Has Craft Beer Reached Peak Mindshare?

Quick, without Googling, how many local craft breweries can you name? How many regional breweries? National?

People are often worried about the craft beer bubble hitting saturation levels. Since it’s fall and harvest season, hop shortages have become the crisis de jour with no less than the Wall Street Journal crying havoc. Concerns about shelf space, the number of tap handles at each bar, and even the supply of aluminum cans have all caused worries before.

But are we nearing a point where people simply can’t keep track of all the craft beer out there?

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The Session #111: Succumbing to a Beer Midlife Crisis

The Session is a monthly group writing prompt for beer bloggers to share their thoughts on topics. Oliver J. Gray of Literature and Libation put forward the topic this month, Surviving a beer midlife crisis. He prompted us with a simple question:

Do you find it hard to muster the same zeal for beer as you did a few years ago? Are you suffering through a beer-life crisis like I am? If so, how do you deal with it?

My answer to the first question is a clear yes, the second question requires contemplation, and the third question requires explanation.

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Good, Great, Greatest: The Minimal Difference Of Most Beer

After over ten years of enjoying craft beer, and five years of really thinking about what I was drinking, I’ve realized that there is a minimal difference in most beer. My observation is that the vast majority of beer is very good, a bit of it is great, and very few things rank as the greatest. Luckily, not very few beers are bad, though they are out there. I could just write about my anecdotal evidence, personal thoughts, observations, and opinions, but I decided to collect some data to see if my observation is correct.

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Beer Nutritional Info: The FDA Isn’t Going To Take Your Beer Away

It’s been making the rounds over the past week that the FDA will require beer nutritional info on menus. I feel like the information I’ve read has been vague and full of hyperbole, I mean

“Government health nannies are thirsty for a new target, and this time it’s craft beer.”

That sounds like something from some random blogger and not a writer for the New York Post. You’ve also got the headline Craft beers grabbed by Obamacare’s long reach from the Washington Examiner. While it’s true, this change by the FDA is part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) it wasn’t set out specifically targeting craft beer, or beer at all.

I set out to research and read the rules myself. The final verbiage is available here. You can also read the comments and replies about the proposal as well as the FDA’s guidance for the industry. The comments and replies were more interesting and revealing because this was not going to apply to alcohol until the comments came in. Let’s skip the claims made to garner clicks and take a look at what the rule says.

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David Wondrich on Cocktails, Cincinnati, and Surprises

One of the major highlights of the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic this year was getting the chance to interview a spirits writer that I greatly admire, Esquire Drinks correspondent David Wondrich. Thanks to his books and articles, most notably Imbibe! and Punch, his name is closely associated with the classic cocktail movement and documenting the history of drinking culture in the Unites States. My partner Charlie and I sat down (more accurately, stood up in the corner of a tent in Washington Park) to talk with him about his writing and why he decided to attend the Food and Wine Classic in Cincinnati. You can listen to the full interview in Episode #195 of The Charlie Tonic Hour but here are the highlights.

David Wondrich and Ginny and Charlie Tonic from the Charlie Tonic Hour

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The Bane of Pumpkin Beers

Ed. Note: What follows is a rant by friend & sponsor of the blog Brent Osborn. As always if you’ve got something you want to say then shoot me an email at Tom@QueenCityDrinks.com and I’ll check it out. Personally, I abhor pumpkin beers, plus many other writers have already trodden this path. But, since Brent felt like ranting I was happy to post it!


Fall’s just around the corner.

Fall is a wonderful season: leaves changing color, 2015-09-02football games, Reese’s pumpkins, hoodies, fires, and all that good stuff. Yet it’s also a time I dread for one very specific reason: the pumpkin-spice apocalypse. The list of pumpkin-spiced things has grown from run-of-the-mill lattes to include Oreos, gum, and even english muffins. But the worst culprit—the bane of my existence this time of year—is the pumpkin beer. And in case you didn’t notice the endcaps are full of pumpkin beers.

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For Real Happiness Buy Experiences, Not Things

I recently discovered a new podcast, You Are Not So Smart, and really enjoyed an episode called Happy Money, focused on money and rewards. Shortly after that I read this article from Scientific American. The takeaway from both is simple: Buying experiences makes us happier than buying things.

Turns out a fair bit of research has been done regarding people’s perceptions of how much they’ll enjoy a thing before and after they buy something. We think we like buying things better because they give us more value, but we get more joy out of experiences. The reason is that we can place an objective value on a thing. “This bottle of Cantillon cost me $25 in 2013. I could probably sell it for $75 to $100 now.” Whereas memories and experiences have a much more subjective value to them. “I had an amazing time at that bottle share last month.” What is an “amazing time?” How much is it worth? Despite this, we pull more happiness out of the experience than the possession of material goods.

The study showed that this effect of enjoying experiences more than things increases with delayed satisfaction. That is when we buy a thing and pay for it now with the plan of experiencing it later we will enjoy it even more than if we bought it and enjoyed it immediately.

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