Editor’s Note, Brewing Industry Guide Spring 2017

Several themes kept bubbling up across all of our conversations with the brewers and brewery owners—change, quality, and growth.

Tom Wilmes Mar 7, 2017 - 4 min read

Editor’s Note, Brewing Industry Guide Spring 2017 Primary Image

The best part about working on this special Brewing Industry Guide issue of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® is the opportunity to speak with many of the talented and passionate brewers and owners who’ve helped make the industry what it is today. While each individual brings his/her own expertise and insight to the issue, several themes kept bubbling up across all of these conversations—change, quality, and growth.

Change remains a huge topic of conversation around craft beer. What will the continued involvement of big beer and outside investors mean for the industry? How many breweries can the market sustain before reaching critical mass? Will consumers continue to embrace craft at the same pace as they are now, and how long can that momentum continue?

It’s important to remember that all of these concerns are beyond anyone’s direct control. Change is a constant, especially in a rapidly growing sector such as craft beer. What’s more, any new challenges that come may also represent new opportunities, at least for those who can see it from a fresh perspective. And the best way for owners and brewers to position themselves to respond is to provide outstanding customer service, continue to improve their operations, and keep making great beer.

A superior quality product is what distinguishes craft beer from the merely crafty. Most consumers recognize and respect this, whether or not they can always put a finger on it. And, from an owner’s perspective, a steadfast commitment to prizing quality above all else makes it easy to choose when presented with a dilemma such as releasing an inferior batch into the market or dumping the beer and starting again.


Growth is another big topic of conversation that’s reflected in this issue, specifically around the incremental or detrimental impact that growth can have on the quality of a business and its beers.

There’s a widespread perception that, given craft beer’s bullish growth, the industry has attracted and will continue to attract owners and investors who are primarily motivated by profit and not by the craft. Build up a brewery as quickly as possible, the thinking goes, expand into new markets, and hope that someone offers to buy you out. Understandably, many owners worry that this mentality degrades the entire industry, and they’re right. Thankfully this tactic is still the exception and not the norm.

Rather, the industry is primarily populated with people who are motivated by the craft and the pursuit of excellence. It’s encouraging that most owners—and all of the owners and brewers we spoke with for this issue—choose to reinvest in their breweries and their people, to pursue growth strategies that are founded on actual demand rather than on overly ambitious expansion, and to focus on making really great beer. And with people like that leading the way, it’s clear that the craft-beer industry is in very good hands.

We hope you enjoy this special issue of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and find many ideas, inspiration, and insight among its pages.


Tom Wilmes
Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® Brewing Industry Guide Spring 2017