Good Beer Hunting

EP-147 Bart Watson of the Brewers Association

EP-147 Bart Watson of the Brewers Association

It’s hard to be objective when it comes to such a subjective thing like beer. We’re all driven by our own preferences and tastes mapped out by sensory experiences of flavor and aroma. Things are good and bad, sought after whales and shelf turds. Beer is an experiential good and our exposure varies on time of day, mood, company and more.

But there are still plenty of cold, hard facts that factor into the social, cultural and business side of beer, which is why this week’s guest is a special one for me. 

Bart Watson deals with numbers. Truthful, verifiable, factual data. As one of only several economists who work within the beer industry, it’s his job to offer context and insight into what’s changing, and often, what’s to come. His logical and well-cited reason is regularly seen on the Brewers Association website and increasingly in media around the country. When some may be focusing on the hot take du jour, Bart can be found writing a blog post or interacting on Twitter with calculated answers. And it’s about beer.

As the BA was preparing to kickoff the Great American Beer Festival in early October, I sat down with Bart inside the Colorado Convention Center to geek out, talking about the new challenges within the beer market, including price points, marijuana use, distribution and more. With thousands of people scurrying around the building ready to celebrate craft beer, it was exciting to take a fittingly calm moment to evaluate the state of the industry and where beer lovers should be looking in 2018.

Who knew economics could be so cool?