Deservedly or not, millennials get blamed for a lot of things, not least of all the slow demise of the flagship beer. Called everything from fickle to promiscuous, millennial craft beer drinkers stereotypically flit between the newest, hottest, rarest releases with no regard for the workhorse core brands that, to apply the most common cliché, “keep the lights on” for brewers who bank on their steady sales for sturdy ongoing revenue.
Beer writers like me do a lot of hand wringing over this, particularly as it pertains to the old classics–Sierra Nevada Pale Ale gets mentioned most often–that built the craft beer industry in the first place. Our laments are more than sentimental. The nation’s most pioneering and influential old craft breweries, all of which built their businesses on a flagship or two, are struggling mightily – and not so successfully -- to compete in a world where a decent number of upstarts don’t even craft a core beer.
“A lot of beer drinkers have developed a sort of ADD with respect to the beers they drink, so going for a glass of beer at the bar or pub becomes less a pleasant distraction and more a relentless search for what’s new and exciting. In this mad rush towards the unusual and unknown, we tend to forget the great, familiar and still-wonderful beers that guided us all along the path to the craft beer renaissance,” emails globally renowned beer journalist Stephen Beaumont, who’s authored 13 books on the subject.