We recently talked with Josh Hurst of Pies & Pints about how he knows what beer trends are coming before they arrive.
Here's how he figures it out:
Input 1: beer trends follow a predictable pattern. Learn it.
- For the most part (we know there are exceptions!) beer trends start on the west coast and move eastward.
- They'll pop up in Chicago, NY, Vermont, etc. after that.
- Then smaller, tip-of-the-spear breweries and bars here and there (mostly in larger cities) across the country will pick up on the trend as well.
- At that point the methodical march across the country begins. Eventually, years later, every brewery, bar, and restaurant will be participating in the trend.
Input 2: Now that you know the pattern, look where the pattern tells you to look based on who you are and where you're located. In other words, do some research.
Here's what to do:
- Think through: where are you located? Is your city ready for the next trend yet?
- Use websites and social media. Talk to friends who live or visit the place you're looking. Talk with breweries, wineries, and importers about what's coming next.
- Be strategic about where you're researching. If you're trying to prepare for future trends, look at places that look like you in other markets, where the trend has likely already hit. It's tempting, but it won't do you any good to look at your direct competitor in your town.
Do that and you'll know what beer trends are coming for you next, and you can even be the local spot that embraces the trend first.
And though the goal of this interview was much more "teach a man to fish," we might as well give away some fish too. Here are the trends Josh sees coming next:
- Throwback styles. As Josh said, "there comes a point where you just want to sit down and drink a beer or two," which is exactly what you can't do with a lot of the crazy sours, high-abv stouts, and fruited up IPAs.
- Lagers and pilsners have already been coming back for a couple years, so Josh thinks things like west coast IPAs and pale ales are poised for a big come back.
- He also thinks there's some latent nostalgia for styles like Black IPAs. Styles like that evaporated over the last decade or so, but breweries have started releasing them again and Josh thinks that movement will be successful.
Check out the full interview for more from Josh: