I had a couple of funny number experiences the last few days. You think that mostly happens to mathematicians or astrophysicists or something (Hey Bob, we missed the planet. Did you use kilometers or miles in your calculations?), but it happens to beer guys also.
The first one involved this dear little blog. I was recapping the growth of our brewery from February to May and mentioned that our blog numbers (along with Facebook and Twitter) were slowing growing alongside the sales of kegs. I rattled off the approximate number of pageviews for each of the last four months and the response was "that's great, that's per day?" Uh, no, per month.
It was at this point I realized I was sitting at a table with three people who actually deal with "real" website traffic.
I had a similar experience when I received a copy of the Washington State Liquor Control Board report for March showing the amount of beer created (or taxed) by Washington breweries and the amount imported by non-Washington breweries. It was interesting to take a stroll through the list. I came away with the same feeling I do when I look at our pageviews, we are small but mighty. We are tiny, even by the standards of the state, not to mention the nation, but we have come from almost nowhere to at least being on the lists and growing each month. It's a good feeling.
The other good feeling is looking at the abundance of small breweries versus the mega-monolith-globo-concerns. Two things jumped out. First, the amount the big guys bring into this state is staggering. The company identified as Anheuser-Busch (which I assume includes lots of brands and companies) imported around 97,000 barrels of beer into Washington in March. That's equal to 194,000 kegs of beer. Not surprisingly, all of the Washington and non-Washington breweries together didn't make or import nearly that amount; not anywhere close. The second thing that jumped out is that the big guy number is dropping on a year-over-year basis; in other words, they are importing less beer this year than last.
The good news is that means we have a long way to grow as an microbrew industry if people continue to move from the big guys to the small guys. That is not only good for people who liking drinking beer with more body and more flavor, but it is also hugely significant for our local economies. I realize this is a fantasy, but if you moved every Bud drinker to a local drinker in one magic moment, the number of jobs created in Washington State would BOOM.
I think I will ponder that tonight as I go to sleep. I'm sure it will bring happy dreams.