Outside, festival-goers are seeking the hair of the dog. My first pint is at 10:11am—a 3.8% light bitter from the Ramsgate Brewery—nudging the palate awake with its gentle sweetness. The bands start warming up. Stages, all five of them, are found on almost every street in the centre of town.
For the past 30 years the good folks of Kent, England have been staging an annual hop festival. They have a Miss Faversham beauty queen, a “Harry the Hop” mascot-figure, Punch and Judy shows, copious beer drinking, and of course plenty live music (sea shanties!) We’ve always resisted going to the UK due to the pound’s dominance over the dollar but this party sounds like as good a reason as any to venture over the pond. Writer Hugh Thomas breaks down the festival for Pellicle magazine in this piece.
You go to a brewery and you see like eight 7% IPAs with mango or coffee or something,” Bainbridge sighs. “It’s like they just threw a bunch of shit in a beer. We’re really just trying to make simple, beautiful, elegant beer.
Here’s some fine storytelling from Kyle Kastranec who goes longform to write about Halfway Crooks Beer in Atlanta link.
If you see a headline ruminating on the “death of craft beer” just keep right on going. I’ve see the dips and sways since I was a teenager drinking Moosehead on a mountaintop in Appalachia. Craft beer is not dying. I’d venture that if you took the top five macros masquerading as craft out of the sales quotients you’d see vigorous growth in the (real) top twenty brewery’s numbers.
Jacob Landry of Urban South here in New Orleans is smart. He’s opening a new extension of his local brand in Houston and he’s not chasing grocery store shelves in the process. I ran into a salesman from one of Landry’s rivals last week at a quick mart in the 9th Ward and he was having a tough time getting cooler space from the curb store owner. Go figure. It’s bloody dogfight getting shelves in any retail environment and the industry smart guys are starting to realize that. Open a micro or nano. Build a nice little taproom and sell 100 percent of what you’re producing across the counter. You’ll earn a good living and won’t go to sleep at night with nightmares of Rouse’s or Kroger’s in your head. link