Richard teams up with DC Beer contributors Jacob Berg and Michael Stein to look back at the 2019 DC-area craft brewing scene and to speculate what’s to come in 2020. They say goodbye to a few cherished DC beer establishments, while also sharing optimistic outlooks for the continued growth of craft brewing in the region.
Casualties and Opportunities of the Changing DC Beer Market
2019 witnessed the closing of Meridian Pint and Mad Fox. These two brewpubs, which relied heavily upon “beer events” to generate revenue, struggled to compete against the influx of local craft breweries.
At the same time, there were a number of craft brewery openings in DC including Red Bear, Astro Lab, Valor, Silver Branch, Sapwood, which are already producing high-quality brews. Established breweries like District ChopHouse, Churchkey, The Sovereign, and DC Brau continue to make great beers.
The DC Beer team has also noticed that several breweries are beginning to produce more low-ABV/low-calorie beers (and even some Hard Seltzers) in an effort to meet customer demands and expand their customer bases.
The Year of Beer Collaborations
In 2019, DC Beer’s 10 Beers for 10 Years series featured a number of beer collaborations with local breweries, including the District ChopHouse Decade Dunkel, the Denizen Bock to the Future, and the Sapwood Cellars 3.8 Special Session IPA. DC Beer is currently collaborating with Right Proper and Black Brew Movement to create a peach-flavored Saison, which will be available in January 2020.
Richard promised that DC Beer will continue to partner with local breweries for more collaborations in the future. Stay tuned!
Expect More Excitement in 2020
The DC area will welcome some new breweries in 2020, including the City-State Brewing Co. In addition, Atlas Brewing and RAR are opening new sites in Navy Yard, while the Other Half is expanding into Ivy City.
After another successful SAVOR in May 2019, the annual beer event hosted by the Brewers Association will hold its May 2020 event at The Anthem in Southwest Waterfront. The DC Beer team believes that this location change will help to reinvigorate the event with an improved food selection.
Overall, the DC Beer team has a lot to be happy about in 2019, and is expecting big things as we approach 2020.