Monday, February 18, 2008

The Rising Tide

Small brewers of all stripe continue to do well. I got some news back in January that I just remembered that I wanted to pass along (thanks again to Sam Komlenic): Straub Brewery in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, a great old pre-Prohibition regional brewery that just keeps chugging along, sold a hair over 40,000 bbls. in 2007, the most they've ever sold in one year in the history of the brewery. This is the kind of thing that apparently gave them the courage to launch Straub Dark, their first new beer in years (and I hear it's doing well; it should, it's a nice dunkel-ish kind of beer, very pleasant drink).

What's it mean? Well, it's not that huge; Straub's been selling in the mid-30K range for quite a few years now. But it is up, and I think it points to a continued trend. People don't want to keep drinking the same old, same old. That's why Yuengling continues to do well, that's why the craft brewers continue to do well. It's not all about variety of beer, it's partly about identity. Yeah, that's marketing, but it's time to face facts: marketing works. And if people want local products, or small business products...that's the kind of trend that's going to help small brewers.

1 comment:

sam k said...

Thanks for posting this, Lew. The Straubs have found a nice little niche between macro and micro with a good quality brew, and their growth has been an enviable slow but steady increase year on year. Beside the beer, one of their main strengths (much like Yuengling) is the unbroken lineage of family ownership, which provides a steady and experienced hand at the helm.

In a similar yet different vein, Iron City is a brand which could (should?) have been dead years ago, but there is such strong association between the city of Pittsburgh and that iconic product that it has refused to go quietly, and is currently, in my opinion, as good as it has been in recent memory. I hope they can secure some of that market that the Straub family has been successful in developing.