Will the craft 15-pack slow “Rotation Nation?”

I’ve been thinking about the 15-pack a lot lately as I work for a distributorship who didn’t have any craft beer options in this package configuration up until recently. I’ve had a thought, and am surprised I haven’t heard it from any other beer writer (well, none that I’ve seen yet): will the 15 pack help slow down “Rotation Nation?”

There’s a phrase that has been bouncing down brewery and distributor hallways for the last couple of years that you may have heard: “Rotation Nation.” It’s often said with a dejected sigh and it refers to the phenomenon where bars will buy only one or two kegs of a certain beer and then move on to the next. (Link to full column at the bottom.)

Founders “All Day” IPA 15pks of cans have been a phenomenon unto themselves since they were first released. In fact, it’s been so successful, the company claims this one beer has helped to fund a major brewery expansion. Other craft breweries have been scrambling to jump on the 15-pack bandwagon – or trying to start the craft 18-pack wave.

These packages offer significant savings to the consumer and that’s likely what is driving the categories rocket-like growth. But breweries are going to struggle with the reduced margins and some think it will be a race to the bottom.

The one positive spin I see for breweries is that 15-packs will likely help to slow the breakneck speed of “Rotation Nation.”

As beer drinkers start to take advantage of the price savings of grabbing a 15-pack, I think they may become more accustomed to drinking the same beer more regularly. I mean, shoot! — you’re gonna have 15 of the same beer in your fridge! It’s hard to fit in more variety (unless you have a dedicated beer fridge, as I know some of you do). Breweries may start to gain more brand loyalty as drinkers pump the brakes on rotation nation and reach for 15-packs.

To read my whole column on the subject, hop over to the Burlington Free Press online edition.

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