SHARE: the Biggest Beer Challenge in 2022 and the Biggest Beer Challenge We Foresee Facing in 2023

What are the biggest challenges in 2022 and what the biggest challenge we are going to face in 2023 in the beer industry?

Here is the share from WBJ Worcester Business Journal and hope we will offer you some inspiration.

What was the biggest challenge in 2022?

Jay Rondeau, owner and head brewer at Penny Pinchers Brewing Co. in Millbury: Navigating the unknown. While everyone had to deal with the various challenges of COVID, we didn’t even know what our business should look like, let alone how it would survive during the pandemic.

Melynda and John Paul Gallagher, co-owners of Lost Shoe Brewing and Roasting Co. in Marlborough: One of the biggest challenges for us this past year has been determining our packaged cans-to-kegs ratio. We had received our canning line just five months before on-premise consumption was restricted due to the pandemic, at which point we shifted fully to cans. As on-premise consumption was brought back and people are now more comfortable going out in public, we have had to shift more heavily to kegs for on-site draft pours. Figuring out the right ratio has been a bit of a challenge.

Allen Quinn, co-founder and owner of Amory's Tomb Brewing Co. in Maynard: The biggest challenge was drastically increased operating and materials costs.

We have seen our costs rise both from outside forces as well as internal needs and responses, but the weight is on materials, shipping, and energy, in addition to scheduled rent increases. We are producing and selling more beer than previous years, but at a much higher cost.

A growing percentage of our sales are to wholesale accounts. This is due to changing consumer habits and a need to adapt from our taproom business model. We don't have a lot of margin in distribution, and it's a lot of additional time and energy we hadn't planned on expending two or three years ago. Additionally, many people in our community shifted to work from home and hybrid models, so we do not have the daily business traffic we had pre-pandemic. Fewer people are downtown during the day for lunch, and there doesn't seem to be groups coming from the office after work, so we need to distribute to have a market for our products.

What is the biggest challenge you foresee facing in 2023?

Maureen Fabry, brewer and co-founder of CraftRoots Brewing in Milford: We sell our beer to-go in 32-ounce glass bottles we call squealers. It's a huge benefit to our environment to package our beer on-demand in a 100% reusable and recyclable container. We've kept a lot of beer packaging in the re-use category over our CraftRoots lifespan.

That said, 2023 will be the year we step into the canned beer world. Stay tuned for that. We aren't aiming to push our beer further into distribution, just to offer an alternative loaded with a lot of fun new aspects like can art, increased portability, and drinkability. We just want to brew some new beer styles and give them the opportunity to express themselves beyond the glass, with some art and names expressing the CraftRoots brand and vibe.

Quinn, from Amory's Tomb: The biggest challenge for us in 2023 will be wrangling back a taproom model that is sustainable. The brewing industry will face another year of supply chain issues and rising ingredient and energy costs, but I am hopeful it won't be too bumpy. As we have been learning the past few years with massive global trading interruptions, it can take a while to realize the impact of supply shortages. We'll see impacts of crop issues related to drought/flood conditions here and in Europe as well as grain supply issues related to Ukraine.

Gallaghers, from Lost Shoe: Everything keeps getting more expensive, and we have received several notices in the past month from vendors increasing their prices in 2023. Finding the perfect balance of price for our customers to allow us to cover our expenses and pay our employees a living wage is an ongoing topic of conversation. In our industry, we are selling $6-$10 items, and even lower than that for coffee. We have to sell a lot of those items just to cover these increasing costs, so we focus on bringing people to our taproom for various events.

 Hope this share can bring you some inspiration in 2023.

As for the full article, please visit WBJ Worcester Business Journal website.

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