In a recent story about the declining sales of beer from the "big brewers" such as Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, MillerCoors, and Crown Imports (importers of Corona), Stephen Beaumont implies that it is not as gloomy as some may think. Yes, it is true that shipments of beer from most big breweries fell, but at the same time, shipments of Boston Brewing Company (Sam Adams brand) rose.
Sam Adams represents a big chunk of the craft beer industry in the US. So, as their sales go, so do the small craft beer brewers (usually). So how does one interpret this trend? People are drinking better beer, craft beer, and less light American lagers.
You can see this trend right here in Acadiana as well. More and more bars and restaurants are stocking good imports as well as American craft beers. Just take a look at the beer shelves in Marcello's Wine Market, Phillipe's Wine Cellar, and Rouse's Supermarket. Where you once only found Budweiser, Coors, and Miller, now you find NOLA "draft packs", Stone IPA, St. Peter's Golden Ale, and St. Bernardus' abt 12. Acadiana is waking up to the fact that there are some really good beers out there and we don't have to settle for American light lagers any longer. Check out The Tap Room in River Ranch for a good beer selection in Lafayette.
So what does the French axiom "boire moins, boire mieux" mean? It translates to "drink less, drink better". Sure, with the economy in the dumpster, many are drinking less. But when we want to drink a really good beer, we now have a decent (not great) selection. We could definitely use a better American craft beer selection in Lafayette though. Here is a list of BeerAdvocate.com's top American Craft Beers to give you an idea of what we are missing here in Louisiana. Of course most of these beers are in the bigger, higher alcohol genre, such as Imperial Stouts and Imperial IPA's, but the fact remains, we can't get but a very few here in Lafayette.
What can you do as a consumer to get more American craft beer coming to Louisiana? One way to get a better selection is to call the distributors and demand better beer. Here are some links to the distributors: Glazer's, Crescent Crown Distriibuting (very bottom of page), and Schilling Distributing Company. Think of it as if you were calling your senator or representative to demand better service. The distributors are only going to handle what sells, and without your input, they won't know what you want.
Another way to get a better selection of American craft beer in Lafayette is to drink more American craft beer. When the distributors see sales of these lines increasing, it is in their best interest to bring a better selection to Louisiana. We have to work with the system we have in place, and that means we have to go through the distributors if we want more craft beers on the shelves. So give them a call, email them, stop them on the street, honk your horn when you pass their offices...whatever it takes.
So, when it comes to "boire moins, boire mieux," I'm all for the "boire mieux" (drink better) part.
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