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MPR Poses Question on Brewery Boom

Take a few minutes to read/listen to this MPR story by Curtis Gilbert (“Small breweries ready to tap into market – or fall flat“).  The central question being posed is whether or not the Twin Cities market can/will support the plethora of new breweries popping up all over the state/region or will the market saturate quickly.  Hell, living in Portland, a city about 2/3 the size of the Twin Cities and with probably triple (just a rough guess off the top of my head) the number of breweries/brewpubs, my wife and I continue to see new places popping up all the time and, as Curtis points out in his story, the city does not appear to have reached saturation yet.  So, the issue in MN isn’t really one of population size, I don’t think, but rather population/cultural acceptance of craft beer.  These are exciting times we’re living in, folks.  Anywhooo, check out his story and have a lively debate about it over a pint.

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8 comments

  1. I think at some point here we will see a time when we can’t support any more. Theres a limited amount of shelve space/tap lines and those brands that don’t turn over frequently enough will get pulled. We’ll see breweries leave like Stone and Dogfish Head pulling out of Wisconsin because the sales volume isn’t high enough to justify keeping the brand there. Will it happen with local breweries too? I’m sure it will. Just because someone has a business plan and can open a brewery doesn’t mean they can make good beer or market it well enough to make ends meet. We’ve seen it before. Competition will continue to get stronger as more names come to market and some may not survive when there is only so many consumer dollars to go around.

  2. Most of the new breweries offerings that i have tried, were quite good, with a few exceptions. Staples Mill pils and Red were really thin, and the bourbon coffee that they put out had ZERO bourbon to it, and tasted of cheap coffee.

    I also tried a sample of the Boom Island IPA, it was almost completley flat, with little aroma. The pale from them was the same. Given a bottle is 10 bucks, i will not gamble on that product in a retail setting.

  3. True dat, Ben, but I think that point in time could potentially be a helluva long time in the future. Who knows. I think the real challenge here for the breweries is to make converts of the 90-95% of beer drinkers who don’t drink craft beer on a regular basis. By a rough estimate, that could be 2,000,000 bellies just waiting to be filled. The more in-roads the breweries make in that regard, the farther off the point of saturation is.

    I agree that the quality of beer is a factor in winning those lips, but so is consistency of marketing efforts, continued good press, etc.

  4. When I sampled the Boom Island IPA I really enjoyed it, and then enjoyed a bottle at home. I didn’t care for the Pale Ale when I sampled it. But then I had the Pale Ale on draft and was blown away, very solid beer. I look forward to seeing that same draft experience when I purchase a bottle……

  5. Staples Mill doesn’t even brew beer, do they? Don’t they get the wort shipped in?

  6. Correct- staples only boils/ferments on site

  7. There is potential for the local craft brewers to outgrow the local-beer market. However, as Mag said, the challenge is to convert the non-craft beer drinkers. I see that as a huge market.

    Every time I visit Portland, I’m overwhelmed at the breadth of choice with regards to locally-crafted beer in that city. That alone gives me hope that there is much, much more room for local breweries here in Minnesota.

  8. But what are local craft brewers doing to convert that market?

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