As I dive further into the craft beer scene I realize how the craft beer business is changing. These changes do not certainly happen overnight and may only be a short lived trend. If anything, they expand craft beer and offer us yet another way to enjoy our drink.
Craft beer cocktails have been on the rise around the country. Finding ways to mix fruit and liquor into your beer has produced some interesting results. Mixing drinks can be fun and give you a chance to change up your routine. The classic beer 'mixers' are the half of this/half of that, the Irish carbomb, and slice of fruit on the rim.
Restaurants and pubs are starting to offer variations or original concoctions that utilize their beer and liquor selections. Ciders are beginning to gain popularity as well. Many of these drinks are rotated or offered as specials and are an interesting way to change up their drinks selection.
Here is a link to a great list of beer drinks you might try: http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinchack/drinks-that-prove-mixing-beer-cocktail...
Another change that is equal parts good and bad, are the increasing amounts of seasonal selections. While Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers can be great, not every brewery should produce them. Many breweries just assume that have to put out these styles because they are popular. Even Budweiser/InBev puts out a low quality pumpkin beer.
With so many of these seasonal beers that are not that good, the brewery should take time to perfect their recipes. They also know that we will buy these kinds of beers and if they don't make one, they are missing out on a sale.
The last slow change that I have observed is overall growth of craft beer. Obviously, as craft beer has gained popularity since the 1980's there have been more breweries and more beer brewed year after year. As I had mentioned, Budweiser (also Miller/Coors) has been brewing and selling their 'crafty beers' in an attempt to fool consumers. They know that Americans will continue to buy craft beer and want a part of this market. Light lagers have their place. Some beer drinkers won't ever buy a case of anything else.
As the biggest micro brewers slow down and consolidate their products, the bigger craft brewers will continue to expand. From local to state. From state to multi-state. Then on to nationwide or international. We are nowhere close to the Boston Brewing Company (Samuel Adams) producing the same as the big three, but they already contract out some of their brewing because of high demand.
Craft beer should come from passion, and not the need to please shareholders. Dogfish Head Brewing Company is one of my favorites because of their dedication to local customers, quality beer, and by doing things their own way. As craft beer becomes bigger and bigger, all the problems of big business will occur. Even now, businessmen with no idea of what beer is are starting breweries to make money. We need to be aware of which breweries are making our beer and what their intentions are.
Whether we will see these trends continue is up to the consumers. The market can only take so much, and our livers can only drink so much. The businesses and people who have a true passion for beer should hope to avoid the problems with these changes. In the long term I believe craft beer will triumph and we will no longer have to call it craft beer, just American beer!
Pick one up and put it down.