Saturday, March 22, 2008

Fun Facts...

Via the Brewers Association.

In Kansas, for in-state breweries of 15,000 barrels or less no less than 50% of the agricultural products going into their beer must originate from the state of Kansas unless they are given a waiver due to the fact the products are not available in the state. Also, their label must spell out the proportion of Kansas' products used.

A bill currently before the legislature would remove this requirement. (Bill Text in pdf)

While requiring a brewery to obtain a certain percentage of their ingredients from its resident state may seem heavy-handed, the idea of adding the origin of the ingredients may tweak some interest. There is a move to emphasize locally grown and harvested agricultural products and craft breweries and have been a part of that move towards local and sustainable products.

Previously I pointed out the fact that we were experimenting with wheat supplied to us from a local farmer. It hasn't moved beyond some basic tasting trials, but it's a step in an interesting direction.

As rising grain and hop prices force brewers to re-examine their approach, some brewers may begin looking at alternatives to what they have done in the past. Recently the references to gruit, meads and other malt beverage styles have gone through the roof.

As for brewers incluing the origin and makeup of their ingredients on the label, that probably falls on TTB's don't list when it comes to labeling regulations. The data-gathering and management that would likely accompany such a move would swamp most brewers. Best to keep it light, and to keep the sales folk educated.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hops increase, so does the industry

ProBrewer reports that hop production is up this year.
Hop production for Idaho, Oregon, and Washington in 2007 totaled 60.3 million
pounds, up 4 percent from the 2006 crop of 57.7 million pounds and 14 percent
above the 2005 production of 52.9 million pounds.

While not an enormous jump, the increase is a good sign that there is light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the hop shortage.

The increase comes on the heels of continued growth in the craft beer industry. Also from ProBrewer:
Information Resources said craft beer sales rose 16.7 percent from $493 million in 2006 to $575 million in 2007, marking the second straight year of double-digit increases. IRI tracks sales only in the off-premise trade.

The report also notes that price increases made necessary by the jump in malt and hop prices is only now beginning to reach customers.

Increased prices hitting customers just as the economy dallies around the edges of recession may put a damper on growth as consumers look for bargains. That said, a slightly more expensive craft beer may still be perceived as an affordable luxury to those who have become craft beer drinkers.
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