Hidden Gems in September/October 2019 Edition of The New Brewer Magazine

The New Brewer Magazine Sept-Oct 2019 CoverLately I have made a resolution for myself and that is to be more efficient in daily work and life. In keeping with this resolution, when I received the September/October 2019 issue of The New Brewer Magazine, I read it cover to cover. I found a lot of cool facts, tips, and ideas within the 184 pages and I thought I would highlight them here.

Excise Tax Rate News

On page 11, in the news section, these important tidbits stood out to me:

  1. All 50 states now allow for beer to-go. Texas recently passed H.R. 1545, in order to keep the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission functioning for another dozen years.
  2. Excise taxes may double in January. While there are several efforts to make the reduced excise tax permanent, we are waiting for legislation to pass in both houses. So unless something is signed by the end of the year, excise taxes will go back to the old rates on January 1.
  3. More that 400 breweries are still paying the old excise tax rates. The Brewers Association met with the TTB and were told that more than 400 breweries (representing 90,000 barrels cumulatively) are filing excise tax returns with the standard rate. If you are reading this and realize that you paid too much, you can file with the TTB for a rebate of your overpayment.

The Rise of Lifestyle Beers

Any reader of this blog will recognize my advocacy for the ‘health conscious’ drinker. On page 59 of The New Brewer Magazine, the article is the first detailed attempt at understanding who these drinkers are and what constitutes ‘lifestyle beer’. I recommend reading the whole article, but I will point out a few things that struck me. 

“There is a crosscurrent developing amount craft beer consumers: a demand for simpler, more refreshing beers that contain fewer elements that health-conscious drinkers wish to limit (alcohol, carbs, gluten) and more of what they want to emphasize (electrolytes, probiotics).”

Drinking is also changing. Studies show that the younger you are, the more likely it is that you will view alcohol as a special treat and not a daily occurrence. How many of our parents and grandparents have bars in their homes to store the alcohol for the regular nightcap? Here’s an interesting fact stated in the magazine: “One in three craft drinkers report that they take time off from drinking, while that rises to 44% with millennials.”

What are lifestyle beers? The article breaks them into Gose (and the use of adjuncts and flavorings including exotic salt), gluten-free and reduced beer, seltzer, craft ‘lite beer’ (a trend that I’m seeing more and more), sport-enthusiast beers, and finally non-alcoholic beers. It’s worth the read to learn about each category, but I will close with this quote:

“The last few years we’ve seen a new demographic: they like the social aspects of the tasting room or pub, but don’t drink. They like the bubbles but not the alcohol.” Dave Thibodeau, Ska Brewing

Thinking Small: The Popularity of 8-ounce Cans

My clients are getting tired of me talking about new can sizes, but an 8oz can was a new thing for me. The article on page 77 talks about the use of 8oz cans. This size is popular for a few reasons:

  1. You can limit the calories with the smaller package
  2. You can limit the alcohol with the smaller package
  3. You can sell a flight of beers in one six pack
  4. Some beers are so big, that they are hard to consume in larger packaging. It’s tough to find enough drinkers to finish a large format big stout.

Bart Watson says it best in the article, “Consumers are looking for smaller formats overall. I think that comes from the tremendous amount of choice and variety out there.”

Check out the full September/October 2019 issue of The New Brewer Magazine here

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