Did you catch the The beer story in Shanken Daily News entitled, Craft Controversy: Rotating Drafts Spark Concern Among Brewers?
Bars that refuse to dedicate draft handles to particular brews, but rather regularly rotate beers in and out are “becoming more prevalent,” remarks Bob Sullivan, vice president of sales and marketing at Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, Missouri, the tenth-largest craft brewer. The tactic—while often a successful strategy for on-premise operators—is damaging to all craft brewers, new and established, Sullivan says, as it doesn’t give brewers a chance to build their brands.
It strikes me that this attitude is contrary to the craft movement, which revitalized a dead, homogenized beer market.
The writer of the piece went further to comment more deeply on the trend, while great for consumers and beneficial to many bars—is a challenge for marketers and distributors.
We could argue that decreasing the consumer's intake of diet soda is bad for PepsiCo's business, or the decrease of smoking is bad for Phillip Morris, or that GreenMarket vegetables might be tastier but that's bad for Whole Foods or Southern complaining that they've harder time getting by the glass pours because of Jenny & Francois selection being so popular.
Okay, I'm going on a roll here,this is not as pernicious a motive as those listed above, but the mindset is the same. Control the market, control the consumer.
Just to make sure the independent craft beer industry wasn't going totally off their rocker with commercialism, I put in a call to craft beer central, Oregon, and specifically to Charlie Devereaux who heads up Double Mountain, a company that has just started to put its draft into bottle, works in a much more crowded local market than Boulevard, albeit makes a whole lot less beer.
He was a surprised by the piece, because he believes Boulevard to be the real thing, but he does realize they have a problem. "When they started there were 200 craft breweries, now there are 2000," he said.
Even though he was eager to defend his bigger colleague, as he sees it, the way a beer is built is merely through demand, and not because a bar pours you. "The real damaging threat," he said, "is when the industry gets boring."