The craft beer movement has exploded. So much so that last year the craft movement overtook the beer giant Budweiser who , just 10 years ago, was selling over 30 million barrels while craft, as a whole, was coming in at about 5 million. Since then Budweiser has been on a steep decline and in 2013 it sold only 16 million barrels of beer while the craft segment sold 16.1 million. The craft beer segment has been a driving and dynamic force behind experimentation and innovation in the beer category and specialty shops have been popping up all over the place both online and off. Which is great, but what about craft spirits?
Enter Ezra’s (http://www.ezras.com/), an online marketplace for craft spirits. On their site Ezra’s curates a large list of spirits, bitters and mixers made primarily by the little guys like Corsair, Balcones, St. George, FEW, Koval, etc. with a peppering of offerings from some of the big guys. Though when the bigger guys do show up it’s typically their smaller (“small batch”) stuff like Basil Hayden.
So how did Ezra’s come to be? Well, take a look at this:
Ezra’s founders noticed that there was a major discrepancy in the beer choices and spirits choices their friends made. While they sought out craft brews – they still were accustomed to ordering Jack Daniels or Maker’s Mark. Parker and his co-founders, brother Adam Newman and childhood friend Scott Reich started to look around and found all these awesome craft distilleries in their backyard – such as Few Spirits, Letherbee and Journeyman. So they decided to create a website that not only sold all these awesome spirits, but helped educate consumers on the people behind them.
Ezra’s has launched with about 100 different products ranging from bourbon to gin and is looking to continue to grow its product offerings by opening an outpost in DC.
It’s an interesting project and taking a look through their inventory the prices are decent and I hope they do well. It’s a great idea to give the little guys a bigger stage because some of them are putting out some really good stuff. Craft spirits are currently a small segment of the market, but with how quickly it’s growing we’re in for some big changes in the spirits ecosystem over the next few years and it’s going to be exciting to see. If the craft beer movement has taught us anything it’s that diversification and innovation is great for the industry as a whole.