Stats show that sales have slowed for the on-premise accounts, but continue to grow for the off-premise accounts. The marketing for crafts seems to be shifting from the off- premise in building the brand from the on premise. Either way, the craft segment continues to dominate the industry in all areas.
Perhaps nothing more readily demonstrates crafts’ growth than the attached chart for N. Texas. The current number of breweries and brewpubs, and those coming to this region, is similar to many other parts of the U.S. Consumers are driving this growth with their continued support of the segment, and entrepreneurs see a great opportunity to make some money.
Politicians have also taken note of the industry growth because crafts help with job creation, taxes, and advertise the cities and states in which a beer is sold. For both the politicians and the crafts, this continued growth is a win-win situation.
The question is, how does the industry support the craft growth with skilled individuals? As in previous blogs, we looked at the crafts and how they acquired many ABI and SABMiller employees due to downsizing. But even that pool of talent is finite. So what happens next?
For decades, there has been a small but highly effective number of schools who taught the brewing and technical side of the business. The Siebel Institute led in this field, but other establishments have been created institutes of beer education across the country, now including Dallas.
Those teaching the brewing classes are led by highly trained, credentialed and experienced instructors. Students who complete these programs are well qualified to work in brewing.
As a natural extension to this technical side, many schools have developed classes for the business side of beer. Class topics include, but are not limited to, sales, marketing, chains, budgeting, planning, merchandising, pricing, and other key components of the industry on all three tiers.
While at first glance, it would seem that schools would have a large pool of experienced industry executives from which to recruit. In certain areas, including legal contracts or accounting, there are a number of highly qualified professionals who specialize in crafts from which to recruit. Such talented individuals can, and do, provide great insight.
What schools, students and companies need to watch for is that there are now some self-proclaimed experts who have become involved in attempting to educate people in beer. Some have written books delineating how to become successful in crafts or teach subjects on crafts. Frequently, such individuals have no, or limited, skills/experience in crafts or in the beer industry as a whole.
There is no doubt that the industry needs schools to help educate a workforce. This was evident last summer as almost 30 breweries, wholesalers, importers, and crafts responded with their lists of needed skills for potential employees. It was eye opening!
In a future blog these desired skills will be outlined. Schools and potential employers, however, should take whatever time necessary to ensure potential workforces have the right skills from the best teachers. It is not the teaching, it’s the learning.