The beer world can be a wonderful place, full of flavor, friendly faces, travels, and positive experiences. But every business has its quirks, and as craft beer grows out of its punk-rock phase into mainstream alternative, some things brewers loved about the landscape start to change.
From lack of diversity among personnel and patrons to overdoing adjuncts, to the significance of a certain tappable app, here are 10 things brewery professionals wish they could change about the beer industry.
“The role of social media in peoples’ beer choices. (Untappd reviews.)” — Marks Lanham, Head Brewer, Comrade Brewing, Denver, CO
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“I would like to see more women in the workplace as well as more women in leadership roles.” — Paul Friedheim, Lead Brewer, Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC
“The only thing I have seen that is troublesome in recent years is that a few are opening a brewery just to capitalize on the wave and are not truly passionate about beer like those of us who chose this profession for the love of beer!” — Dennis O’Harrow, Head Brewer, Lone Tree Brewing Co., Lone Tree, CO
“I wish there were more beer geeks out there and less beer snobs. It’s awesome when someone gets really excited about beer and educates themselves about the products, process, and ingredients, but making someone else feel bad about drinking a beer that they enjoy is just not cool, no matter what that beer is.” — Aaron Reilly, Head Brewer, Basecamp Brewpub, Devils Backbone Brewing, Roseland, VA
“While I love innovation, I sometimes get concerned about innovation without intentionality. I think that there is a trend to throw a ton of some adjunct or something in a beer without always being thoughtful about recipe design as a whole, which can result in beers that lack balance and are poorly executed. I would also love to see brewers and breweries as a whole spend more time and energy (no pun intended) working on sustainability initiatives within their breweries, even on small-scale projects like water consumption and reclamation. Finally, Untappd is a giant pain in the ass.” — Jordan Fink, Head Brewer and Co-owner, Woods Boss Brewing, Denver, CO
“Consumers’ understanding of the margins we’re operating on in craft beer. I’m not complaining — we knew what the margins were when we went into it — but the perception some folks have that we’re rolling in riches by charging higher prices than mass-produced beer is off by a long shot.” — Carol Cochran, Co-owner and Co-founder, Horse & Dragon Brewing Company, Fort Collins, CO
“Beer should be unapologetically beer. Not a sports drink. Not Champagne. Not a milkshake or fruit smoothie. Can we just get back to good, quality beer please?” — Kevin Van Winkle, Co-owner and Head Brewer, Endo Brewing Company, Lafayette, CO
“This is an issue that is slowly moving in the right direction, but the ability for small breweries to band together to gain the ability to offer competitive benefits programs to their employees is highly important for the long-term health of the industry. Many people who move to the brewing industry from another job have [to leave] their benefits behind, especially when working for a small or newer company. Additionally, many longtime brewers are forced to leave the industry later in life when they need to support a family and need to find a job with more competitive benefits. Larger breweries are getting much better about this, but support for small breweries in this area would be a huge advantage in attracting and keeping employees.” — Fred Searles, Head Brewer, Bonfire Brewing, Eagle, CO
“The sensationalism. Brewing an updated or nuanced version of any particular style is worthy of tasting. Chasing the newest quintuple-dry-hopped double imperial cream ale brewed with lactose, for me, somewhat defeats the purpose of enjoying a well-brewed beer with friends.” — Chris Rockwood, Head Brewer, Magic Hat, Burlington, VT
“Pricing — seems strange to me that we, collectively, will pay $3 for an energy drink and complain that beer is more than $1 per can. I could probably produce that energy drink in a fraction of the time it takes to make and age a beer. Similarly, even cheap boxed wine sells for $3 [per] 12 ounces. — Chris Labbe, Owner, Periodic Brewing, Northglenn, CO