The fight between Big Beer and Craft Beer has taken an odd turn. We all know there has been turmoil in recent history between the two of them. With all the new acquisitions, the craft beer industry has been concerned that Big Beer is butting in on their market with the intent of consolidating it and diluting their products with cheaper varieties. We’ve seen Big Beer struggling to fit into the Craft Beer market.
With all that, a new brewery, House Beer, aims to create a premium American lager, modeled after Big Beer, but making their target market craft beer lovers….What? Exactly. They want to make House Beer America’s easy drinking beer – for craft beer lovers.
House Beer enlisted L.A. home brewers Ryan Boring and Craig Shapland of Maltose Falcons, America’s oldest home brew club, to create their beer. The goal: a high-quality, clean-tasting lager that won’t fill you up.
“We align more with the craft guys, our brewing process, the ingredients we use, we use all noble hops, we use crystal malts, very high-end ingredients,” Sindell explains, adding they won’t reduce their lagering time for the sake of making an extra profit.
But the House Beer guys do agree that the Bud commercial got one thing right. Lager is the hardest style to brew because the beer’s flavor isn’t masked with hops or malt.
House Beer’s American lager, according to Sindell, fits into the beer space presently occupied by Stella, Pacifico, and Heineken. But, the guys are targeting young metropolitan professionals looking for a domestic choice made with quality ingredients and no adjuncts (unmalted grain used for cutting costs) or artificial sugar. Maltodextrin, a corn-based food additive that functions as sugar, is used in all major beers because it’s cheap, easily controllable, and ferments quickly. Thus speeding up the brewing process. Less brewing time means more beers made. A normal lager takes five or six weeks to brew, but the big guys are doing it in 15 days.
House Beer doesn’t have plans to dilute the recipe further by creating “Lite” versions of their beer though.
Despite their beer’s growing popularity and a recent partnership with Sleeping Giant, a new state-of-the-art brewery in Denver, the guys don’t have plans to create House Beer Light or different House Beer styles. Sindell, who is currently attending graduate school at USC, questions how sustainable it is to constantly offer the next newest beer to customers in a market so oversaturated: “All these new young breweries keep opening up. If your consumer base is just going from one to the next to the next, trying all these new things, it’s a small margin business and you have to sell a lot of beer to survive.” He’d rather just do one thing and do it well.
The beer is also only 25% more expensive than the 12-pack of Coors Light. The goal is to create a premium American Lager.
Whether the craft beer industry has reached its apex or not, the microbrew market is so saturated that it’s run out of names to call its beers. At the 2014 Great American Beer Festival there were 90 different styles of beer. But, House Beer stands out for its simplicity in not just its label, but beer style. “There has been a push in the past to start doing session IPAs but there’s no premium American lager that’s craft,” said Sindell. Until now.
Instead of commercials with freezing bullet trains and pool parties with scantily clad men and women drinking swill, maybe we’ll see similar commercials with bearded men and hipsters drinking House Beer, America’s premium lager.