The wine industry has a saying: it takes a lot of beer to make good wine. When it comes to spirits, there is actual truth in the saying. Distilling and brewing share a common production core, one that is synergistic in ways that are less applicable to wine. The commonality has intrigued many brewers and the industry has seen many beer and spirit operations open around the country. There are some hurdles to the process, unsurprising in the world of beverage alcohol, but the potential for expanding markets beyond beer are worth exploring.
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The wedding was mid-day, held outside, the sun was blaring, and I had a long drive home ahead of me. While those staying locally enjoyed round after round of craft lager and IPA, I sipped my Victory Pils before switching over to review the thoughtful non-alcoholic options available to guests. Among the sodas and sparkling seltzers, one option caught my eye and captured my attention for the next few hours: Lagunitas’ Hoppy Refresher.
There is a good amount of good coffee that goes into making excellent pints of beer. With early mash-in times, long hours, late nights, and then another early morning brewers are often looking for a caffeine boost.
Discerning brewers care about their coffee and over the last decade a number of breweries have added coffee roasters to their business. This has helped some open the doors to a taproom earlier to catch morning commuters or have created a robust membership bean business. Others have seen success with their coffee brands that it was spun out into a separate company.
Case Study: How Santa Fe Brewing Co. Started Brewing Cider & Hard Seltzer
Cider and hard seltzer drinks are projected to continue growing in the market as popularity for these types of drinks build. Consumers today are looking for gluten-free alternatives to beers but still want something that tastes amazing. Is it possible for an established brewery to successfully introduce cider and hard seltzer to their portfolio and follow the market trends? Definitely! At Santa Fe Brewing Co., they did just that. Learn why they decided to diversify and started brewing cider and hard seltzer to add to their beer catalog.
There was a time when a brewery that just made beer was enough. As the industry has evolved, matured, and consumers have become accustomed to choice, companies have adapted to creating diversity in their portfolios.
As breweries grow, or look to grow, it’s not enough to just have a broad spectrum of beer styles on offer. To capture the interest and tastebuds of drinkers having a variety of products that appeal to lifestyles, interests, and preferences can help a bottom-line grow.
The CBD beverage market accounted for $3,221 million in 2022 and is estimated to grow to $4,6221 million by 2032.
Japan’s Asahi Shuzo announced plans to open a new $53 million sake plant in New York state. The facility, located in Hyde Park, will begin brewing sake in spring of 2023.
The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and Park Street released the Craft Spirits Data Project (CSDP) at its annual Craft Spirits Economic Briefing, which was held at New York Distilling Co. last week. The report finds that the U.S. craft spirits market share reached 4.9% in volume and 7.5% in value in 2021, up from 4.7% in volume and 7.1% in value in 2020.
While there are some sales numbers that suggest the hard seltzer category is slowing down and consumer preferences are shifting, there is still interest in the bubbly alcohol water and a chance for smaller producers to create a product that can have a solid impact on their home markets.
While there is already a lot of choice on the market and several brands have left the scene as quickly as they arrived, for small brewers who offer a hard seltzer in their taprooms, it can only help to add to the bottom line. There are several steps and considerations to follow before embarking down this sugary road.
Earlier this year at the Craft Brewers Conference in Minneapolis Pro Brewer sponsored a panel focused on the non-alcoholic beer space. Three panelists – Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery, Bill Shufelt of Athletic Brewing Co., and Keith Villa of Ceria Brewing – joined Beer Edge Editor John Holl for a wide-ranging discussion on process, flavor, and consumer preferences.
There is growing interest in the United States for non-alcoholic beer. As early craft beer drinkers age and are looking for alternatives to boozy offerings, and younger generations are increasingly sober curious, the time for brewers of all sizes to consider non-alcoholic offerings is now.
When New Jersey’s Cape May Brewing Company announced earlier this week that it was teaming up with regional convenience store chain Wawa to produce a line of flavored hard teas, there was much rejoicing among consumers online.
Wawa is an institution, a scared stop for commuters and road trippers alike, where a sandwich is not complete without a store labeled iced tea. That Cape May was going to make a boozy version, and in peach flavor no less, was really giving consumers what they wanted, especially down the Jersey Shore, where hard seltzers and flavored malt beverages rule the roost in the hotter months.
Mark Rieth, former owner of Detroit’s Atwater Brewery is launching FÜL (pronounced “fuel”) Beverage, a line of non-alcoholic beers and beverages.
Rieth operated Atwater Brewery in Detroit’s Riverside District for more than 20 years, growing the business into a large, successful brewery until selling it to Molson Coors in 2020.
The line-up will include six products: two nonalcoholic beers, two pre-workout drinks and two post-workout drinks. “Nonalcoholic beers have been around for decades, but few brewers treat them with any real respect or pay careful attention to flavor,” Rieth said in a statement. “FÜL will change that with delicious, hydrating beers for active people who love the taste, but are on-the-go or need to make the drive home.”
Kombucha is a long established beverage with a lot of passionate fans, and in recent years a number of breweries have branched out to add it to their portfolios. With a consumer bent towards “better for you” drinks and an interest in probiotics and flavor diversity both traditional and hard kombucha are gaining momentum in the general consciousness.
Beer Edge editor John Holl spoke with the Walker Brothers team – Luke and Sam Walker, along with co-founder, Caroline Howard about what is new and on the horizon for hard kombucha.
Among the major alcohol categories hard cider can often be overlooked. This is a mistake as the beverage, an agricultural achievement, has deep roots in America and continues to surprise and delight regular consumers. Michelle McGrath the executive director of the American Cider Association spoke with Beer Edge editor John Holl about all that is new and happening with cider.
To hear wine folks tell it, craft beer and natural wine are kindred spirits. Both are quirky offshoots of the traditional beverage order, expand the flavor ranges beyond the ordinary, and remain a little difficult to define. In pushing beverage alcohol to new frontiers and places, there is an interplay between craft beer and natural wine, especially as beer increasingly mimics the flavors, aromas, and aesthetic of wine through barrel and wood aging, fruit and mixed culture fermentation, and other techniques.
Mitch Ermatinger fundamentally understands all of this. After more than a decade running Speciation Artisan Ales in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ermatinger decided to venture into wine with his Native Species Natural Winery. He has some words of advice for brewers considering a move into natural wine.
The buzz around CBD and THC infused drinks has steadily grown in recent years, from faint whispers to celebratory screams. Once a pipe dream for cannabis enthusiasts, spiked seltzers and other beverages are increasingly big business. And near the center of the action is an unlikely advocate, the creator of the famous Blue Moon Belgian White.
Keith Villa spent more than 30 years working for various permutations of Coors, including as the founder and head brewmaster of its Blue Moon Brewing Company. With a doctorate in brewing science, Villa has long been a student of the minute details of brewing. After retiring from MillerCoors in early 2018, Villa turned his hunger for knowledge to a new area: brewing non-alcoholic beers. He and his wife Jodi co-founded Ceria Brewing Company and released Grainwave, a Belgian-style White Ale, and later a non-alcoholic IPA called Indiewave. From there, Villa became interested in infusing his NA beers with both THC and CBD. He dove into the subject matter, researching all manners of production and exploring all the related details. It culminated in Ceria’s release of two infused beers and in late 2021, the release of a book, Brewing With Cannabis: Using THC and CBD in Beer. We recently spoke with Villa to explore the growing interest in CBD and THC drinks and to get some advice on how brewers can get involved with this expanding product area.
As brewers of all size think about growth, diversification of offerings, and creativity, the idea of opening a distillery component has crossed most minds. While beer and spirits share a lot of the same space, there are a lot of practical, financial, and logistical issues to overcome with distilling that just do not exist in beer.
If you are a small brewery thinking about starting a distillery component, there are a few basic things to know and questions to ask before letting the spirits move you.
Scott Vaccaro knows this firsthand. As the brewer and founder of Captain Lawrence Brewing in Elmsford, New York, he added Current Spirits to the portfolio in 2019 after a long flirtation with the idea and jumping through legal and local red tape. The process was harder than he imagined.