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Tap handles at the new brewery in Providence (Courtesy: Narragansett Brewing Co.)

An American Light Lager reborn | Take a hallowed, century-old regional brand that became too small to justify modern big beer-style production and transform it through contracting into a viable enterprise – leveraging its local lore and competitiveness with giant factory lagers. Use this revenue stream to support a craft-style brewery making the full portfolio that the modern craft industry is known for, and have it ride on the brand name recognition of the old lager, known as ‘Gansett. Add a vibrant waterfront tap room in a bustling New England City, and you have a unique appeal not only to lager drinkers, but to beer-drinkers of all stripes.

Beer in Denmark | Scandinavians are good at PR and Denmark is no exception. Every once in a while, they throw us a cultural bone such as “hygge”; we take it, and they run with it. If you think that by pulling out a few candles hygge will be your middle name, you are mistaken. Danish hygge is more nuanced and extensive. It means embracing whatever may come, not least in the brewing industry.

The world beer market recovered slightly in the second year of the coronavirus pandemic: The combined output of the world’s 40 largest brewers in 2021 rose by about 80 million hectoliters to nearly 1.7 billion hectoliters, representing an increase of just below five percent and bringing their total market share to 91.4 percent. This is one of the facts contained in the “Top 40 Breweries” rankings published in the BarthHaas Report 2021/2022.

Trend spotting | In February 2022, Walter König, Managing Director of the Gesellschaft für Hopfenforschung e.V. (Society for Hop Research; GfH) in Hüll, Germany, visited the USA and spoke with BRAUWELT International author Horst Dornbusch about his trip, German hops and the U.S. craft beer market.
Welcome to Massachusetts, Walter, and thank you for agreeing to an interview. Let me jump straight into my questions: You are the General Manager of the Society for Hop Research (GfH) in Hüll. Why are you here; and why now, on this wintery February day?

Tipping point | “That magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire” – this is how Malcolm Gladwell, author of the now iconic book “The Tipping Point” [1], defines his eponymous concept. Using a host of true and amazing stories, Gladwell convincingly demonstrates not only that tipping points are real but that they can be crossed in either direction – towards positive outcomes, or, sadly, towards disastrous ones. Is sustainable brewing approaching the tipping point?

Health and environment | Healthy ingredients are good for well-being and for the environment – that’s how you could describe the mood among consumers in the food and beverage sector. The fact is that, partly due to the pandemic, consumers are increasingly on the lookout for healthy products and changing their consumption habits in favor of “free-from” and “clean-label” products. The question of personal well-being is becoming more and more of an everyday topic. These changes in consumers’ desires can also be seen by the beverage and liquid food industry, which will meet from September 12 to 16 at the world’s leading trade fair drinktec in Munich.

The Brewers Association released annual production figures for the U.S. craft brewing industry. In 2021, small and independent brewers collectively produced 24.8 million barrels of beer and realized 8% growth, increasing craft’s overall beer market share by volume to 13.1%, up from 12.2% the previous year.

Beer market Finland | Although Finland is part of the Nordic countries, it is not only its language that makes it stick out. The Finns also go their own way when it comes to beer and alcohol. As beer consumption is in decline and the pandemic has hit craft brewers particularly hard, the pressure is growing for further curbs on the state monopolist retailer, Alko.

75th anniversary | With a one-year delay, the 38th EBC Congress will take place in Madrid from 29 May to 2 June 2022. It also marks the 75th anniversary of the EBC as well as the centenary celebrations of the Cerverceros de España, the brewers association of Spain. BRAUWELT International talked with Benet Fité, EBC President, about the event, the current situation, changes in the programme and the topics presented there.

The changing world of craft beer | 2021 was a tough year for American craft brewers – between supply chain blockages, can shortages, competition from ever-new “Beyond Beer” drinks, shrinking retail shelf space, and, oh yes, that little problem of the pandemic. It’s truly a testament to the stick-to-it-ness of the brewers that the craft beer category, following a decline in 2020, accelerated to high single digit growth.

Services and education | As the Siebel Institute celebrates its 150th anniversary, it has much to look back on – right to its beginnings when a German immigrant saw an opportunity to offer services and education to US brewers. Over time, Siebel has grown into a leading institution for brewing education, defying industry consolidation, Prohibition and even its own financial troubles. Transformation and change have been part of its history, but there is one constant, though. As it evolves and progresses, it will always honor its legacy of providing the highest standards in brewing education.