Well, I heard some interesting news this morning. The fight for beer taps around town is going to get even more competitive, but at least we'll be competing with good beer, instead of the macro-crap. Magic Hat Brewery, out of Vermont, has signed a distribution deal with Ajax-Turner, the area Anheuser-Busch distributor. It's really interesting to see the big A-B house signing up craft breweries - they signed up Yeungling and Atlanta Brewing last year, and now Magic Hat. A-B has relaxed some of their restrictions on their distributors, letting them carry beers with higher margins than Bud and Bud Light. We'll see how well they can sell craft beer.
I also heard that New Belgium Brewing out of Colorado, the brewer that makes "Fat Tire", will be in town again to interview with Ajax-Turner and DET Distributing. So far, New Belgium has not distributed across the Mississippi river - you can get it in West Memphis, but not Memphis. I'll be surprised if they really do decide to come into Tennessee before other states like Georgia and North Carolina, that have more established craft beer markets like Atlanta or Charlotte. Our 17% wholesale tax really hurts the profits of the breweries that sell here, especially compared with other Southern states.
Anyway, it's a sure sign that Nashville is becoming viewed as a good town to sell craft beer. When we started our brewery five years ago, it seemed like Sierra Nevada and Flying Dog were the only craft brands available. Most restaurants would only have four taps. Now most new restaurants have a much larger selection of draft and are more and more devoting the space to craft and imports. As a brewer, I'm not looking forward to more and more of the "big craft brewers" like New Belgium and Magic Hat coming into the market. But as a beer lover too, I'm glad for the diversity we're starting to see.