Pride, skill lead to growth in craft beers
Craft beer continues to grow in popularity in the United States—and in Chattanooga. Nationwide, new breweries are opening at a rate of three breweries every two days. In 2010, the rate was one every day. Locally we now have six breweries, with at least one new one on the way next year.
The driving force behind this is an ever-expanding demand for new craft and local beers from customers. This bodes well for the industry, but there are signs that the market is becoming saturated. I was one of the founders of Chattanooga Brewing Company in 2010, and have lived through this growth spurt. In the early days, we couldn’t sell much beer outside of the downtown area. Now, we are getting most of our new accounts around here in suburban areas.
During the same period, we have seen our town go from one growler fill store to at least five with another on the way. At Chattanooga Brewing, we continue to ride this wave and have moved into a significantly larger facility on the Southside. This satisfies our current demand and adds some capacity for future growth. We now have a tasting room with food service to accommodate the ever-growing crowds of craft beer enthusiasts. We’ve just added our products to the Cleveland market and are off to a booming start.
We have seen some pushback lately, though, as we try to sell our product to out-of-town distributors. It seems they are being bombarded with offerings from new breweries and it’s a buyers’ market for them. I believe we are headed for a market shake-out soon, a bubble burst, as it were, but we don’t fear this. You, the customers, are demanding high-quality, great-tasting beers and those of us who can deliver will survive and grow.
Many of these new breweries are being started by home brewers. It’s the modern-day American Dream, starting out in their garage and ending up on television with their head buried in a pile of hops. The truth is much more sober. It’s a business, and there is plenty of work. There are a lot of business skills, technical brewing skills and a lot of money needed to get one of these things going. It’s so much more than just making good beer, so it’s hard to believe this boom will continue unabated.
So be wary as you try all the new brews making their way to your neighborhood tavern—but try them all. It’s the only way to find the good ones. What’s next in the craft beer scene? It’s hard to say, but the market is always looking for new beer styles and new variations. The wide variety of styles make it possible to find something for almost anyone. The sweetest part of our business has resulted from people who have only tried mass-produced beer. They are either bored with it, or think they don’t like beer. Our reward comes when they visit us, try our beer and decide they do like it after all. Cheers, Chattanooga!
Join them for Trivia Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.where they promise to have plenty of beer!
Chattanooga Brewing Co.
Originally founded in 1890 and born again in 2010.
1804 Chestnut St