To Celebrate American Craft Beer Week we decided to go out and ask some of our brewers about trends and what they like.
This week, May 13-19th, is American Craft Beer Week so we talked to a few of the brewers on the Craft Your Adventure Beverage Trail to see what trends they are seeing nationally and regionally, and what they find people are looking for in craft beverages. Pantomime Mixtures, Liquid Shoes Brewing, Lucky Hare Brewing, Seneca Lake Brewing and Beerocracy, and Upstate Brewing Company tell us what is most popular in their tasting rooms, and what is coming up next.
What trends are you seeing in the beverage industry on a national level?
Your hazy IPA's are here to stay. Breweries going back to simplicity and moving back to the traditional makings of beers like Lagers and Pilsners. Sours and mixed beers are becoming a trend at a pretty fast pace. Barrel age beer is becoming more popular. - Eric and David Shoemaker, Liquid Shoes
There’s a bigger push around the country to introduce friends to craft beers bringing a whole new group getting into craft. Well executed beers and a return to classic styles, but also beer that doesn’t sometimes taste like beer. – Matt Lull and Jesse Perlmutter, Pantomime Mixtures
Everything has lactose in it. There seems to be a trend toward more traditional styles. A return to pilsners and lager style beers, as well as fruit beers, and lactose. – Ian Conboy and Rich Thiel, Lucky Hare Brewing
IPAs have been at the top for a long time. People are also looking for diversity, including subcategories of styles like Milkshake IPA, Brut IPA, Dry-hopped Kolsch. Changing up a classic style so it doesn’t exactly meet that style, but is related to it. People are all about different stuff. Change is the name of the game. This interest in different is great for us, as Cask Ales are so traditional, they’re different from everything out there. - George Pusins, Seneca Lake Brewing and Beerocracy
Hazy IPAs have been the past couple years. Lagers and Pilsners are a recent trend. The anti-answers to IPAs. - Mark Neumann, Upstate Brewing
What trends are you seeing in the beverage industry on a regional level?
Hazy IPA Craze, moving back to traditional like on the national level. We have been hearing of new experimentation of beers, different Styles of IPA's, Sours, and Lagers. If anything, maybe beer doesn't have its own identity in NYS like wines do being known for our Rieslings, but one thing we do have is beer being known for locally sourcing its ingredients like honey, chocolate, coffee and other additives. That makes our beer stand out for this area. - Eric and David Shoemaker, Liquid Shoes
People want a rotation of small batch styles. Breweries have their flagship list, but the one-offs are popular. People are looking for that new thing. Brewers are experimenting, creating something new and see what works best. There is a push to make better beer. People are enjoying craft beers at home more. - Matt Lull and Jesse Perlmutter, Pantomime Mixtures
I think it’s the same regionally as nationally. Some breweries were forced to make hop forward beers to bring in customers since they’ve been so popular. Brewers are using locally sourced ingredients. It’s about the taproom experience and the beers. Locally everybody wants to come out, have food, and bring their dogs or kids. - Ian Conboy and Rich Thiel, Lucky Hare Brewing
More of the same. Seems to happen faster locally. A beer might be in and then out of style in six months. - George Pusins, Seneca Lake Brewing and Beerocracy
Regionally skewed toward IPAs and cream ales, especially around the lakes and up toward Rochester. - Mark Neumann, Upstate Brewing
What beverage(s) is/are popular now in your tasting room?
NEIPA - Hazy, Juice Fruity IPA's - This style out sells everything 6-1. Followed Close by our Stouts. Example of IPA's Are Same Number, Same Hood, Aggressive Cuddles and for our Stouts it would be Mud Bean Stout and Incandescence. - Eric and David Shoemaker, Liquid Shoes
Our New England IPA collaboration with Lucky Hare has been very popular. The collaboration was a chance to do something that’s not our typical style, to challenge us. It was a lot of fun. Our fruited sours are quite popular. People are asking about them and are excited about them. - Matt Lull and Jesse Perlmutter, Pantomime Mixtures
Anything hazy will bring people out. Our Brotato and Millennial Falcon seem to fly. Fruit Salad and sours also go quick. We only use local fruits. But it’s an opportunity for people to drink other beers, too. To try new things. - Ian Conboy and Rich Thiel, Lucky Hare Brewing
Being on a wine trail, we’re a little different as many folks who stop aren’t beer drinkers. Having said that, IPAs are popular. We do several periodically. When we have them, they’re the fastest sellers. Also traditional English styles that you associate with a traditional British Brewery like Best Bitters, Brown Ale, and Stout. If we have something different, like Hefeweizen it sells twice as fast. - George Pusins, Seneca Brewing and Beerocracy
Hazy IPAs. - Mark Neumann, Upstate Brewing
What do you like? What are your favorite beverages?
Our personal favorite beers to drink are Lagers, Pilsners and IPA's. Favorite to brew are any beer that take us outside out comfort zone like Brut IPA's, Mud Bean Stout and some IPA's. - Eric and David Shoemaker, Liquid Shoes
We are going to Brussels. The Belgian Limerick and Gooze, a traditional sour beer, which was 100% spontaneous fermented beer made in Brussels. For us, trying to recreate the style and methods Belgians are doing, but with ingredients found here makes it authentic to here. - Matt Lull and Jesse Perlmutter, Pantomime Mixtures
Malt-forward beers. Our London Gentleman. A standard Golsch, and pilsners like Local Bohemian. IPAs first and I like to go from there. Shifting more toward lighter beers. Now getting into Kolsch (it resets the palate). - Ian Conboy and Rich Thiel, Lucky Hare Brewing
New England IPAs because I like the smell and taste of hops. Traditional styles like a good Czech Pilsner which are fabulous. - George Pusins, Seneca Lake Brewing and Beerocracy
Hazy IPAs. They’re higher in alcohol, have more flavor, and are in response to domestic. - Mark Neumann, Upstate Brewing
What are people looking for in terms of craft beverages?
NEIPA's, again they sell 6-1 vs other beers. People want anything new. - Eric and David Shoemaker, Liquid Shoes
Innovation and quality. When they come here, people are looking for sours, though not all our beer is sour. Barrel-aged wild ales and farmhouse ales are more nuanced and harder to describe. - Matt Lull and Jesse Perlmutter, Pantomime Mixtures
Hazy IPAs, that’s what it’s all about. If we do one, we’ll have one or two of them, but most of our beers are not. We want to offer diversity. That makes it fun. - Ian Conboy and Rich Thiel, Lucky Hare Brewing
Hazy IPAs. That’s the number one thing people ask for. If you don’t have a New England IPA you’re missing out. Since we are on the wine trail and get non-beer drinkers, some also ask for a beer that’s light. - George Pusins, Seneca Lake Brewing and Beerocracy
Variety and unique flavor. Fruited sours, coffee beers. They like it to be approachable to some degree and unique, but not being super weird. - Mark Neumann, Upstate Brewing
What’s new that you’re working on/ Do have any new releases coming out soon?
Expansion to double our capacity. New Beers - Passion Fruit Blonde Ale, Ever Changing IPA's to include a milkshake IPA series. Some new stouts. Small Barrel Age Program and Kettle sours. - Eric and David Shoemaker, Liquid Shoes
We have 5 batches right around the corner that are bottle conditioning right now. We’ll have an apricot beer, a grape beer, some fruited stuff, an oaky chardonnay single-barrel beer, and some others. Collaborations down the road with Upstate Brewing, Scale House Brewery, and we will continue the series with Lucky Hare Brewing - Matt Lull and Jesse Perlmutter, Pantomime Mixtures
We have a few surprises coming. A variation of Fruit Salad, a Double version of Brotato, more collaborations. We’re also expanding our footprint with a new production facility, so we’ll be more visible. That will also allow us to expand our barrel-aging program and start our sour program. Food trucks and live music. - Ian Conboy and Rich Thiel, Lucky Hare Brewing
We have 78- flagship beers on most of the time in the summer. We have a Hefeweizen for spring and will begin a Belgian Double. We’ll be trying to expand what we do on cask. Those two styles work best on cask. We’ll also do some fun, experimental brews and will be working on customer collaborations. We had a recent competition for home brewers and we will be brewing the winning recipe with the brewer who won the competition. Also some collaborations with other breweries. - George Pusins, Seneca Brewing and Beerocracy
In 2018 we did 53 different beers. We did some collaboration, like with Diversion. We will be doing collabs this year with Aurora, Pantomime Mixtures, Ithaca Beer and Liquid Shoes. In July we’re having a big anniversary party. It’s a Collabfest and all the brewers we’ve done collaborations with will come and their beers. This way we can help promote some other, newer businesses, and it will be a fun party. - Mark Neumann, Upstate Brewing
American Craft Beer Week is a celebration of small and independent craft brewers in the U.S. It is a time to recognize their passion, creativity, and dedication to their craft. Support your local craft brewers on the Craft Your Adventure beverage trail during American Craft Beer Week May 13-19th. Make the most of your tasting room experience and download the Craft Your Adventure App on your favorite mobile device for information on breweries, adventure pairings, and check in to get free beverage trail gear. Share all of your beverage trail adventures on social media using #flxbeercountry. Cheers!