Can craft beer be too ‘Gimmicky’?

It’s too easy to forget to have a little fun with craft beer “Fried Fried Chicken Chicken,” the latest kooky beer to cross my path, reminded me about how goofy I thought Not Your Dad’s Root Beer had made the craft beer industry. Increasingly when there’s something outlandish coming down the line that feels flagrantly novel there is this sense that the craft beer industry (and its macro imitators) might be trying too hard to

Good News: Craft beer is a bad investment

No one expects CNBC to understand syllogisms, but when I see a mediocre one, it makes me prick up my ears. The one they constructed goes like this: Goldman Sachs downgraded Boston Beer and Constellation Brands*** because they say people under 35 are drinking less beer than other generations. Beer penetration dropped one percentage point, while wine and spirits remained flat. Millennials are drinking less alcohol than other generations. Therefore Millennials prefer wine to beer.

Industry leadership isn’t for Flying Dog

Flying Dog Brewing announced this week that it was leaving the Brewers Association because new rules asked brewers to take responsibility for complaints about childish naming conventions. For those of you who don’t recall, Flying Dog fought for years against the Michigan after that state’s liquor control board wouldn’t banned the brewery’s “Raging Bitch” label. Flying Dog appealed on First Amendment grounds and won. I was among those who was glad they did. It was a

Dewey Beer Company reimagines beach brewing

I thought it was busy at the Dewey Beer Company and, I guess for the uninitiated it looked that way. But there were seats to be had and no wait for tables in the Friday afternoon lull between lunch and dinner. Another way to tell there’s a lull in the action is to catch Brandon Smith, one of the partners, chatting with a beer in his hand. He and brewer Michael Reilly, who do much

What is in a name?

In this week’s Beer with Strangers podcast, Doug Griffith of Xtreme Brewing in Laurel and I discussed the recurring news story that craft beer is running out of names. Among the concerns is that it makes it harder for new brewers to break in and it prevents smaller brewers from having big breakout beers. Craft beers allegedly have kooky names because they are the product of one brewery making many, many beers. It makes sense,

Flights of fancy

My new favorite thing is the brewpub. I feel as if it’s the best way to sustain quality beer and innovation in the long run. Recently, I spoke with I guy I know about bottling. For small breweries, it is getting tougher and tougher to get shelf space. Retailers are only willing to cede so much Natural Light space to boutique beers. It’ll be like that for a long, long time. The market isn’t saturated

Searching Philadelphia for Maryland Beer

The Van Pelt library at the University of Pennsylvania truly is the type you can get lost in. I know ’cause I did. Early in my research I discovered that there was a person named John Beale Bordley, who was a colonial hotshot and one of the first production-scale brewers in Maryland. Bordley was friendly with Thomas Jefferson and as concerned as he was about what we now call sustainable living. Part of that, for