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Our Take On Sophisticated Beer

From The Iron Horse Brewery Blog

Our Take On Sophisticated Beer


sophisticated beer

Should wine and beer be more like each other? A recent article on VinePair suggests craft beer needs to be more sophisticated like wine and vice versa. We asked our cousins for their thoughts on the article.


What are your thoughts on the piece of the article about beer/wine?

Beer absolutely has a market and consumer base for more high end and ‘sophisticated’ offerings as the article states. The premium drinker continues to grow, so it’s no surprise that breweries will start to put out higher priced/premium beer to catch some consumers in that category.” — Molly Glockner, National Account Manager

“I find this whole concept pretty interesting especially seeing it from both the side of beer and wine. As a designer, I’ve worked for Iron Horse Brewery now for 6 years and I’ve also worked for a local winery concurrently. Through conversations with both, I feel as though both beer and wine want a little of what the other has. I agree that wine brands are definitely getting trendier and branching out into that more casual sphere that probably overlaps into beer territory (i.e. so much wine in can these days!). At the same time, I see beer brands coming up with fancy / unique flavor combos, creating more elegant artwork and taking away a little of the ‘brashness’ of beer – which to me, is reaching for more sophistication. I think there is a world where these can both exist and continue to serve millennials with a happy medium of casual + sophistication. It really comes down to the preference of what you ultimately want to be drinking and the setting you’re in – in my mind, there will always be a time and place for both.”

Vanessa Swenson, graphic designer


Do you agree/disagree with the author’s opinion that beer needs to come up with “sophisticated” beers for millennials?

I think this could help smaller breweries grow and gain some notoriety, but might have to be a more calculated move for some mid-large size craft breweries.” — Molly

“Beers need to have something unique, whether that’s sophisticated or not is up to the brewery. There has to be some sort of draw. Would I pay $15 for a bottle of an IPA? No. Would I pay $15 if it had Harry Potter labels or was a super interesting flavor limited edition batch that I’d never heard of before? Absolutely. I think having something you can pick up and take to a party as a gift or talking point is a win.” — Nicole Klauss, content coordinator.


What do you think qualifies a beer as “sophisticated”?

“Higher priced/limited/hard to get ingredients, production time, and let’s hope mind blowing taste.” — Molly

“Aging a beer, adding unique ingredients, special packaging, limited batch, etc.” — Nicole


Any other thoughts?

“I think the craft beer industry specifically will have to move toward having some higher end or more sophisticated product, it gives a brewery an opportunity to show off. It doesn’t have to be stuffy, beer can still be high end and sophisticated while still being fun and innovative.” — Molly

“I agree with Molly when she says it’s an opportunity for a brewery to show off. Maybe it’s an aged beer or one that’s super limited batch. For example, in 2016 we released Batch #1621, an aged special, fancy, unique one-of-a-kind beer that was only available at [ the pub], and we limited how many of them people could buy. It was released in 22 oz bottles that were hand dipped in wax and then featured different employee signatures on it. And we were able to charge more for it. I don’t think it makes sense for us to get into the business of always producing $18.89 beers, but it’s a fun thing to offer now and then to your consumers so they can treat themselves to something sophisticated.” — Nicole


Listen to more of our thoughts on the topic on Life Behind Beer Episode 30. The discussion on this topic starts at 15:27.


What do you think? Should beer try to be more sophisticated?



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