Good Beer Hunting

Sightlines — Alaskan Brewing Launches 30th Anniversary Beer

Juneau’s Alaskan Brewing—the 22nd largest brewery by volume in the U.S.—is launching a commemorative beer to celebrate its 30 years of business. Perseverance Stout will feature locally sourced ingredients including Birch syrup and Alder-smoked malt.

Building a craft brewery over 30-years to become the 22nd largest in the country is no mean feat. To do so from a location as remote as Juneau is doubly impressive.

But as established breweries such as Alaskan begin to span into the next generation, where do they go from here and how can businesses like these ensure that they can operate for another 30 years? A handful are installing skilled executives at the highest level, such as Stone, who recently hired a new CEO to replace co-founder Greg Koch. Some, such as Elysian, are looking for an exit plan as retirement looms or their professional situation changes. Others still are pulling back to fortify at home, as Ska’s Dave Thibodeau told us on the GBH podcast.

To see what might happen as U.S. craft beer reaches maturity, you only have to look as far as Europe. Britain’s Adnams Brewery has been around since 1872 (five times longer than Alaskan), and continues to thrive in the UK marketplace. Under the ownership of SABMiller, the Czech Republic’s Pilsner Urquell brand has continued to grow globally against a trend of a shrinking market for mass produced lagers. And in Belgium, the Dupont Brewery remains one of the most popular amongst beer geeks and traditional beer enthusiasts alike under the stewardship of the fourth generation of the Dedeycker family.

Could these be possible paths for U.S. companies like Alaskan, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium? Only time will tell.

Alaskan Brewing Celebrates 30 Years with Perseverance Ale [Brewpublic]

—Matthew Curtis