Craft beer has been exploding in recent years, showing incredible growth from quarter to quarter and year to year. With this incredible and rapid growth that the breweries have been experiencing, many breweries have been maxing out their production capacity even after expanding their production facilities and adding additional fermenters with some breweries at a rate of ten 200 barrel tanks within an eight month period as seen with Oskar Blues.
It’s unfortunate, but with the fast growth that these breweries have been experiencing it’s necessary to keep up with demand. Great Divide, for instance, who is pulling out of 12 markets is one of a handful of breweries that saw a growth of 60% in 2010. Allagash who is pulling out of 20 markets saw a growth of 40% in 2010 and ended the year at 24,000 barrels. Dogfish Head and Left Hand Brewing have pulled from four and five markets respectively.
I find it bittersweet. Bitter in that people will not be able to try these incredible brews, but sweet in that our amazing craft beer scene is not only thriving, but growing at an astronomical rate and there are now more options of craft beer available for us to enjoy. According to Sam Calagione, Founder and President of Dogfish Head, pulling out of certain markets is part of their philosophy to “grow strong and smart instead of just growing fast” and I agree that it’s a smart move.
Boulder, CO - Avery Brewing Company plans to withdraw from eight states and seven other partial-state markets beginning in April. Faced with skyrocketing demand–first quarter 2011 production growth for their home state of Colorado is 81% and overall production growth is 75%–the brewery has been forced to make the tough decision or lose the ability to support all markets with a steady supply of fresh beer.
Beginning in April 2011 beer shipments will be ceased to Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Tennessee. Avery Brewing Company hopes to re-enter these eight states at some point in the future once production capacity can catch up with demand. The brewery is also leaving several partial state markets, including: Northern California (Bay Area and Sacramento), Eastern Arkansas, Upstate New York (outside of New York City), Central Florida (Orlando area) and Wisconsin.
Avery Brewing Company would like to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you to those who have supported us–and our beers–in these markets over the past years. To our distributors and their hard working sales staff, to our retailers in on-premise and off-premise channels who have promoted our products with zeal and passion, and to our loyal customers and fans who have challenged their palates and enjoyed our beers over the years: thank you, thank you, thank you!! Our apologies for any frustrations this change brings your way. According to Avery Brewing President/Founder Adam Avery, “We all feel terrible about having to pull out of these markets. No matter how you cut it, it is disappointing that we’ll no longer be able to serve our loyal fans in these areas. ” Ted Whitney, National Sales Director at Avery Brewing Company, added “This is certainly unfortunate, but it was done with the best intentions. It’s about getting fresher beer and better experiences for our customers.”
Avery Brewing Company is one of several craft breweries to announce such cuts in 2011, but these disappointing changes are actually the sign of a very positive trend in the industry. Exponential sales growth for craft brewers can only mean one thing: the craft beer movement is on fire, attracting more followers and gaining mindshare with people of all demographics across the country. More fans means more market potential for all of the craft industry, and that’s a very good thing that will bring more great beer into the lives of Americans everywhere. Here’s to American craft beer in 2011 and beyond!!