Our 2018 Craft Beer Predictions Scorecard

At the beginning of the year, we published an article with some of our predictions for what would happen with craft beer in 2018. So now that the year is nearly done, let’s look back and see how we did.

1. Bring on the Gueuze (Wrong)

Sadly we were wrong on this one, I think just slightly ahead of the curve, so hopefully it becomes a 2019 trend. While the sour category continued to grow in BC and across Canada, we didn’t see a lot of Gueuze’s hit the market as of yet. Instead the focus was on Kriek’s and Gose’s which isn’t a bad thing, but we’d really like to see some Gueuze’s hit taprooms as well.

2. More Session Ales (Right)

Low ABV style beers surged in the marketplace this year. While there were still plenty imperial IPAs and beer with ABV above 6%, there were equally as many beers that fell below 5%. Low alcohol brews were particularly spiking during the summer months when drinkers were looking to enjoy the patio season and drink beers that not only tasted good, but wouldn’t get them hammered after two.

3. Regional Styles Make a Splash (Right)

NE IPA continued to be the strongest representation of a “regional” style this year, drinkers are all about that juicy! But other styles started making more appearances than normal. We saw more Altbiers and some regional takes on stouts and sours, especially during fresh hop season. This was one way a brewery was able to stand out from the competition and make a mark on their local beer scene.

4. Lagers are Taken More Seriously (Right)

Lagers were once the forgotten stepchild of the craft beer world, man has 2018 changed that. When it was once nearly impossible to find a lager at your local craft brewer it seems now everyone is in on the game. Lagers made a huge comeback, and breweries promoted them heavily. Expect this to continue, as lagers check off the low ABV demand and allow brewers to put their own unique spin on it.

5. Food-centric Beers (Wrong-ish)

If this had been more “fruit” beers, we’d give ourselves the point. But the reality is, we were expecting to see more food-forward beers, and that just didn’t happen as strongly as we thought. Again, this could be due to the fact that drinkers are just looking for more quality base beers, and the wild experimentation days are getting few and far between. We’ll see what happens next year.

6. Botanicals Replace Hops (Wrong)

Yeah this one didn’t really come to fruition either. Hops are still the reigning champion, and don’t seem to be going away any time soon. That being said, there is going to be a point where hops production can’t keep up with demand, and brewers will need to look at alternative sources for flavour and bittering. In fact there’s already talk about modifying yeast strains to mimic hop profiles.

7. Cans Become Fashionable Again (Right)

Practically any good craft brewer in 2018 was focused on the can game. Special releases were more likely to appear in cans than bottles this year, and brewers went all out in can design and labeling. Looks like the bomber is no longer the trend anymore, cans are here to stay.

Overall Score: 4.5/7

Granted some of our predictions were a little out there, but overall we think we did fairly well. In the coming weeks, we’ll be looking at 2019 and where we think the industry will be going, so fingers crossed we do better next year.

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