With Louisiana Craft Brewers Week near, blogger ponders the future – NOLA.com

New Orleans beer geeks are all hopped up about the upcoming Louisiana Craft Brewers Week, which floods local bars, retailers and breweries Sept. 12-19.

Louisiana has been on the craft-beer wagon for years, with breweries sprouting up across the state — from Parish Brewing in Broussard to Chafunkta in Mandeville to NOLA Brewing.

Craft beer has taken hold of consumers’ imaginations and taste buds. But so much popularity, and so many breweries, and so much going on, has some wondering if it’s all too good to be true. It’s with this wariness that beer blogger Mitch Steele, aka “The Hop Tripper,” penned the ominous post titled “Craft beer sales are at an all-time high‚ and why this could be scary.”

Steele notes a growing trend of craft brewers consolidating while others were getting bought out by larger brewers, then lists a series of eight less-obvious reasons for concern. These include everything from craft brewers discarding some of the traditions that honored their independence and a dearth of qualified brewers to the general fear that, sooner or later, the craft-beer bubble is bound to burst:

“Everyone believes that in the next few years there will be a wave of closings in the wake of the intensifying competition. … There are well over 100 craft breweries operating in San Diego County right now. Is there room for all of them to succeed? It certainly is difficult when you rely on the distributors to move beer — with some distributors there are far too many brands in the portfolio to put adequate focus on all of them.”

Are you concerned about the craft-beer future? Will the good times keep on hopping, or will they fall flat? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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