The Beer Industry’s Growing … in One Case, Maybe Too Fast

The beer industry is expanding by leaps and bounds—particularly in the craft sector—and the Brewers Association is trying to keep pace. But a recent snafu involving a conference showed that's not always easy.

In the pint, in a can, or straight from the tap, beer is pretty awesome, according to our good friends at the corner pub.

We are making the event bigger, but we just haven’t been able to catch up with the explosive growth in the industry.

And the industry around it is growing—fast. So fast, in fact, that the association that represents craft brewers occasionally can’t keep up with demand. More details on that situation below:

Growing popularity: According to a recent statistic from the Brewers Association, there are more than 2,500 brewers throughout the United States—a number higher than one the association reported in March. And that’s a higher level of brewers than existed before the 18th Amendment banned the production and transfer of alcohol for more than a decade, devastating the industry.

Popularity that sometimes overwhelms: Recently, a major conference for craft brewers faced a run on floor space. According to CNBC, the Brewers Association’s Great American Beer Festival had 600 spaces for exhibitors, but with hundreds of craft brewers trying to sign up for a spot, the association’s site was overloaded. Spaces sold out in just two hours, leaving some 300 brewers out of luck. “We are making the event bigger, but we just haven’t been able to catch up with the explosive growth in the industry,” a spokeswoman for the association told The Huffington Post.

The latest trend: As the Wall Street Journal reports, many small brewers are skipping the six packs altogether and allowing beer drinkers to purchase the beverage in reusable growlers, jugs that allow consumers to get beer straight from the tap for use later. The trend has caught on with mainstream stores, too: National supermarket chain Whole Foods and popular New York City pharmacy chain Duane Reade offer growler refills.

And in case you’d like to skip the store entirely and brew your own growler-ready beer, there’s nothing stopping you: As the American Homebrewers Association noted earlier this month, homebrewing is legal in all 50 states, now that Mississippi and Alabama have laws ending bans on the practice.

A customer using a growler, a reusable beer jug. (photo by Beaufort's TheDigitel/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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