Last year at this time, I made my usual five predictions for the 2009 beer year. Let’s see how I did.
2009 will be the year of the collaboration beer.
My Score: A+
Boy howdy, was it ever. Even Sierra Nevada waded into the collaborative pool with their first one. Collaborations between brewers were everywhere throughout the year and at this point I’d wager they’re here to stay.
Food & Beer Goes Mainstream.
My Score: B-
While beer dinners and food pairing events are still on the rise, things didn’t reaching the tipping point I thought they might or hoped they would.
Merger shakeouts will effect small brewers.
My Score: C
While mergers among distributors did continue in 2009, and the mess between ABIB and MillerCoors and their distributors still hasn’t reached a final solution, most regional brewers didn’t feel the pinch much. The fact that craft beer is growing faster than domestic and imports didn’t hurt, either. But some small brewers continued to look for alternative distribution solutions so it’s still not all rosy either.
Beer prices will continue to rise.
My Score: A
All the rising ingredient costs finally caught up with the big brewers, who previously had been trying to keep retail prices down. But InBev’s philosophy regarding pricing is fundamentally different than A-B’s had been, so when they announced price hikes, everyone else followed suit (as they usually do).
New Drys’ attacks will be more aggressive.
My Score: A+
This one was probably a little too predictable, but I was yet again surprised by just how aggressive these buzzkillers were in 2009. The vituperation of their rhetoric, the lengths they went to bend facts to their will and the outright fabrications are just astounding, especially given that the basis for their point of view is often on moral grounds. That their words and deeds can be so void of morality in the ends-justify-the-means approach taken seems a cruel irony that appears lost on them.
Overall Score: B+
I think I did better last year, though in three out of five this year I think I hit the nail on the head pretty well. But the other two, not so much. C’est la vie. Now, to put on the ol’ thinking cap for next year’s predictions. See you next year!
Tomorrow I’ll make my predictions for 2010.