From the New Brewer: The new IPA drinker

This is a fascinating article from the New Brewer on the new IPA drinker

In particular, I found this to be a curious reflection

Not sure if this is a new phenomenon. The going joke over a decade ago is that Heavyweight closed down b/c they didn’t make an IPA. There is definitely something to IPA drinkers as opposed to craft beer drinkers. It seems the divide keeps growing.

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I think someone who exclusively drinks IPAs is still better for the industry as a whole than someone who exclusively drinks Budweiser. Small steps of progress are still progress.


Yeah, this point is very important to keep in mind. Bitter IPA became a big rudder changing force among craft beer buyers 15 years ago. Non bitter IPA because the mass market beer which grew in similar patterns.

This is why when I hear older aficionados lament hazy IPA, I’m quick to remind them that there were old men just like ourselves who poo pooed what we now call West Coast IPA, saying it was completely ruining craft beer.

Can you explain?

Because style loyalty over brand loyalty supports a variety of breweries rather than one. For casual beer fans, any brand loyalty that develops is due to quality rather than marketing. That means breweries try to make good IPAs to earn them loyal customers.

On a more selfish note, it means that almost everywhere with a liquor license will now have an IPA / pale ale to keep those people happy. My local boutique cinema has a choice of two APAs. It’s great.

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I so love that even very traditional “beer pubs” which usually only carry macro lagers now have (downside: also macro) APAs/IPAs to offer.

I agree. As IPA becomes more mainstream, light lager is beginning to be replaced by IPA, and more importantly, by drinkers of IPA who support greater diversity in possibly the dominant beer style in the marketplace – the hop forward ale.

The first time I heard this believably predicted was by Tony McGee of Lagunitas. He felt his IPA was going to take over the world. Little did we know then that in just a few years he would be planning IPA strategies for Africa and Asia.