Lost Abbey co-founder Tomme Arthur has been making world-class beer for the last 22 years. When he launched San Diego’s Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey in 2006, there were around 1,400 breweries in the United States. It’s 12 years and nearly 5,600 breweries later, and the industry in his own backyard – and across the country – is somewhat unrecognizable.
“For me, it has been personally difficult because there are so many people operating breweries that I don’t know at the same high level that I used to,” he told Brewbound. “It’s made it a little bit challenging for us as a brewery to be as collaborative as we used to be, because I don’t know everybody by a first name basis, or their stories, or I haven’t connected with exactly how they came to be.”
The sheer amount of new craft breweries that have opened their doors since Arthur entered the business has created growth challenges, and it’s also caused Arthur to think critically about the ways in which the craft beer industry is evolving and innovating.
“If everyone is making a beer that has no sense of space or place, how are we supposed to identify why it’s regionally important or otherwise?” he asked.
“There has, all of a sudden, become this ‘it doesn’t matter where it comes from, it just has to participate,’” he added. “And as long as you participate, you’re going to get paid. And I don’t feel like the industry should be a part of a thing that says, ‘I just need to catch my dollars on this, so I can move along to the next thing.’”
In the third episode of the Brewbound Podcast, Arthur joins Brewbound editors Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall in a wide-ranging discussion on the state of innovation within the beer category, the challenge of creating new drinking occasions, and the characteristics of breweries that will succeed and survive a potential shakeout.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper also joined the audio broadcast to discuss his possible presidential bid in 2020, the impact of steel and aluminum tariffs on small businesses, an emerging cannabis industry and the evolution of the craft beer category since he opened Denver’s Wynkoop Brewing in 1988.
Following those interviews, Furnari and Kendall introduce two new segments — “First One’s Free,” and “Beer Twitter.”
You can listen to episode three of the Brewbound Podcast above, as well as on iTunes. The episode is also available on Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, and Soundcloud, among other listening platforms.
New episodes of the Brewbound Podcast, which is co-hosted by Brewbound editors Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall, are published every Thursday.
Episode four, featuring Braxton Brewing co-founder Jacob Rouse, will be released on Thursday, Oct. 4.
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