Sunday, August 2, 2020

Ten years ago today: One beer writer's retrospective, penned amid a pandemic

Source: Individual research.

Ten years ago today, I started writing about craft beer. And my, how things have changed.

Who could have imagined we'd be in the situation we are now, where breweries are hanging on day-to-day and we have no idea what rule changes the next hour may bring? Indeed, there's a lot of uncertainty going forward because of the pandemic, but for posterity's sake let's look back on the last ten years for maybe a minute or two.

Ten years ago today, there were nine brewing operations in North Texas, with roughly another dozen or so in planning around the entire state. Today, we have 84 active brewing companies with more than 30 new projects being developed in North Texas alone.

Ten years ago today, there were no brewery taprooms. Drinking beer at a brewery meant taking a tour, enjoying a few samples and getting some glassware to take home. And beer to-go? That was a no-no until late last year. Today, taprooms are rampant, though breweries have had to alter operations temporarily because of current conditions. And beer to-go? It's a go, and thank goodness, because it's been key in keeping our beloved breweries afloat.

Ten years ago today, the local panorama of pubs serving something other than imports was a tad bit limited. We had established locations of the Flying Saucer, Ginger Man and Londoner (various locations have opened and closed for all three), along with a trio of newcomers all less than a year old: The Common Table Uptown (gone, but not forgotten), Holy Grail Pub and Meddlesome Moth. Today you can drink beer in a plethora of pubs, restaurants and even grocery stores if the mood strikes...and daily mandates allow.

Ten years ago today, we mostly drank beer out of bottles. No local breweries canned their beers, and there was no such thing as a crowler. We had growlers, but only at brewpubs, as the growler shop was a non-entity. Today, dozens of growler shops fill jugs and seam crowlers on a daily basis. The only issue there being a looming can shortage, once again due to that whole ongoing pandemic thing.

Ten years ago today, things weren't great, but they were surely getting better. Since August 2, 2010, I've covered the debut of 100 brewing companies and 25 closures, not to mention the comings and goings of countless numbers of pubs, restaurants, events and other supportive projects.

And yet today, despite all of the growth, things aren't great again, all because of an invisible enemy.

But we hope they will get better.

Do what you can to support your local pubs, restaurants and breweries, so we have more good than bad to talk about in another ten years time.

Cheers, stay well and #SaveTexasBreweries!

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