“Our topic this month is, “The Landscape of Beer“. How do you see that landscape now? What about in 5, 10, or even 20 years? A current goal in the American Craft Beer Industry is 20% market share by the year 2020. How can we get there? Can we get there?”
When I think about the current beer landscape, I want to focus more locally and start with a look back. August 13th is an important day, at least for the North Carolina beer. It was on that day 10 years ago that North Carolina entered the modern beer world, with the maximum ABV changed from 6% to a far more reasonable 15%. I wasn’t in North Carolina then, but I arrived soon after and saw the impact the change made on the industry.
People that got excited by this Popping the Cap had gathered business plans and investors and started opening brewery after brewery in the months after our (me and now wife) arrival. At first I wasn’t sure that the craft scene would be here would be as vibrant as my hometown, sure there was a brewery in my town and a few others around the Triangle (population just over 2 million). But nothing like the town of 60,000 that had 4 breweries and numerous bottle shops and beer bars I came from.
Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
What I came to discover was a state on the cusp of becoming a craft beer destination. The number of brewers exploded from a handful to over 30 within an hour of me. The state will have 150 by the end of the year. One good bottle shop has turned into so many I can’t count them all. Numerous coworkers from homebrew shop I worked have become a generation of brewers for these fledgling breweries, myself included. I have made so many friends through this community and am thankful for it.
So I’d like to think that the future of this beer landscape is just as promising a future as the last 10 years. Companies like Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues, and New Belgium seem to think we are heading in the right direction and have joined us. I teach a class locally to help keep the industry staffed, but it’s not just Wake Tech, across the state from Asheville to Rocky Mount educators are helping the cause. National recognized beer bars can be found from Raleigh to Asheville. While we have work to do in some areas like taxes, the legislature has noticed the positive impact we bring to the state and are slowly making reforms like the growler law update.
When it comes to the future of North Carolina beer I believe the future is bright and best is yet to come.