ATLANTA (AP) -- Microbrewer Crawford Moran started Atlanta's Dogwood Brewing Co. in 1996 because he loved beer.But the end of the microbrew boom and mounting bills are forcing him to shut down."As good as our beer is and as strong as our reputation is, it just wasn't enough," Moran said. "And at the end of the day, we have to pay the bills and try to make an honest living."Moran blames his brewery's demise on a lukewarm beer market, Georgia's regulatory environment and a lack of startup capital.The company had revenue of $500,000 last year. He founded the company with $750,000, which he now acknowledges isn't enough for such an expensive business."To put it simply, we just couldn't make ends meet," Moran said.Microbreweries have suffered because tastes have turned more toward wine and spirits, said Michael Bellas, chief executive at Beverage Marketing Corp., a consulting firm. Cosmopolitans,apple-tinis and mojitos are hipper than beer, and the quality of cheap wine has improved, he said."Beer, especially microbreweries, have had a hard time," Bellas said.Microbreweries flooded the market in the mid-1990s when they were a popular pick with investors, said Paul Gatza, director ofthe Association of Brewers in Boulder, Colo. The number of closures peaked in 1998."Some of the bloom fell off the rose in the terms of craft beer," Moran said. "There have been a lot of casualties, including us."The state of Georgia made the business even more treacherous because manufacturers can't sell directly to consumers in a retail setting. They must go through a distributor, so Moran couldn't sell cases of Dogwood Pale Ale out of his warehouse.Dogwood's beers were sold throughout Georgia, the Carolinas and Chattanooga.But while Dogwood is closing its doors, Atlanta-based Sweetwater Brewing Co. is growing. Owner Freddy Bench expects to sell 18,000 barrels of beer this year, up from 14,500 last year.The beer business "is glamorous and sexy and fun, but it is a dogfight," Bench said.
Georgia Brewery Closing
ATLANTA (AP) -- Microbrewer Crawford Moran started Atlanta's Dogwood Brewing Co. in 1996 because he loved beer, but the end of the microbrew boom and mounting bills are forcing hun to shut down.