Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WEEK 62----Beer is something cheap and easily available ?

Been away for a while--first to Tokyo, and then Bangkok--both very much craft-hunting this is a "back-dated" piece from the newspaper column.( in fact there's another--will do that next week...)
Most cities in and around Asia---beer is always considered as something cheap--something readily available--easily obtainable. This is very true--if you are talking about the big factory made one dimensional COMMERCIAL BEER.

不过,踏入不同啤酒类别选择繁多的CRAFT BEER世界,啤酒是单调口味,产品划一,价格统一的大众认知会被彻底颠覆,一般人所知道的所谓啤酒概念,并不适用。
跟普通大厂啤酒不同,一些很出名的CRAFT BEER品牌并不会大量生产最受欢迎类别啤酒,供应量有限,一些难找盛名啤酒可能每年或每几年只出几百瓶。

For examples, right here in KL--there's big brewery not far away from the city center producing tonnes of commercial beers for local market--so yeah--beers can be readily available for a steal.

But--enter to the world of CRAFT BEER--the situation in cities around ASIA can be very different--because most of the craft beer selection needs to be imported from far away places all over Europe, US, New Zealand and such....and naturally--supply is an issue.

Maybe someone would ask---since Craft Beer essentially is still a BUSINESS--why don't the brewers/breweries just bloody up the volume/supply of some of their most popular/ sought-after beers?
Well--theoretically this seems like solution for the supply shortage issue faced by many--but it just would not happen that way in the world of Craft Beer---why?
1)再怎么出名,撞意啤酒酿坊的年产量绝对比不上普通大厂啤酒,根据美国酿酒师协会定义,年产量不超过6百万加仑才算CRAFT BEER,实际上,很多撞意啤酒酿坊的年产量都大大低于六百万加仑。

1) No matter how you look at it--in next 10 or 20 years time--the overall production in volume for Craft Beer will always only be a fraction of what the big boys of commercial beers are producing. With many craft brewers still very much into "gypsy brewing"--the world would only get so much for a certain beer, not to mention some brewers/brand are actually proud to keep certain beer very limited in supply annually--or even only releasing once every 2 years.

2) Because craft beer is all about VARIANTS--Varieties--naturally if you only focus on producing 1 single beer like the big commercial beer boys--then you obviously can keep on producing in abundance---but let's take a very simple assumption here:-
if you have a brewing facility and working capital to produce say 100,000 gallons of beers--if you just do 1 style--then you will produce 100.000 gallons.
if you are doing say 5 different styles/variants of beers--then you will only get 20,000 gallons of each styles....
So--there you go....yes, it's simplifying matters here --but you get the picture why Craft Beer supply for certain beer is so little.( of course there's the small matters of hard to get raw materials--or like in the case of Cantillon--you have to wait for the right weather...)

3) Let's face it---even if you stay in the States or Europe--unless you are staying within 4-5 hours driving distance from the brewery--you will not get the beer/s you want easily if they are not being distributed in a bar/shop near you.
Those who been driving up all the way to various breweries or beer festivals would tell you exactly why they do that---because the supply is so limited--you have to go to the beers--rather than the beers coming to you....


4)It is true that some Craft beer brands has gotten very big--we are talking about tens of million USD a year turnover here---and some of these bigger guy's beers are almost quite readily available all year round in many cities around the world---BUT--the truth is there are way too many brewers who are just happy to brew as and when they like/can--at the volume they like/can---business volume? fight for market share?
Some craft brewers/brands just don't seems to give a FXXK about that.....:)
So--if you think beer is just some cheap yellow fizzy thing you can always buy from the nearby convenient store at anytime you felt like having one--think again--in the world of Craft Beer--unless you live in the States or Europe or some craft beer heaven somewhere, you chances might be better--BUT- if you are in ASIA the whole time--the truth is --many a times---even if you have the taste and money for a certain beer--you just can't get it in your own city.....:(

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