Following the moderate success of my 2016 predictions, it’s worth another crack at 2017.
A year ago I made a few predictions for 2016 and they were semi-successful.
This year, I’ve tried to be more specific with my predictions. Leave a comment below with predictions of your own.
Craft Beer Lists At Restaurants
Yes, it’s wishful thinking. Beer at restaurants still lags far behind wine. There are just a few stand outs around Sydney. The likes of LP’s Quality Meats have a small but local beer offering while Automata provides possibly the most thoughtful beer list in Sydney.
In 2017, I think we’ll see at least two restaurants either launch or revamp their beer lists to an impressive degree.
While in reality there should be far more than two, I think that would be something of a success over the next year. I just hope they come at a variety of price points, not just at the high end of Sydney’s restaurants.
Cellar Door Experience
The thing that Australia does so well and that makes our craft beer scene so unique is our knack for hospitality. Many of our brewery taprooms are genuinely impressive venues in their own right.
As new breweries open they’re looking for cash flow and a way of getting their beer into people’s hands.
With thirsty local communities to sate, I think we’ll see the next step in the evolution of the cellar door experience.
Breweries are becoming destinations, even with non-craft beer geeks.
I think we’ll see brewery taprooms get more mainstream coverage and we’ll see at least one new or revamped brewery cellar door which will wow punters.
I’ve no idea whether this will be a renovation of an existing taproom or if it’ll be the launch of a new brewery but I think we’ll be talking about it this time next year.
Perhaps it’ll be a current gypsy brewer putting down roots.
While there might be a growing cynicism among some craft beer lovers, where we’ll see a real impact is in attempts to cash in on craft beer.
Some might argue that already breweries have launched with this intention. If this is true, contract brewing beer labels may have some immediate success but in the long run they’ll be judged harshly.
I think the ultimate goal for a new brewery like this would be to sell to Big Beer. However, it might take a few more years for this to eventuate. I’m not sure one year of growth is enough to convince CUB or Lion to come calling.
In the meantime, I think we’ll see at least one venue open up with the intention of cashing in on craft beer.
Whether they succeed or not is a different matter. How will we tell whether a new venue is the real deal or otherwise? I think there are a few tell-tale signs but perhaps that’s something for a separate article.
Either way, I think most people invested in the craft beer scene will be able to spot them.
Rise Of The West
At the moment, Sydney’s craft beer hotspots are centred around the Inner West and the Northern Beaches. It’s only a matter of time until we see growth elsewhere.
Western Sydney is severely underserved when it comes to craft beer. The general thought is that people out West don’t like craft beer, that they’re wedded to their slabs of VB or Toohey’s. I don’t buy this.
Recently we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of craft beer at Bankstown Sports Club with both a dedicated bar serving local beer, and their own brewhouse which is fermenting wort produced off-site.
I think in 2017 we’ll see at least one high quality craft beer venue open up in Western Sydney.
The temptation is to say it’ll be an old pub renovated in a gentrifying suburb but I think it could equally be a small bar similar to the likes of The Noble Hops.
I’d also love if we saw another brewery open up in Western Sydney to share the space with Riverside.
Like last year, I think we’ll see a steady growth in the variety of sour beers. That means more breweries producing them, more venues (including restaurants) pouring them and more in package.
Also, it’s surely only a matter of time until another Aussie craft brewery gets bought by the big boys. It could be this year.
Your Predictions For Craft Beer In 2017
Do you have predictions for craft beer in 2017? Leave a comment below with what you think we’ll see in Sydney, or across Australia, throughout the next twelve months.
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