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Big craft brewers concerned with declining on-premise share of mind

“The on-premise is a critical place to engage our consumers and build brands,” he adds, and the “in and out” or “one and done” approach to draft brews by an increasing number of bars has begun to “dramatically impact our share.” Sullivan adds that other craft brewers report similar concern.

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9 thoughts on “Big craft brewers concerned with declining on-premise share of mind

  1. The concept of a dedicated draft line is as antiquated as the concept of creating the tamest yellow swill to appease the largest amount of people. As a beer bar manager I want my customers to get a chance to try new products and all the creativity the is in the craft beer world. I have two Boulevard beers on the bottle list and they sell well because they are great beers maybe that is where the future of “brand building is”.

  2. All industries are driven by consumer demand…right now the consumer is demanding rotating draft handles, and variety in general. It’s up to the breweries and distributors to adjust and adapt.

  3. @amanaplan –

    Dedicated lines are “antiquated?” As a brother in beer bar managing, I must respectfully disagree with you.

    Certain companies have always treated us well (taking part in our promos, making sure we get a few barrels of the good stuff, etc), and they have earned their spot as a full time handle. A few years back, Goose Island pulled any specialty product unless you had a full time Goose handle — and that totally made sense to me. Sierra, Bells, and New Belgium all have full time handles at our bar, so I generally enjoy better access to their reserve products.

    I choose to develop long term relationships with the breweries that I believe in, instead of being known as the account that flips handles every week.

    Is there something wrong with knowing that you can always come to my bar for a pint of SNPale Ale, or Two Hearted, or Boulevard Wheat? Why would you expect to get Hopslam, Narwhal, or any other reserve/specialty beer unless you do a good amount of business with that company?

    That being said, I am also very lucky to have 28 draft lines, and I’m able to dedicate a few, and keep rotating others (which obviously keeps my beer geeks happy).

    Cheers, and happy Repeal Day,

    [email protected]

  4. Mr. Sullivan, some of you comments make me think of the way craft brewing used to be with Boulevard Wheat. A lot of us are no longer Wheat drinkers. You have Saison-Brett and BBQ and Rye on Rye limited stuff, but try making a little less small beers and a little more rare beers and you’ve got both markets. Dark Lord, Darkness, Black Tuesday, Kate the Great… Make us Kansas Citians stand in line for the ultimate beer that is brewed once and you will have the advanced drinkers follow more closely and the un-loyal establishments buying your beer. And no, 21st Anniv Fresh Hop doesn’t count :).

  5. I disagree entirely, many of the beers I currently seek out from “big craft brewers” for home consumption, including both regular and special releases, were brands I discovered via rotating tap lines. To name a few Blvd Tank 7, Founder’s Porter, Ruination, Matilda, BCBS, Bell’s Expedition are beers that I regularly enjoy but first tried (and fell in love with) after they made an, essentially, one-and-done appearance at my local tap house (I realize for many bars these are a part of their regular or semi-regular lineup, but my preferred alehouse rotates almost hourly). There are currently hundreds of “big-brewery” beers available in my local market, and I often hesitate to buy a six pack of something I’ve never tried; rotating taps allow me to do this at a much lower cost. Without constantly rotating tap lines I might very well be fixed on drinking only a few major craft brands (SN or NB) and miss the many others out there I have discovered (Boulevard, Founders, Stone). This is a win for brewers of “good” beer, regardless of size.

  6. The article is an interesting read, though I do not really understand why a bar should be interested in building the brand of a certain brewery. Shouldn’t a bar be more interested in building its own brand, and that brand could be that the bar stocks a rotating variety of taps from different breweries?

  7. We have 27 lines that we pour growlers from. We have no shame in constantly rotating them and feel as though we better serve the consumer by offering variety (in both style and brewery). By doing so, we can offer a 4oz. tasting, and either sell it via growler or packaged. It makes sense.

  8. Aaron,
    Maybe I’m wrong but I almost believe that what you are saying is almost the point he is trying to make…….. Let’s say you were a boulevard guy, so you mostly drank their stuff, therefor bought their stuff. Now you may buy something that you tried because no boulevard was on tap. Notice he said rotating draft lines are “dramatically affecting their share”. I wholeheartedly agree with you and I think this is a poor mindset for a leader in the craft industry, he’s almost complaining about losing market share because there are too many good beers.

  9. @Aaron I am curious about your comment regarding “rotating taps allow me to do this at a much lower cost”. In my case, this does not tend to be the case. You happen to mention Stone Ruination. I can’t remember the exact price around me but the price from of $14 for a six pack sounds about right. A six pack has 72 fluid ounces which comes out to 20 cents (.1944444 but I rounded up) per ounce for said six pack. To reach that 20 cents per ounce parity, one would have to purchase a 20 oz (an imperial pint) for $4 at the bar. I was just curious what you generally pay for beer, at a bar and beer store?

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