Thursday, December 10, 2020

Marking Time

I am starting to mark time under COVID-19 by counting Societe Brewing's special IPA releases. We are now three special releases into COVID-19. Back in April or May Societe released Agreeable Folk (which had a second run around Memorial Day). Then in July or August Societe released Good of the Public, and in October or early November it released World of Wonder. (The release dates are approximate because I gauge the time by when I see the beers show up in stores not when brewed.)

All three beers are West Coast IPAs, a style I have found reassuring since the onset of COVID. Besides their consistent great taste, the three beers' abvs come in around 6.5%, approximately 1% lower than Societe's flagship The Pupil IPA's 7.5% abv. I don't know this for sure, but I imagine there will be a fourth special release sometime early in 2021, and I further imagine we'll still be under some kind of COVID restrictions when it is released. I further further imagine restrictions in place when 2021 versions of Agreeable Folk and Good of the Public return, putting the COVID calendar marker at six special releases. I am not letting my brain absorb the thought of COVID past six special releases (summer 2021).

It is hard to predict what the craft beer industry will look like post-COVID. The business has suffered upheaval over the last eight months and I don't expect a return to business as usual. The impromptu outdoor spaces are not going away, that's for sure, and canned beer will continue and other distribution mechanisms will stay in place. I suspect the new normal will take months to arrive, as restrictions get lifted over time - there won't be some magic date when all of a sudden COVID ends - and breweries will act with caution (I hope) to get back to full operations. Breweries that have avoided adaptation to COVID realities, and are trying to hold on until life is "back to normal," will struggle post-COVID.

In the meantime, I will continue to stay at home, wear my mask, seek four packs of World of Wonder, and mark time with what ever special IPA Societe decides to share with us. 

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