An interesting thing happens as a business like ours grows, some people stop wanting to support it, simply because of that growth. I’m not sure what principle is at play, but I think it has something to do with not being cool any longer because we are too mainstream which to me implies, we are too big.
I have heard this before but I experienced it firsthand recently when I was invited out on a team sales mission. We were in and out of bars all day long, sampling beers out and talking about what Iron Horse had to offer. One bar in particular caught my attention. The buyer at this particular bar said “we used to buy Iron Horse beer but Iron Horse is too large now.” I was a little surprised by this. We’re a decent sized regional brewery but I was looking at their tap lineup and seeing breweries of a larger size than ours. So I started whining and complaining about the pain of our own success. Just kidding, but it is a challenge that I hadn’t really considered while we were out trying to sell all the beer we could make over the last 10 years. It’s also something that I figure I would try to first dismiss with facts.
Here are breweries that are larger than we are measured by 2016 total barrels of beer produced in all the states we are currently distributed.
Iron Horse 21,989
Alaskan Brewing 154,300
Big Sky Brewing 40,000
Boneyard Beer 27,308
Deschutes Brewery 374,313
Full Sail 115,450
Mac and Jacks 40,524
My goal in writing this is to put in perspective the actual size of Iron Horse relative to the largest breweries in our region, not to ‘out’ the bigger breweries, since even Deschutes is absolutely dwarfed by the mega-producers. I would and do gladly pay my money to buy beer from all the breweries on this list as well as those further down the list that are smaller.
Now these don’t include sold out breweries such as
Hop Valley (millercoors)
Elysian (anheuser busch)
Pyramid (north american breweries)
Red Hook (craft brew alliance)
Widmer (craft brew alliance)
10 Barrel (anheuser busch)
Because they aren’t reporting to the Brewers Association separate from their corporate overlords and why should they, they aren’t separate.
And for perspective on just how much we are dwarfed, Anheuser-Busch Inbev, just North America sold 99,585,738 barrels in 2016 which is about one fourth of their total global sales and these numbers probably include Goose Island Brewery, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewing, Four Peaks Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Karbach Brewing Company, and Wicked Weed Brewing production).
As often happens with a blog, I find a greater purpose or meaning in writing it. What is that greater purpose I am sure you are dying to know? Know your beer and your brewery and if you care about local communities and local companies stop buying beer from the super-mega breweries like ABI and Molsoncoors and their deceptive ‘craft’ brands and buy more beer from the mega breweries like Iron Horse. But if we are just too large for you, let me know and I will do my next blog on what breweries are smaller than us in our region.