Supply chain, omicron, beverages other than beer

Last week I shared the industry research report, which predicts a $65,000,000,000 increase in global beer industry revenue between 2021 and 2025. I looked in my fridge and thought, “Yeah, that sounds about right.”

But it can’t be just me driving such dramatic growth during a pandemic by playing with brewery owners’ heartstrings like a yo-yo. Not a good yo-yo either – a cheap one that’s hard to predict and will likely tangle around your elbow.

I contacted local breweries like Brewing of thorns and New English Brewing (recently featured in Cheers! column) to ask what they think will be the trend in 2022.

“I think you’ll see breweries in 2022 working to differentiate themselves from the pack and align their businesses with their core values,” said Anna Brigham, director of marketing at Thorn Brewing. “Increasingly, consumers are looking for breweries that not only make great beer, but also use their platform to positively impact their community, which is really a win-win for everyone.”

I’m ready make an effort to align my beer purchases more completely, so it made a lot of sense to me.

Tom Kiely, Managing Director of Thorn Beer, spoke about operations and beer styles.

“I think the most likely trend is an increase in consumer price for canned beer,” Kiely said. “Almost everything that goes into the packaging of a case of beer – corrugated trays, cans, labels – is harder to find and [becoming] more expensive to buy. Two-Row (basic ingredient of malt used in beer production) becomes very expensive. Cargo [costs] getting any of these things in the door is getting more expensive.

“Plus, wholesalers and retailers are each taking the same percentage off as when these things were cheaper and easier to find, so you end up with an exponentially more expensive product. We might see surprises Out of stock on base beers or temporary switches to glass bottles [opposed to cans]. I also think you will see more regional breweries (or production breweries) diversifying their lineups with RTD [ready-to-drink] and other non-beer [products] like hard tea or other sugar-based stuff.

According to New English Brewing’s Simon Lacy, ongoing supply chain issues are expected to drive up the price of malted barley and packaging materials, insurance and freight. Photo by Timothy Dykes

I also wanted to know more about what Tom thought was on the horizon for the beer I find in my fridge. He replied, “I don’t foresee any significant spikes in craft beer styles. I imagine most of the innovation will be in non-beer. I’d be surprised if there isn’t a bigger brewery that makes a can Michelada by early next year, and I’d like to see a lager-only San Diego brewery in distribution this year, but I don’t think that will happen.

Simon Lacy is the founder and president of New English Brewery, who shared his thoughts on COVID-19 and supply chain issues affecting the beer industry.

“As we approach 2022, we are optimistic that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, although we still have to move past omicron and hope another variant does not emerge,” Lacy said. “Headwinds are expected from ongoing supply chain issues, driving price increases for everything from malted barley, packaging materials, energy like natural gas and electricity to electricity. insurance and freight. Overall, we look forward to engaging with our customers, both in commerce and in the tasting room, and getting back to normal – making great beer and having fun sharing it.

As I contact more and more breweries, concerns about supply chain logistics seem to be a constant shadow despite the optimistic projections presented in the Industry Research study.

The Industry Research report’s global growth primarily focused on the sales of major brewing companies, including “several leading vendors in the craft beer market, including Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., Carlsberg Breweries AS, DG Yuengling & Son Inc., Diageo Plc, Duvel Moortgat NV, Heineken NV, Kirin Holdings Company Ltd., New Belgium Brewing Co. and The Boston Beer Co. Inc.

I don’t see many “craft beers” on this list. These are companies with enough buying power to dictate supply chain terms, not your neighborhood brewers.

I will continue to check in with local breweries throughout the new year, staying flexible with beer styles and nimble as local breweries in an ever-changing operational landscape. Cheers, everyone!

Stream classic Roast episodes! West Coast Coffee podcast on the Coast News Podcast page, and be sure to follow Cheers! North County on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Do you have an interesting story about your drinking adventures? To reach! I want to hear it.