or the average craft brew ABV, I’m talking about beer consumption as a whole in America. Last year saw beer losing ground to wine and liquor, and I’m hoping that this trend reverses itself in 2012. Of course craft beer sales grew by double digits again last year, so those losses were shouldered by the Bud Lights of the world, but as Sam Calagione says, all beer is good. I want to see beer grow this year, even if folks are swilling Natural Light (that one was for our pal Geez).
The Big Boys Are Good for Craft: We all know that this year will see the big brewers dig out their checkbooks and dig their way into the craft brewing scene. There’s no way to stop it, so I’m hoping it turns out to be mostly not totally evil (a pretty low threshold, no?). Our pal Mathew shared this article on our Facebook page about the MillerCoors craft beer skunkworks Tenth and Blake, and it offers some hope that there can be such a thing as a corporate beer geek. Hopefully they’ll be good shepherds to those brewers who decided to take their money.
Big Session Brews Come Into Fashion: Here’s the deal, I like big flavor, but I’m getting old. I can’t handle my beloved Bourbon-soaked big barrel beers as well as I could a few years ago, so I’m hoping this year will lead me to discover some lower ABV treats that pack a ton of flavor, but won’t leave me reeling. They might exist now, but so far they’ve eluded me – everything I’ve tasted has seemed a bit watered down. It’s a tough needle to thread.
Micro-Distilling Gets Growing: Okay, so technically this isn’t a craft beer wish, but it’s something that lovers of finely crafted beverages should be able to get behind. I’ve enjoyed seeing micro-distilleries cropping up across America, with many connected to some of our favorite craft brewers, like New Holland and Dogfish Head. In most cases, they don’t distribute very far, or in some cases not at all, and these are some of the neatest drinks out there. I hope to see interest in these special spirits continue to grow, generating enough buzz to warrant some shelf space at a booze shop near me. After all, I don’t get to Rehoboth Beach very often!
New Jersey Updates its Brewing Laws: This one is simply because I’m lazy and selfish. I want to see my home state of New Jersey change our brewing laws to allow a facility to brew lots of beer AND to have a gastropub/brewpub on the premises so the brewers can generate enough revenue from their taps and stove tops to fund their fledgling brewing operations. This is the formula that allowed breweries like Dogfish Head and Victory to get off the ground and one that has created robust local craft beer communities around such facilities. I want the same within 15 minutes of home, thank you very much! While we’re at it, I’d also like Russian River to distribute Pliny to the beer store near my house. 🙂
The Bros Get a Show: Like the wish above, this one is totally selfish, but then again, most wishes are. I want Don and I to get another crack at the TV thing. We have a nice demo reel and a reputable production company in our corner, we just need a network to take a chance on another drinks show after the rise and fall of Brew Masters. To be perfectly honest, we want to see beer and whiskey on TV just like many other craft beer fans do, but if it’s other guys or gals doing it, we’ll be squirming with jealousy, which will ruin the fun. So it’s gotta be us! 🙂
So those are my six wishes for 2012. I’m hoping that at least one of them comes true in the coming year, but each is actually a pretty tall order. But if you’re going to wish, wish big, right?
Do you have any craft beer or spirits related wishes for this year? As always, let us know below!