2013 Craft Beer Predictions
Here is a list of predictions for 2013 related to the craft beer industry. These are completely made up, I have no insider knowledge, and have made these predictions based on observations of craft beer trends over the past few years.
The biggest brewing fad of 2013 will be the ABT Quadruple. We just witnessed Westy-mania a few weeks ago, in which the average beer enthusiast lined up to buy 6 beers with 2 glasses of Westvleteren 12 for $85 and up. If the entire beer industry didn’t take notice of that, they should have. I believe this is a malty beer that a decent American brewer should be able to nearly clone. Unlike other top rated beers like Pliny The Younger or Dark Lord, the ingredients for an ABT Quad aren’t as expensive for the brewers and should be more lucrative to attempt. We can’t forget the shelf durability of a big quadruple, which is a big plus. My prediction is that we will see the medium to large craft brewers release something closer to Westvleteren 12, St. Barnardus Abt. 12 and Rochefort 10 and charge close to what was being charged by Shelton Brothers.
Samuel Adams will put a “West Coast IPA” product on the market. For the past few years, Samuel Adams has been dipping their toes into the IPA game with their Latitude IPA, but haven’t made anything near dank since Tasty McDole’s Longshot Double IPA years ago. With products like Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Lagunitas IPA, New Belgium Ranger IPA, Stone IPA, Firestone Union Jack IPA and Green Flash Westcoast IPA, Boston Beer Co. should bite the bullet and make one. They have the resources to make this happen, and they have a great built in audience with their Boston Lager fans to try this bold IPA stuff everyone’s talking about. My prediction is that Samuel Adams will introduce a new Latitude 48 in the form of a West Coast Style IPA or will create a new brand, directly competing with the likes of Sierra Nevada Torpedo, etc.
Less and less brewers will hold “Get-in-line-real-early” Rare Beer Releases. While AleSmith Brewing and The Bruery held successful bottle releases using e-commerce solutions such as Brown Paper Tickets. Nearly a thread a week pops up on RateBeer or BA crying about attending a bottle release that lead to many unhappy customers, many of which weren’t able to purchase the bottle they stood in line for. The mixture of bad planning on the breweries part mixed with some bad apples and high expectations leads to these “Fails.” Setting stipulations such as the credit card and ID of the person picking up the bottles must match is a smart idea, limiting the number of bottles low is another no-brainer for running a smooth bottle sale. My prediction is we will hear of more well thought out online beer sales and less bellyaching of unpleasant experiences not getting bottles.
Allagash will release a sour ale into full distribution. Allagash has been pumping out 375 ml. sours at brewery only releases for a few years now. Unlike the crazy bottle releases I referred to above, these sour sales have been pretty mild, and locals have been able to dip in after work and pick up a bottle or two. Over a year ago, Allagash added the Coolship section to their website, mentioning their expanded sour program. My prediction is Allagash will put one Coolship or other sour 375 ml into distribution for 2013.
The Bruery will put another retail establishment in So Cal. The Bruery could easily expand their Provisions shops in other nice areas in Southern California, and the first are that comes to mind is San Diego followed by Los Angeles. San Diego has that built in diehard craft beer fan base and Los Angeles loves stuff like fancy Belgian Style beers and cheese shops. My prediction is we will see another Provisions in Socal This Year.
Dogfish Head will produce a sour. Dogfish has put almost everything into a beer. That is everything but a sour ale producing wild yeast strain. They don’t need to do this, but I feel this would be a big hit. They are a smart enough group of brewers not to infect their 60 Minute IPA in the progress, and I’m sure Sam can tie in a story about some spontaneously fermented beer from Belgium. My prediction is Dogfish Head will put out a Sour Ale in 750 ml. format for 2013.
eBay beer sales will be back in full swing. To the delight of folks like Hill Farmstead’s Shaun Hill or Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo, gray market sales of craft beer on eBay were almost squashed completely after a ABC 20/20 Sting on alcohol sales on the popular online auction site in 2012. As of press, you can still do a search for some popular beers, but compared to the amount prior to the episode of 20/20, it’s a ghost town. eBay likes money, UPS likes money, beer buying and selling opportunists want to make money and purchase rare beer at a premium. I thought by now a website would be created to fill the void of eBay craft beer collectible bottle sales, but it hasn’t, so my prediction is once the 20/20 scandal fades away more, collectible bottle sales will rise on eBay.