Craft beer gets a bigger piece of a smaller pie. Responding to the Maui fires
Read time approx. 4.5 min.
Sometimes the news is just the news. Nothing pithy or clever, just a reality report. Sometimes the week’s beer news is just a part of the week’s bigger news. Sadly, we cannot look away from Maui and the devastation caused by the wildfires, so we’ll talk about that. We do have some other stuff to report too. So let’s get to it.
Maui Brewing is Spearheading Relief Efforts
Maui Brewing/Craft Ohana is spearheading an effort to raise funds and provide support for victims of the recent wildfires on the island of Maui. The Kokua project offers breweries everywhere an opportunity to lend assistance by brewing a beer that will help fund the relief efforts on the island. Garrett Marrero, founder of Maui Brewing, says that it is not too different than what Sierra Nevada did a few years ago with its Resilience program, which proved a big success.
Maui Brewing's facilities and locations on the island were generally unharmed. Of course, the brewery's workforce is certainly impacted greatly. Everyone and everything on Maui is impacted greatly. Businesses, homes, and families are devastated and need our help. That’s where the Kokua project comes in.
Kokua is a Hawaiian word with layered meanings. It means "to help," as in "we are all in this together." But it also means, "to extend help to others in a sacrificial way, with no intent of personal gain." We encourage all breweries to consider the Kokua project. You can sign up, learn more, stay informed about the beer recipe, and get other information in general at this website.
Maui’s Other Brewery
Yes, Maui Brewing was fortunate to avoid the worst of it, but we want to extend our love and compassion to Maui's other brewery, Koholā Brewing. Located in the town of Lahaina, the lesser-known brewery and taproom were not spared the ravages of the fires. It burned totally and completely. The company is still reeling and it is way too early to know what happens next. Thankfully, the Koholā staff are all accounted for.
Koholā Brewing was not big. It was not well known. The taproom was not fancy. Its beers made it to the mainline when tucked away in someone’s luggage. It is, or was 😪, the kind of brewery and taproom with which craft beer aficionados are well acquainted: local, familial, friendly, and honest. If you were ever there, you know what we mean. It was awesome and we are heartbroken that it is gone. We're just thankful everyone is safe. Those who want to contribute directly to the brewery can do so via Venmo @lahainabrewery-dba-kohola.
Gallup, the well-known polling organization, recently conducted its annual Consumption Habits poll to find out how much folks in the U.S. are drinking these days. The poll also gathers other info about drinking habits. The poll revealed that 62% of Americans say they drink alcoholic beverages, which is consistent with the approximately 63% average the poll has returned since 1939. The poll peaked at around 71% between 1974 and 1981. This year's number represents a decline from the 67% recorded in 2022.
Beer remains the top choice, with 37% of drinkers saying beer is most often their choice (31% said liquor and 29% said wine). Although beer remains the top choice, Gallup points out that in the 1990s and 2000s, nearly half of all drinkers said they preferred beer. These numbers, and this shift, further illustrate something we've talked about on The Tray recently: people's choices are diversifying. Exactly how big a piece of the pie craft beer will enjoy moving forward is a subject of much speculation. It's just one part of today's dynamic beer landscape.
Here's a bright side. Although the number of drinkers who said they favor beer is down from 48% to 37% since 1992, the number of beer drinkers within that group who choose craft beer has continually increased over time (as illustrated above). In 2022, craft beer accounted for about 25% of the total U.S. retail beer market, according to Statista. Twenty years ago, that number was probably closer to 3%. Craft is getting a much bigger portion of a somewhat smaller piece of pie. So there's that.
Last week’s topic, about a huge cannabis company snatching up a bunch of “craft beer” brands from Anheuser-Busch, generated the following comment.
stevejzoo@... said: "Somewhere there is probably a clever comment related to the largely cash-based cannabis business in the U.S. and the form and transport of payment received by Anheuser-Busch InBev in the Tilray transaction. Your job: find that clever comment!"
We haven’t found any such comment, but we agree. There’s a joke in there somewhere.
So how did we do this week?
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This week's Taster Tray was composed by Kendall Jones.