Beverage Wholesaler - January 29, 2018 To view this email as a web page, click here.
Cheers Weekly
11 Trends Defining Craft Beer in 2018  

Growth continues to define U.S. craft beer. While sales have slowed from the meteoric rise between 2012-13 (almost +20%) to a more reasonable +6% in 2016, other key aspects have increased without end in sight.
American breweries surpassed 6,000 in number towards the end of 2017 — an all-time high. And craft beer’s market share of the overall beer category continues to expand, after topping 10% for the first time in 2016.
Such broad, rapid growth means a greater variety of products and new trends — but also the risk of recession. There will be a bit of both in 2018 for craft beer, as younger breweries lure customers away from the old, trends rise and fall, and consumers continue to hunt down whatever is local, fresh, and newest to them. Here are 11 important trends we see in 2018.
single vineyard
Case Study: WestRock and Sleeping Giant
Once a home brewer in Vermont, Matthew Osterman now owns the first and only dedicated contract brewery west of the Mississippi. In 2013, he left his job at New Plant Beer in Denver and signed a seven-year lease on a 70,000-square-foot facility near Interstate 25. Two years later, Sleeping Giant Brewing Company opened its fermenting tanks for business. Osterman’s one goal: treat every recipe as his own.
“Our customers’ beer is our beer; we’re only as successful as they are,” he said.
And success has come quickly for the not-so-sleepy company—since operations began, the brewery has increased capacity from 15,000 barrels a year to 30,000 in 2016. In fact, Sleeping Giant expects to brew 60,000 barrels or more this year, following a recent $2 million plant expansion.
For Osterman, keeping pace with his company’s sharp, upward trajectory has meant putting his trust in key partnerships. And when it came to packaging solutions his customers could be proud of, he went with WestRock to deliver the differentiation on store shelves that beer-makers need now more than ever.

A single focus on service
Contract brewing, in which one brewery pays another to make its beer, is an increasingly common practice, particularly as more and more breweries lack the capacity or equipment at their own facilities to satisfy demand. Yet, all too often, contract brewing leaves customers feeling dissatisfied explains Osterman:
“In some instances, your products are competing with the house brands for tank space and attention, or in other cases, you’re brewing at a large factory that’s out of touch with the craft world,” he said. “The truth is, you shouldn’t have to compromise. Service is paramount to Sleeping Giant’s identity and is the reason 100 percent of our capacity is dedicated to our customers.”

America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling’s, will expand its brand
into a 22nd state in March by adding distribution in Kentucky.
– -Source: Lexington Herald-Leader

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