alcohol, beer, industry news

No More Mystery! Craft Beer Explained

Craft beer isn’t the easiest to jump into for newcomers. Not when you can go for what’s familiar and just grab a Budweiser on your way to the checkout.

Never fear! This brief breakdown by CStore Decisions explains craft beer at its most simple, stressing its focus on small batches and unique flavors. Now, these breweries don’t exactly have to be tiny. A craft brewery can still create up to six million barrels and still qualify as craft beer, with the best known examples being Blue Moon and Samuel Adams. I’m a fan of both brands myself (and I can’t recommend the Samuel Adams Brick Red hard enough).

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, check out local craft breweries in your state. You might be surprised at some of the neat flavors you find.

American craft beer is at an interesting crossroads lately. There’s a spike in interest, and subsequently a spike in sales, but also pervasive problems in marketing and shipping that could see individual businesses struggling. I’ve got a lengthy guide coming up soon, tackling these issues one-by-one from my perspective as both a copywriter and a longtime beer lover. Until then, I’m going to go browse the Schilling Hard Cider catalog and get myself a treat for April. Their Grapefruit And Chill is just splendid.

What are you drinking lately?

alcohol, beer

Get Buzzed On Good Art: Beer Can Appreciation Day

Better late than never! This beer can art appreciation post cropped up last year, but it’s a whirlwind of inspiration.

If you know anything about me and this blog, it’s that I love packaging design. It’s a deceptively simple creation we easily take for granted, blending appealing colors and psychology into one…well, package. It’s not enough to just look pretty. Packaging design needs to communicate intent. It needs to stand out from the others on the shelf. It needs to have some artistic flair to make you want to show it off or even keep it around. That’s a tall order, one many breweries have risen to.

This fun list from Just Beer App shows off fifteen unique can designs and what makes them special. They go into the details behind each brewery or pub, then cross-reference how they get across their identity visually. Some local designs use environmental shorthands to show their love for a particular city or state, while others craft original characters to represent the ‘character’ of a unique brew. I’m pleasantly blown away by Noble Rey Brewing Co.: their design creates a full illustration if you stack each beer can on top of the other.

This is a great time to mention I designed a seasonal beer can this year, which I’ll be showing off here soon. In the meantime, get buzzed on some good art.

alcohol, beer, industry news

Beer Doesn’t Have The Appeal It Used To

Left and right I see the shrinking appeal of alcohol. I’ve even felt it myself.

Once or twice a week I dip into my alcohol stores. I’ll crack open a hard cider over a baked potato for dinner. Pour myself an inch of wine during a lazy Sunday in front of a movie. As time goes on, however, I find myself getting more selective with what I put in the fridge. How many calories it has, how it lines up with my current diet and exercise regimen. This is a far cry from a few years ago, where I was less picky as long as it tasted good.

While the United States has been seeing a consistent dip in beer and wine sales (with the reasons usually lining up with health concerns), it’s far from an American phenomenon. This analysis from The Guardian goes into a similar trend in the U.K., exploring how younger drinkers are starting to skew toward lighter beer or no beer at all. Craft beer, beloved for its unique local varieties and limited-edition offers, is starting to dip after a strong past five years.

This is lining up with another prod to the beer-making bubble: a lack of CO2 connected to the ethanol industry’s current struggles. While recent spikes in beer purchases have been attributed to COVID-19, those numbers are not going to be easy to maintain when breweries don’t have the supplies they need. Combined with an overall shrinking interest in party culture and binge-drinking, this is a slope that will only get steeper. Drinks are going to have to continue getting creative (and healthy) to keep people’s attention.

What about you? Do you see your beer-drinking habits changing this year?