My Six Pack of Craft Beer Wishes for 2012

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!




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Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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55 Comments on “My Six Pack of Craft Beer Wishes for 2012”

  1. johnking82
    January 3, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    More posts written by/about/involving Don. That’s about it.

    • January 3, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      You and me both, John.

  2. January 3, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    I’m w/ you Jim (especially on wish #3–I’m already old, LOL); and I second John’s wish.

  3. January 3, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    I just thought of one, I hope our local saloon owner opens a brew pub next door (go Beck’s!)

    • January 3, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      A good brew pub is an amazing thing and a great thing to wish for.

  4. Don
    January 3, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Good wishes Bro. For the session big beers, I very much loved the Donnybrook Stout I had from Victory, and I think that is like 3.5 % almost a near beer. If you haven’t tried it do so, and let me know what you think. As for the rest, I think you’re dreaming. For one if we get a show that means that I will have to pull you along…again. Man you’re heavy, and with 210 pounds of dead weight, that is a pretty tall order. But I’m up for the challenge if it were to come our way. If it does, this time, could you not tell them what a great job Sam Calgione would do. That might have been our problem last time… 😦

    • January 3, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      You can do it, Don. And I’ll shut up about Sam – I think it’s probably best that we stay awy from him and Brew Masters entirely. 😦

    • January 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      Don, why is it that you in ID can get Victory brews like their Oatmeal Stout & Donnybrook Stout, but when I ask my supplier here in MD about them he says the distributor never heard of them? I gotta tell ya that its pissin’ me off (not at you of course.)!

      • Don
        January 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

        I can’t Wayne. I had some when I was at the brewery 2 years ago. Great stuff though.

  5. January 3, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    I’d like to see you get your own show–I enjoyed the demo tape before you had to yank it (for legal reasons, one suspects)–exploring beer’s birthplaces, which foods pair well with which beers, exploring beer lore, Don wearing a bear costume in Prague, and if Oreos taste good with any beer.

    • January 3, 2012 at 11:38 am #

      I love the Don in the bear suit idea, especially in places with lax firearm laws and problems with aggressive bears. Must See TV for sure!

    • Don
      January 3, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      Norm, Oreos are delicious with Deschutes Black Butte Porter Brewmaster Series or Abyss.

  6. January 3, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    I have nothing to offer except criticism…

    Eff corporate “beer”. Sam Calagione is wrong. Keep beer small. In fact, I’m cool if breweries back off the distribution arms race and go more regional. It makes traveling much more interesting. Big Beer is not good for beer as a whole, but it’s especially not good for craft beer. I don’t mind more people turning to beer, but it should be craft beer.

    I’d agree on the session beer point, but there just aren’t enough brewers skilled enough to pull this off. Why do you think every brewery offers a lager and/or pale ale as their “session” beer? Not everyone can make an incredible session beer like The Bruery or Stone. It’s not that easy, unless you’re willing to lower your standards.

    Micro-distilling is growing a ton. There was a story on NPR this past weekend about the crazy number of in-state distillers there. I’ll agree on this point, especially the distilling done by breweries. However, the best gin I’ve ever had is produced by a small distiller out of Wisconsin by the name of Death’s Door. Good stuff.

    Funny on the New Jersey thing. You have a pretty big audience and some decent connections. One would think that you could start a campaign to change the laws in the Garden State. Make it happen and use this blog as a platform.

    You guys should get a show, but you need to refocus the show’s message. Your first foray seemed suited for Discovery or the Travel Channel, but they’re not the answer. The goal should be to get something on Food Network. Then, you have to really play up the “Mike-and-Mike” thing you two have going.

    Cheers, fellas and happy new year!

    • January 3, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      Happy new year to you as well Zac. While I’d like to think we could make a difference in the NJ brewing laws, it’s Beer Wars meets The Sapranos in these parts, which makes it a pretty tough nut to crack.

  7. January 3, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    My wishes for 2012:
    1. The tap room and production floor both get finished by the end of this month.
    2. People continue to like our beer.
    3. We hire 2 people to run the tap room and an assistant brewer, by June.

    I’m relatively sure these wishes will come true. The first may be slightly delayed but not by much. The second should hold true since Fred is guiding our production and the beer really is spot on. The last may happen sooner, especially with regard to the tap room. The buzz in the area is deafening. I’m not sure we’re ready for it.

    Beyond that I wish for good hop and grain harvests, and a strong economy. High water floats all boats.

    I believe that is 6.


    • January 3, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      I hope they all come true, Jeff. 2012 is going to be an interesting year for you!

      • January 3, 2012 at 11:52 am #

        I believe that’s a Chinese curse…
        “May you live in interesting times”
        …but thanks 🙂

        • January 3, 2012 at 11:55 am #

          Leave it to me to curse you with well wishes!

  8. Mad Queen Linda
    January 3, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    I want the alcohol fairy to make everything related to the drinking of same to be good for all human beings and queens (me). No more calories, no more hangovers.

    • January 3, 2012 at 11:53 am #

      Now THAT’S wishing big!

  9. January 3, 2012 at 11:52 am #


    I can see what was lacking in your first attempt at a TV show–you holding Jim down, stuffing Oreos in his face, while drinking an Abyss. Must see TV.

    • January 3, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      Well he did manage to lock me in Victory’s brew kettle, but I agree on the force feeding part. The man has a gift for being a big brother and it must shine!

  10. The Wookie
    January 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    I hope your NJ wish comes true. NJ’s booze laws, in general, are screwed up.

    My wish for 2012 is the more breweries embrace rye beers. Love those spicy rye brews but there are only so many to choose from.

    • January 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

      I’ve enjoyed rye’s in the past as well, so I’ll second your wish.

      • The Wookie
        January 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

        Ok, so the plan for 2012 is to lobby for better beers laws in our Garden State home. After we pay off the right people and the laws are changed build a brewery/gastropub devoted to making massive quantities of session worthy full flavored rye beers targeted toward over 35 men who can’t handle high ABV brews anymore. And, on the grounds of the brewery, fit in a small TV studio with a video link Don’s Unabomber-esque compound in the heartland so you boys can broadcast your brew gospel to the masses. All supported by advertising from Budweiser’s Reserve Craft Beer Big Bottle collection and DFH’s Single Malt Delaware Whiskey.

        What do you think?

        • January 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

          I think that’s the plan!!!

        • January 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

          Video directly from the compound is a security breach. A separate facility will need to be found or constructed.

        • January 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

          That’s a good point. Maybe a mobile studio so they can’t find us. We’ll just have to be sure to keep our tin foil hats on…

        • The Wookie
          January 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

          So we need to get Don one of those Cold War surplus train based mobile military headquarter fortresses to broadcast from? I’ll put it in the plan and work on the financing. BYO tinfoil hat … they’re not in the budget.

        • January 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

          Don would love a mobile bunker, and having a one one a train would make him like the bigwig on Hell on Wheels. He’d like that!

  11. Mathew
    January 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    I think there is an opening for the Oprah Winfrey Network for you Jim. Not sure if Don will fit in with the Oprah Winfrey network. He seems more like military channel material.
    I hope its cool like Wayne’s World.
    I wish you luck 2012.

    • January 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

      Does Ted Nugent have a channel? Because I can see Don fitting in well over there…

    • Mathew
      January 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      My wishes are:
      1. Survive the apocalypse
      2. Drink more Beer
      3. Get a girlfriend.
      4. Watch Beer and Whiskey bros on TV.
      5. Keep posting stuff on your Facebook page.

      • The Wookie
        January 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

        You can’t drink more beer and get a girlfriend. Those two items don’t go together, unless you add #6 “Go deaf so I can’t hear new girlfriend nag about excessive beer drinking”.

        • January 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

          You might want to check out the Girls Pint Out crowd Wookie–I’m sure that at least some of them are single and they LOVE beer!

        • The Wookie
          January 3, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

          I married a former bartender that loved beer and cocktails. She still nags about my pursuit of tasty craft brews …. but I love her so what’s a 6 1/2 foot tall walking carpet going to do?

      • January 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

        I think the Wookie is right. You need to find a girlfriend who drinks more beer!

        • Mathew
          January 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

          Note taken. Thanks guys. I need all the help I can get this year!

  12. Rick E
    January 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    I would second your hope for an increase towards craft session beers. It seems as though more breweries are recognizing the need for more sessionable beers to go with their DIPA and RIS offerings. In Minnesota my favorite is Surly Bitter Brewer (4.1% ABV) which is a summer seasonal. I just picked up a sixer of 21st Amendment Bitter American (4.4%) which was pretty hard to come by last winter, but I enjoyed what I could find immensely. I also have some Stone Levitation (4.4%) in inventory.

    • January 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      I think I have to double back and try the Stone Levitation. I don’t remember it being low-ABV, but I remember it being good…

  13. January 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    Hi guys, thanks for linking to for the “big beer” discussion.

    In response to a couple good points made above, I think it’s important to realize that corporations can get better at making good beer and they can work regionally if they want to. They have the funds and skill to do anything there’s a market demand for.

    But the real challenge is getting people to care. For people looking for better beer, maybe that’s easy. For people like us craft brew fans, you really have to build a holistic connection to get our attention. The more the craft brew movement concentrates on this true differentiator (people and relationships) the better. In that way, it’s almost impossible to scale up authenticity or co-opt it from above.


    • January 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      Happy to link to such a well written article, Michael.

      I suspect that MillerCoors isn’t entering the craft beer market in order to connect with beer geeks, so they’ll probably skip the whole “holistic connections” thing and simply start marketing better domestic beer at folks drinking macro imports.

      They’ll start accelerating the marketing and awareness of “craft” beer in order to build a market for their newly acquired breweries while squeezing out some of the smaller indie guys who will lose share to the slicker big-boy brands.

      It’s just a guess, but if their CEO says that Blue Moon is America’s biggest craft beer brand and they send a beer geek like you home with a bottle of Blue Moon Gran Cru, that’s pretty telling.

      At the end of the day, the nice folks you met still work for MillerCoors, and I imagine the tactics might be different, but the endgame (segment domination) will be the same.

      • January 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

        A lot of truth there. The Blue Moon Grand Cru came from a completely different direction (both in terms of beer quality and intent) than did the Leinenkugel’s Big Eddys they provided. Even internally they seemed to have a different respect for these two brands. Blue Moon is something they seem to use as a weapon whereas Leinies is something they have reverence for (and less control over). The accelerator model for craft brew acquisitions is far more interesting in that way than positioning a macro-brew as craft.

        • January 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

          In other words, if you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em. It’s a solid strategy, but comes with risks if they can’t grow the craft market and they alienate beer geeks.

  14. oliver klosoff
    January 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    I had some Corsair Artisan Red (Absinthe) on New Years. Holy frickin’ Cow, I think I’ll stick to craft beers.

    • January 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      Hopefully you still have both ears…

  15. January 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    With regards to a show, what stops you and Don from doing self-produced web based video content? TV as we know it will go the way of the buffalo within the next decade as everything moves online and doing web based video content is not really that expensive. It is actually quite cheap.

    • January 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      We can’t even keep up with a podcast and you want us to produce, shoot and edit our own show??! Yikes!!

      • Don
        January 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

        In other words Ryan…we’re lazy. 😦

        • John King
          January 3, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

          Jim’s got a great face for radio!

        • January 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

          And a body for science!

        • January 3, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

          Too much beer and whiskey will do that to a man

  16. January 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Already got my wish for the new year: at least three new breweries are opening within Denver city limits. If this keeps up, we’ll have Portland shaking in their boots. 😉

    • January 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

      I’m not sure you have the piercings-per-capita to really rattle Portland…

      • January 5, 2012 at 11:28 am #

        Open up “Put a Bird On It Brewing Company” and you’ll own Portland.

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