I've said it before - many, many times - the craft beer industry is something else. I heard at a recent Green Business/Sustainability seminar that the craft beer industry is one of the Top 10 most popular businesses to get into...for good reason. There exists in this particular field a sense of coop-itition. Weird term I know, but I'll explain: Essentially, when any new business comes into a marketplace, it represents a threat to existing businesses that offer similar products. As GrassLands is one of nearly 2,500 breweries in-planning across the country, there's about to be a bunch of new kids on the block, somewhat diluting the craft beer marketplace.
At first glance, that figure represents an issue for the viability of any brewery - right? Well, yes and no. Craft brewers represent just 6% in volume and a 10.2% market share in sales within the overall US beer market. The rest is split between MillerCoors and the big ole' conglomerate AB-InBev. With so much market share to be had and potential for growth, craft brewers have been advocating and supporting one another for the greater good. Eventually - maybe 20-30 years from now - this increasing sense of coop-itition (the collaborative efforts of separate businesses for the betterment of all involved businesses) may subside. But right now, brewers are working together and paying it forward, so to speak, all in the name of bringing you better beer and combating the major players like Budweiser, Miller & Coors - who DO view the craft beer industry as a major threat.
On a personal level, the sense of coop-itition in the FL craft beer industry is very, very high. We're not naive enough to think that we'll be able to brew awesome beer right out the gate with little-to-no commercial brewing experience. As such, over the next three months, we'll be "interning" at three breweries during their brewdays and assisting with all activities relating to cellaring (i.e. cleaning, transferring, kegging, packaging, etc.). Isn't that awesome? We expect to continue this process all the way up until our equipment is ordered and sitting onsite waiting for beer to be created. I've read great and inspiring news releases on new breweries that said they couldn't get off the ground without the help and assistance of other already-established breweries willing to pitch in and do what they can. Even one of the two breweries that originally inspired us to do what we're doing (Two Beers Brewing Co., Seattle WA) wouldn't have been able to install their own equipment or even operate a forklift without the assistance of a neighboring brewery! Truly amazing stuff happens every day in this business.
As such, once we get up & going, we'll pay it forward as well...even if it's another craft brewery up & coming in our own marketplace. I've been constantly telling folks here in town that we want Tallahassee to be the next buzzword in the FL craft scene. We want Tallahassee to be a craft beer destination, much like Tampa and Jacksonville have quickly become. The reason for their respective success? Coop-itition. More people visiting those cities because of the craft beer scene benefits everyone involved. Tallahassee can be that way and we're going to do everything we can to make sure that's an ultimate reality. You hear that, Proof, Momo's, Fermentation & Mad Mullet? We're gonna want to play with you in the sandbox in 2014 and beyond! :P Tallahassee needs it!
With that, we'll leave you to it. Have an awesome weekend, my dear readers, because you most definitely deserve it!