Earlier this year, three major craft brewers – Avery, Dogfish Head, and Great Divide – announced that they were pulling out of some markets because the demand is outstripping brewing capacity. In other words, craft beer has become so popular so quickly that brewers can’t produce enough of it to satisfy everyone.
In each case, Rhode Island has been among the states where, for now, those brewers have stopped distributing. Massachusetts, thankfully, has been unaffected, though it is easy to imagine that beer aficionados in the Ocean State will hop across the border and grab their Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Great Divide Yeti, and Avery Maharaja in Bay State liquor stores. So don’t be surprised if it suddenly becomes more difficult to find your favorite beers in places like Attleboro and Seekonk.
One might wonder how pulling out of the mighty Rhode Island market is really going to solve the demand problems, but although this kind of sucks for me, it is a very good thing overall. The more craft beer consumed, the more local breweries are going to pop up to fill that demand. While I would give my right arm for a lifetime’s supply of Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond
IPAPale Ale available in local stores, making the microbrew industry truly local or regional is more to the spirit of the movement. Dogfish Head is great (though some of the beers are awful), but I’d like Rhode Island to have its own Dogfish Head. Moreover, one of the joys of traveling the country is trying the different regional beers.
Plus, if I really need a 60 Minute IPA, I can get to Massachusetts in 15 minutes.