Sixty percent of craft beer sucks and half of the breweries in America are doomed. Those are strong words, and I’m not sure I agree, but I would expect nothing less than something so incendiary from John Taffer.
The boisterous, hot-headed host of TV’s Bar Rescue often brings people to tears. John Taffer is a bit of a blowhard, a bit of a bully, but he’s usually right. There’s no denying that when it comes to onsite alcohol service, he knows what he’s talking about.
Cheers Magazine recently published an interview with John Taffer in which the bar guru shared some thoughts about craft beer. He made some good points, and I agree with some of what he said, though his words may not be the kind of candy-coated platitudes that most beer lovers want to hear.
“I find the whole craft-beer craze fascinating,” said Taffer. “A lot of the core beer brands in America — Budweiser, Coors, etc. — have taken a real hit from it. Some of these brands, they’ve never lost market share in their entire existence. They’re scared by it. So they panic and turn executives over.”
Personally, I care much less about the impact Anheuser-Busch’s meddling has on Big Beer executives and care much more about what happens to people who work for companies like Elysian Brewing. Taffer is right, though. Big Beer is scared and they are panicking by throwing money at the problem. Who cares if some Senior Vice President at MillerCoors is in jeopardy of losing his $1 million job.
Beyond that, Taffer commented on the craft beer industry itself, not only asserting that most craft beer sucks, and that far too much of it is brewed by amateurs, but that the industry is getting invaded by carpetbaggers who see craft beer as an investment but lack the love of beer that has thus far driven the industry’s growth and success. In his opinion, 60 percent of craft beer sucks and half of the breweries in America are doomed.
I’m curious if people agree. Here’s the rest of what Taffer said about beer in the Cheers article.
“Craft beer has created a culture, not a trend. A trend grabs market share and then disappears and gives it back. A culture grabs market share and then keeps it. The craft-beer culture isn’t going anywhere in America.”
“That said, I think that about 60 percent of craft beer basically sucks. I’ve been to a lot of the facilities. They’re not exactly clean. They’re rookie-run. The problem is that people are now looking at craft beer as an investment opportunity. They’re getting into it to make money. Many people don’t get into it for the love of making beer. Of course, that’s not how it began. Jim Koch founded Boston Beer because he loves to make beer. But today, it’s much more in the investment space.”
“That’s why I think there’s going to be a wash out in craft beer over the next two years. Half of the craft breweries are going to disappear. And the word “craft” will become known more for spirits.”