Dave Infante has written the best piece on the evolution of craft beer market I have read in quite some time (and not just because he quotes me). I get asked all the time if I think there is a craft beer bubble and my answer is always no, but that I think the market is maturing to a point where price competition is coming and it will put a lot of pressure on small-scale breweries. I expect that we will see a fair number of breweries closing but because of this dynamic, not because of a bubble.
Go and check it out.
Friday, April 24, 2015
I found myself at Growlers on Hawthorne yesterday at the invitation of Jim Hillman, the owner, and came away impressed by the business in general, but particularly impressed by the Digital Pour system they have installed. The place is simple and elegant: you come in, choose from about 40 different beers and ciders (and a separate kamboucha station that even includes craft root beer), fill your growler and off you go. You can sample anything you want They even have parking right in the heart of Hawthorne. They have a cute bike like painted on the floor from door to door inviting you to roll your bike right on up to the filling station so you don't have to lock it up outside - brilliant. A growler fill starts with at CO2 purge and then a fill using a freshly sterilized hose each time, as good as it gets.
But what really caught my eye was the Digital Pour system for displaying the beers. As you can see above the information includes a logo (which allows Growlers to avoid tap handles and yet still let customers identify the brewer by logo), the brewery name, the beer name, a description of the beer, the place of origin, ABV, IBU and an icon that gives the customer an idea of the SRM or color of the beer and then the price of a growler fill for that beer. Finally, there is an icon that describes the state of the keg - how much beer is left. This information is uploaded in real time to their - wait for it - iTunes App, so you know exactly what choices your have when you go in (or if you need to hurry before a keg blows). The display also have a twitter feed that displays any tweets that mentions the store and information about what is on deck - beers about to be put on.
Turns out Digital Pour is a Portland company, as you might expect, and I have a feeling we will be seeing a LOT more Digital Pour displays around town very soon.
In the meantime, I recommend you check out Growlers.