Scotland’s dog-friendly brewery, BrewDog, opened its new brewery, restaurant and taproom in Columbus, Ohio yesterday. Named DogTap Columbus, the stylish building features a gaming area, a full restaurant, and a dozen taps from BrewDog and other guest breweries (see photos below from brewdog.com). Once its brewhouse is fully operational, it will double its offerings to 24 taps.
“The craft beer scene in the United States is an amazing thing to behold,” the company posted on its website. “Over 5,000 breweries dot the landscape from sea to shining sea, with tens of thousands of different beers finding their way into the hands of millions of people. It is inspirational, energizing and a bastion of creativity. And now in the biggest project over the 10-year history of BrewDog, we have arrived to play our own small part in it. We have finally touched down and are ready to rock and roll.”
In recent years, many West Coast breweries have built (or are building) new breweries in the East Coast – including New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, Deschutes, Green Flash, and Stone – in an effort to expand into new markets, reduce distribution costs, and provide fresher beers to that region of the country. Many American breweries have also started exporting beer to Europe, and late last year, Stone even opened a brewery in Berlin, which is the first American brewery to operate in Germany.
Conversely, over the last decade, many foreign and multi-national beer companies have acquired or partnered with American brewing companies. But now we’re starting to see some European breweries setting up shop in America.
Last year, Mikkeller of Denmark opened a brewery in San Diego. And in January of this year, Guinness announced that it will be opening a $50 million brewery and visitor center in Maryland, which will brew new beers created for the U.S. market.
What this shows is that even though there are now more than 5,000 breweries in America (plus more in planning), and even in the face of major layoffs (such as the recent ones at Stone and Green Flash), increased competition and slowing growth, foreign breweries are still willing to invest in the U.S. beer market.
The questions are: How will beer drinkers respond? Is the “craft” market share still expanding enough to accommodate these new entries, or will the growing number of small, neighborhood breweries continue to eat into midsize breweries’ market share? Or will quality, innovation and flavor — regardless of brewery size — eventually reign supreme and determine who fails and who survives?