Australia’s craft brewers won’t take as long as their American counterparts did to capture beer market share, predicts Sierra Nevada brewery ambassador Steve Grossman.
Grossman, whose brother Ken founded Sierra Nevada – now America’s third largest independent craft brewery – suggested craft beer in Australia is five to eight years behind where it is in the US.
“But I think it’s going to take you less time to catch up,” he told Australian Brews News.
“Because of the social media, everyone knows what’s going on as soon as a brewery releases something.
“Even in a new market, the base is there. When we came to Australia, people knew our beer. A lot of the legwork has been done and I think it’s exciting because it’s going to be exponential growth pretty much everywhere around the world,” he said.
Grossman said it had been a long hard road for Sierra Nevada to reach its current position, without social media’s help.
“We’ve been doing this 35 years. It took us awhile to reach this level. It’s not going to take the other markets that long because they’re so knowledgeable… there’s really a lot of knowledge that can be gleaned from the internet,” he said.
Grossman said the acquisitions of recent times clearly demonstrate the big brewers are “scared” of these prevailing trends.
“Look at Heineken, who would’ve thought they wanted to get into craft. Well now here they are with 50 per cent of Lagunitas,” he said.
But as far as Sierra Nevada is concerned, it is brother Ken’s firm vision to remain independent, Grossman told a packed Ale Stars event at The Local Taphouse in Sydney.
“The beers are his baby, they are his passion – they continue to be his passion after 35 years of running the brewery,” he said.
“He could have had an opportunity to sell but we have many family members involved in the brewery.
“It’s Ken’s vision to keep it in the family for as many generations as possible. Ken certainly did not get into this for money, it was to be in a career that he enjoyed.
“Since this is a passion he didn’t want to hand it off to anyone who wasn’t a family member,” he said.