All that being said, I couldn't let today pass without comment, as it's the 10th anniversary of my first post on the blog, way back in 2008. At that time I had absolutely no idea what it would lead to, but from that small beginning has come (so far):
- Publishing four books on beer (and a fifth in progress)
- Writing a long-running monthly beer column for The Redoubt Reporter
- Being named the 2010 Beerdrinker of the Year
- Becoming the Alaska columnist for Northwest Brewing News
- Writing articles for several other magazines and websites
- My monthly radio show
Over the last ten years, I've made 367 blog posts (not counting this one). So even taking the last eight months off, I've still averaged better than 3 posts a month for a decade. Take it from me, that's a lot of writing. Some of it was even pretty good if I do say so myself.
Looking back, it also amazes me how much the beer scene in our state has changed since 2008. Just look at the (partial?) list of breweries that have opened in that time:
- 49th State Brewing
- HooDoo Brewing
- Last Frontier Brewing
- Arkose Brewery
- Bleeding Heart Brewery
- Bearpaw River Brewing
- Matanuska Brewing
- Resolution Brewing
- Anchorage Brewing
- King Street Brewing
- Odd Man Rush Brewing
- Denali Brewing
- Gakona Brewing
- Seward Brewing
- Grace Ridge Brewing
- Cooper Landing Brewing
- Girdwood Brewing
- Icy Straits Brewing
- Devil's Club Brewing
- Barnaby Brewing
- Cynosure Brewing
In that same time, we've had only two "close":
- Great Bear (now Last Frontier)
- Snow Goose/Sleeping Lady (now 49th State - Anchorage)
Alaska has more than doubled its number of breweries in a decade, and more are on the way, with Turnagain Brewing set to open in four days and Baleen Brewing not far behind. It's certainly been a great time to be a beer blogger.
The next decade promises to be interesting as well. While there is still room for small breweries to enter the market, the limited amount of retail shelf space and tap handles suggest to me that competition between the mid-size packaging breweries can only intensify. Meanwhile, bar owners are beginning to feel the competitive pressure from brewery taprooms. Their recent attempt to hijack SB 76 to hamstring direct brewery sales is likely just the first salvo in what may become an intense effort to use the power of the state to their business advantage, requiring an organized campaign in response. At the same time, the state's sluggish economy will encourage local and state government to try to find new revenue streams to tap, such as increasing the already high taxes on alcohol.
Put it all together and you definitely have a recipe for "interesting times."
In conclusion, I'd like to thank you, my readers, for hanging around and reading my blog. It's always gratifying we I bump into someone and they tell me "Hey, I read your stuff" or "I heard you on the radio." It makes me feel like the time I spend trying to put all this together is well spent. So thanks again, you folks keep drinking good local craft beer, and I'll do my best to keep writing about it.