A sad prediction for 08

I’ve got plenty of beer on tap, but tonight I felt like something hoppy. I went next door to the store and picked up the bargain IPAs. I’m not sure if this is happening everywhere, but at my grocer, prices on beer have already jumped to “hop crisis” costs. I’m not certain if these are prices determined by the brewer, distributor or the grocer, but they seem to have jumped the gun. So my prediction is this:

Thousands of bottles of beer will age to the point of spoiling because the price has been raised beyond what consumers are willing to pay.

This is a loss/loss. I love beer and the craft of brewing, but if I’m going to pay the equivalent of $10 a six pack for something I’d paid $6-$7 just 2 months ago, I’d rather spend it on draft beer. Or homebrewing ingredients. I think this coming year my dollars spent on commercially produced beer are going to go to my local brewers only. Sorry Belgium. Sorry California. Sorry Colorado.

The reason I came to this prediction is that I just spent $8 on two 22oz beers, each of which is clearly past their prime. This is not going to be a happy year for brewers. But the waste? No one wins in that situation. If I didn’t know how good Elysian’s Immortal IPA was, I’d think their product stunk. I suppose the grocer has some interest in preventing aged bottles from shipping, but the pain isn’t necessarily theirs so much as it is for the brewer. This is kind of like triple jeopardy year for brewers. So many years of wonderful grown and birth of new brewers, and now this. Maybe the “Craft Brewing Alliance” cum merger between Redhook and Widmer is just a sign of things to come.

So pour one out for your local brewers, especially if it tastes like mothballs and grass clippings. We’ve got a long year ahead of us.

2 Responses to “A sad prediction for 08”

  • “We’ve got a long year ahead of us.” Unfortunately, it will likely last 2 years.
    I have lots to say on this issue, so I’ll try to keep it short. IPA’s from small breweries will become hard to find (Hopworks already stopped their IPA for now, and the pub is not even open yet).
    $10 per 6 pack is a steep price, I admit, but the price increase must happen. On average, malt prices doubled and hop prices quadrupled (I even heard that for certain hops the price went up 16 times).
    Everything seems to be hitting the fan this year, not just price hikes in malt and hops, but keg deposits will soon increase because of increases in keg thefts for the stainless steal. Draft beer will also see a price increase for those reasons.
    And do not think that homebrewing materials will be left out, if anything, they will be hit even worse because of the simplicity of supply and demand.
    Wow, I sound like a real downer. I’m sorry about that, but I’ve obviously been thinking about this for awhile. Andy’s post seems to have stirred something in me.
    On a positive note, let me know if you need anything, I might be able to hook you up. shhhhh….

  • I guess I’ll be brewing more of my own this year or buying Belgians which I am used to paying more for.

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