Craft brewers have had their eyes on expansion in recent years, gobbling up shelf space and capturing a bigger slice of the beer market. But now, breweries are turning to a different way to expand their business: larger container sizes, the New York Times reports.
For example, Dogfish Head Brewery will soon switch one of its two bottle assembly lines to filling 750-mililiter bottles, a size more typically seen in the wine industry. Some experts call this the “wine-ification” of beer, with brewers also embracing 22-ounce bombers and 3-liter jeroboams.
But for many beer drinkers, bigger isn’t better, and some retailers are finding it difficult to move the larger sizes. Part of the problem is that beer can’t be saved for another occasion and must be drunk soon after opening. “They’ll say, ‘I wish that came in a smaller bottle, because that would just ruin the night for me,'” said Ben Granger, the owner of Bierkraft in Brooklyn, NY.
In 2012, around 3.5% of all craft beer sold in 22-ounce bottles, according to SymphonyIRI. With craft beer sales overall growing at around 12% annually, many breweries are excited about bottling in bigger containers. “We do believe in the future of this format,” said Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head founder and CEO.
The shift comes down to brewers wanting to move their products beyond their perceived working-class roots and into the realm of wine and liquor. “It comes down to the whole experience we want people to have when drinking our beers,” said Ben Weiss, director of marketing for the Bruery, which bottles its brews in 750-milliliter bottles. “We want you to share it with a friend, pour it into a glass, and actually experience the beer rather than just grab it and start drinking.” (NACS: www.nacsonline.com)