The DC-Beer e-mail list has been chattering with a discussion of "new" beers in the DC market for 2009, and a few discussions about possible new ones for 2010. Remember, this is Washington, DC, and by extension suburban Virginia and Maryland:
Terrapin [ironically, was contracted in Maryland until recently--and not related to U. of Md.]
Bruery [Available in Baltimore]
21st Amendment ([also in Baltimore]
Stoudt's [disappeared for a while, seems to be back]
Possible/desired new entries for 2010:
Lost Abbey/Port Brewing
Russian River [available in Philly]
Now comes the delicate question: With such a rich diversity of beer brands and quality available here, do we really need to see more beers here? Is bringing in New Belgium, for example, worth probably losing shelf space for, oh, I don't know, The Bruery, Great Divide, or Avery? Is Lost Abbey or Port worth losing Lagunitas or Stone, or several of the Belgians? Because face facts, folks, there's only so many craft beer dollars to be had, absent some "benevolent dictator" outlawing industrial-scale lagers like Bud, Miller, and Coors. There are times when I truly feel bad that I'm passing up, say, a terrific Avery or Brooklyn or Oskar Blues or Otter Creek or Allagash beer in favor of something just a little bit more special, distinctive, local, or oddball. Beers are only worth the trouble of shipping, making distribution arrangements, etc. if they can get repeat customers, not just "okay, check that off my list" samplers.
Beside which, isn't there good reason to keep even the best beers local? Shouldn't I have good reason to look forward to visiting a beer bar in California, Colorado, Chicago, or Casablanca? The last thing I want is what I had happen during my last visit to Arizona, where the bar was ever so proud to show off their newly-acquired Dogfish Head beers (and I was wearing a Dogfish Head belt buckle!), and I had to get them to pull out the local stuff from the far corners........... including, of course, Lost Abbey Ten Commandments......