It was with some sadness that I read a message in my Facebook Feed that announced the closure of Merchant Brewing Co. Whilst the craft brewing scene is one of bonhomie and positivity, it must be bloody hard. The trajectory still seems to be north. After all, according to Craft Beer Reviewer 52 breweries have opened in 2018 and only 6 have closed. What has surprised me is three of the six that have closed, I would regard as being respected and appeared successful.
Earl Pear – Merchant’s star beer – is quite famous. I saw Barrow Boy’s Pedlar Pale on a beer list last week in Melbourne and I thought they had managed good penetration. And the saddest for this blog – HopDog Beerworks made any south coast even more worthwhile. We are also saddened by Merchant Brewing’s closure given a strong shared interest by this blog and Merchant’s owners in the Sloth as evidenced by this article.
Sadly, I now have a new category in my beer t-shirt collection which is the “closed brewery” category. I really hope it doesn’t grow – but given how tough it is out there and the increased penetration of big boy owned brands like 4 Pines and Pirate Life (both on at the macro loving Ivanhoe sports bar) – I can’t help but predict that the pile will grow.