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Beer, Cider, & Sake 14

Porters & Stouts - Their Place in the Craft Beer Pantheon

MGZ | Jun 20, 201505:59 AM

So, in a recent thread about Americans' taste in beers generally leading them to mass marketed pale lagers, a slight deviation into the topic of stouts came up. This, coupled with my own long-term affair with porters, led me to the following brain fart:

"[B]ut I'd also be interested in thoughts of the "in-between" topic of why stouts and porters seem, in my limited observations over the past quarter century, to be the red-headed step-children of the craft beer world. Pale Ales, Belgian styles, wheats all seem to have garnered a much more immediate following among the second generation beer geeks. Is that a "taste" issue (literally or figuratively)?"

Now, statistically, it is undeniable that Pale Ales sit atop Mt. Craftlympus. As the Brewers Association wrote about 2014 sales:

"India Pale Ales (IPAs) remained the most favored craft beer style. According to retail scan data, IPA is up 47 percent by volume and 49 percent by dollar sales, accounting for 21 percent volume share of craft and 23 percent dollar share of off-premise beer sales. Additionally, the style was the number one entered category at the Great American Beer Festival®."

After identifying Zeus, however, things get a little murkier. As I said the other day, my data are purely anecdotal. Moreover, I'm not a second generation craft beer drinker.* Nevertheless, what I see is much more demand for seasonal beers, Belgians, etc. - generally lighter colored beers.** I recognize that Guiness is it's own animal and that stouts probably outsell porters by a wide margin, but, it still seems to me that if I glance down at the average brewpub bar, only one or two pints hold espresso colored suds. I'm curious as to why.

Well, you get the idea. Any thoughts?

* I'm not really sure exactly how to define this, but if you started drinking beer when the only drafts available were the color of urine and you still have to stop yourself when you want to refer to the producers as "microbreweries", you're probably first generation.

** Apparently, variety packs are also selling well. Id. ("Variety packs had a strong year with craft beer lovers. Retail data also indicates that variety packs are up 21 percent by volume and 24 percent by dollar sales, equating to nine percent volume share of craft and seven percent dollar share."). But knowing that is about as useful as knowing that assorted chocolate boxes sell well at Valentines Day - we have no idea if anybody ever really eats the raspberry creams.

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