Twitter polls are ‘garbage’ as we were repeatedly reminded throughout the US election but, still, this might tell us something:
Despite the pervading sense of gloom, perhaps the result of ennui on the part of hyper-vocal, deep-insiders who spend too much time thinking about all this stuff, the majority of the 502 respondents don’t seem to think a disaster is looming.
Now, it is worth considering the following points:
- Our followers are into beer which might translate into being blindly positive about its fortunes. Although, equally, it probably means they’re more aware of the bad news too.
- Some people might think a shake-out which sees, say, 10 per cent of breweries cease trading is good news. Equally, some people might feel pessimistic precisely because they think brewery numbers are going to continue increasing.
- The 8 per cent who think it’s about to go pear-shaped nonetheless represent a good old chunk. Inside information, or just miserable devils? We wish we’d done this last year, and will definitely do it next year, to monitor the change.
- Some of the reasons people gave for being anxious are interesting and, again, subjective: by far the most common concern is that American-influenced styles are pushing out traditional British ones; others were concerned about pubs which remain in trouble despite the brewery boom.
- Historian David Turner doesn’t think we’ll get a shake-out and instead predicts a plateau.
For our part, that poll and the rest of this week’s discussion is enough for now to confirm our gut feeling that, though 2017 is going to be bumpier than 2016, it’s not going to see some kind of beerpocalypse.
Breweries and bars will close, certainly, and we’ll keep logging those events, but we also know that plenty of new ones are on the way.
There might be some structural changes — perhaps further polarising of the market, for example — but that won’t look like a collapse.
We’d certainly be somewhat surprised if the launch of the Good Beer Guide in the autumn isn’t accompanied by news of a further rise in the overall number of breweries, for better or worse.