I do not know what it is like in other cities, but I know Chicago.  Up until a few years ago Hopleaf and Map Room were your beer bars, and Goose Island was your local brewpub & brewery.  This is changing.  More and more places are offering at least 20 beers which means no matter where you go you have options.  Even more bars are moving into the 100+ beers range.

Do I think this spells doom for some of the beer geeks old standbys?  No.  However, I do think some of these businesses might need to realize the situation is changing.  No longer can you count on your bar as the only place to drink certain beers, and your restaurant the only one with recommended beer pairings.

Some of these old guard establishments need to look at their situation and see what is in their future.  Hopleaf, which I feel has a less than friendly staff when packed is expanding.  Also, for the first time Hopleaf plans to offer lunch.  I think both of these moves may reduce strain on the staff increasing customer satisfaction.  I hear they will be steadfast in their no kid policy, but like I said in my previous writing that is neither here nor there.

Goose Island will likely shutter both their brewpubs over the next few years.  Customers no longer need to come in from the suburbs to drink local beer.  They have even more local beer with brewpubs sprouting up all over the suburbs and several new options within Chicago as well.  I do not think Goose has an option to save themselves.  The quality of the beer at the brewpubs went from “excellent” to “ok” and we all know there are plenty of “ok” beers out there.

At the end of the day the market is changing, and the Old Guard can either change and adapt or go the way of the mastodon.  Some will, some won’t, but it will be a fun ride to watch.


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