Predictions for Beer in the New Year

2007 was certainly a big year for the beer world. Small, independent brewers have experienced tremendous growth across the country (while, thankfully, sales at the “big three” have remained relatively flat); there has been an explosion in the “green” and organic brewing sector; the popularity of homebrewing continues to rise; on a much sadder note – beer lost one of its greats, and much more. So, what will 2008 bring? Here are some predictions:

1. The price of beer will go up

A pretty obvious one for anyone who has been paying attention. The price of both hops & barley have skyrocketed by as much as 400%. The result will be increased prices for the consumer across the board (it’s not just craft breweries, the huge commercial breweries will be affected too); some are reporting increases of $0.50-$1.00 per six-pack. The question at this point isn’t “will the price of beer go up?” but rather “by how much?”

2. There will be more breweries “going green”

It started happening in 2007 – breweries like Sierra Nevada, Stone Brewing, Michigan Brewing Co., Peak Organic, New Belgium, and many more all took strides towards sustainability this year. I’ve already been told to expect the same from Smuttynose Brewing Co. in Portsmouth, NH some time in 2008. With the current national trend towards “going green” such as it is, it seems rather obvious that more and more breweries will jump on the bandwagon this coming year (which isn’t a bad thing, by any stretch).

3. The giant breweries will mimic the little guys 

As craft beer sales continue to rise, and the sales of the major breweries remain stagnant, you will see more “craft beer-style” releases from the major breweries – either under their own name (which Miller is set to do), or psydonyms (as Anheuser Busch already does). In fact,

Miller Brewing Company in early February will begin test-marketing Miller Lite Brewers Collection, a family of three craft-style light beers.

The lineup includes a blonde ale, an amber and a wheat — each with significantly fewer calories and carbs than typical beers of that style.

As the year progresses, the giant breweries will continue to fight for a piece of the growing craft pie and will do so with releases such as the ones from Miller, so keep your eyes peeled.

Where do you see beer going in ought eight?

[tags]beer, going green, hops, craft beer, beer news, 2008[/tags]
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