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*Me:* Valentine’s Day Is A Scam *Also Me:* MY DOG IS MY VALENTINE

*Me:* Valentine’s Day Is A Scam *Also Me:* MY DOG IS MY VALENTINE

It happens to all of us: it’s the middle of January and you’re walking in the grocery, the whispers of those warm holiday feelings still float around in your head. You turn the corner and BAM! There’s an aisle of bright red lovey-dovey cards, candy hearts, and saccharine messages attacking you, telling you how you should spend all your money to celebrate this holiday dedicated to love.

We can all agree. Valentine’s Day is bull💩.

UNLESS!

You throw an event that covers your company HQ in dog 💩.

Last week we went tennis-balls-to-the-walls on celebrating the concept of “My Dog Is My Valentine” when we invited 56 French Bulldogs, the most romantic (and gassy) pups of all, to our offices to have a Frenchie Kissing Valentine’s Day Party.

For one night, these 56 frog dogs showed off their snog skills and enjoyed luxuries like:

Haute cuisine…

Custom artwork…

Personalized Poetry…

And the Valentine’s BarkBox.

So why did we do this?

*We think* that if Valentine’s Day was all about celebrating these snout-kissing + fart-filled love affairs we have with our doggos, then maybe it wouldn’t be so annoying?

We did a dog parent survey a while back and found that 93% of dog parents say that their dog has made them a better person, and 7 in 10 said that their dog made them a happier person. We’ve all heard that *other* survey conducted by SunTrust Mortgage that found 33 percent of millennial home buyers’ decision to buy a home was driven chiefly by their dog. Dogs are clearly more a part of our families than ever before. We have a special connection with these furry dumplings and it is so much fun to celebrate that bond.

When dogs matter this much, it doesn’t matter that Valentine’s Day is a scam when you get to spend it with your favorite gassy little scamp.

***Looking for a Valentine’s gift to blow your pup’s mind? Spoil them with a BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Our treats are made in the USA and Canada, and our recipes never contain any wheat, soy, or corn. Because we want #BarkBoxDay to be incredible for pups AND their parents, every box is wrapped in a fun surprise theme that changes monthly. Sign up here and your first BarkBox will be the limited-edition Valentine’s box!. <-- We don't have many left of this box so order quickly! :)

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All photos of the Frenchie party by Lauren Holle!

The post *Me:* Valentine’s Day Is A Scam *Also Me:* MY DOG IS MY VALENTINE appeared first on BarkPost.

Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?

Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?

To the dismay of many food-crazed canines, it’s best to limit the amount of human food we feed our dogs. However, a table scrap here and there won’t be the end of the world. We know it takes Hulk-like strength to resist those puppy dog eyes! Yet, it’s extremely important to be mindful of which foods are compatible with doggy digestive systems.

Can Dogs Eat Lettuce?

Did your New Year’s resolution consist of swapping pizza and burgers for salads and lettuce wraps? Or, is your pup getting a little too “fluffy” and in need of a health kick? If so, you may be wondering whether your dog can safely eat lettuce.

Well, lettuce answer your burning question: yes, lettuce is safe for dogs to consume! Lettuce does not have any components that can seriously harm your pup. Therefore, lettuce is a safe option for canine cuisine.

Is Lettuce Good For Dogs?

BarkShop treat dogs

Most types of lettuce contain vitamins A and C (the exact nutritional value depends on the lettuce variety). However, lettuce is approximately 90% water, so the nutritional content and health benefits are quite minimal. This is especially true of the water-rich iceberg lettuce.

While lettuce’s high water content doesn’t make it the most vitamin-rich snack, it provides a hydrating and refreshing treat alternative for your pup! Lettuce is perfect snack after long runs or during the dog days of summer. Plus, it adds a satisfying crunch that your dog may love! And, because it is mostly water, lettuce is a very low-calorie snack. So, this is a great treat option for plump pups.

Lettuce is also a yummy source of fiber! Due to its considerable water and fiber content, lettuce can ease constipation. Fiber also aids the good bacteria in the bowel, which promotes healthy immune and digestive systems.

Are There Health Risks For Dogs Eating Lettuce?

Like most things in life, lettuce is only healthy in moderation. Because lettuce is rich in fiber and water, an excess amount can lead to loose stool or diarrhea in your dog. That’s no fun for you or your pup! Preparation is also key in protecting your dog’s health. In light of recalls concerning E. coli and listeria in lettuce, it’s important to thoroughly wash lettuce before feeding time. Also, a big leaf is often difficult for dogs to chew and digest. So lettuce should be chopped into small pieces before feeding it to your dog.

Just because your dog can eat lettuce doesn’t mean you should train them to finish your salad when no one’s looking! Salads often contain ingredients that are less dog-friendly or even toxic, like onions, garlic (or garlic powder), and grapes. So it’s helpful to consider every salad and dressing ingredient before “accidentally” spilling your salad onto the floor in front of your pup.

What Are Other Healthy Treat Options?

Dog eating dog treats

Sometimes lettuce isn’t the most enticing treat. While we humans can drown lettuce in dressing, dogs do not have that luxury (dressing ingredients are not always dog-friendly). So, what are some healthy, all-natural, dog-safe treat alternatives ?

Dog treats, of course!

For instance, BARK makes a line of low-calorie, drool-worthy dog treats. These tasty morsels consist of all-natural ingredients and are free of fillers like wheat, corn, and soy. Your dogs will love their mouth-watering, savory flavors. And you’ll love their adorable designs, like Barklyn Bacon Bagels. Plus, being healthy doesn’t have to break the bank – these bags of healthy treats are available for only $5 each! Who knew steak, roasted duck, and bacon could be low-cost and low-calorie!?

Don’t Forget About BarkBox!

If you’re looking to really treat your dog, consider getting BarkBox! BarkBox is a subscription service that provides a curated collection of dog goodies each month, which includes unique toys and 2 bags of all-natural treats. Plus, every collection is designed around a cute and creative theme! What’s not to love?

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Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?

Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?

It’s common for dogs to want to eat practically everything in sight – kibble, treats, your dinner – but there are some things they should stay away from, too. Most people know about the dangers of a dog eating a pound of chocolate, but what about other common foods? Like, say, blueberries?

So Can Dogs Eat Blueberries Or What?

Yes, absolutely, 100%!

Italian Greyhound

Unlike other common fruits that are toxic or harmful to dogs (stay away from grapes and cherries!), blueberries are not just okay for dogs to eat, they’re actually healthy for them, too. If you’re lucky enough to have a pooch who’s interested in fruits and vegetables, enjoy as you open your dog’s world to a treat that’s healthy as well as delicious.

Blueberry Health Benefits For Dogs

Blueberries are a low-calorie treat for dogs that are filled with vitamins and nutrients, all of which are great for your pooch. These berries are packed with vitamins C and K, as well as fiber, which are all crucial to a dog’s health. They also feature high levels of antioxidants. Studies show that blueberries fight free radicals in the air, and that antioxidants help reduce the consequences of brain aging in dogs.

Holding a puppy

Free radicals have been shown to cause cell damage in dogs (humans, too), making antioxidants found in blueberries great for your dog’s health. Adding blueberries to your dog’s diet can help increase their nutrition and improve their overall health, so feel free to let them taste a few when you break out the carton for yourself.

You can use blueberries as training treats, pop a few into their kibble or mash them up to add to their bowl and mix them in with their regular meal.

Just Don’t Overdo It

So you’ve discovered the pup in your life loves blueberries – great! Before you let them take out an entire container, though, keep in mind that moderation is key. A dog’s diet shouldn’t be primarily made up of treats, even if they’re natural and healthy like blueberries. They may also give your dog digestive issues, so easy does it, especially right when you’ve found your dog loves blueberries.

White maltipoo

Every dog’s stomach reacts a bit differently to different kinds of food, so take it slowly. You don’t want to give your dog a stomach ache, even if they’re happy chowing down on a pile of blueberries.

Anything Else We Should Know About Blueberries?

Depending on where you live, blueberries can also be expensive, at least when you break down the price per carton. Prices are also dependent on when blueberries are in season. Go ahead and freeze some when you have fresh blueberries – they freeze and thaw easily, which means you can stock up when they’re in season or on sale.

Puppy chewing on chew

You can also alternate these fresh berries with treats made especially for dogs, which can help deliver vitamins and nutrients to your dogs while you’re able to keep them stored in a pantry.

It’s always nice to mix things up, though. You can alternate blueberries with other safe foods like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and cranberries. Do your research before you pass your pup something from your fruit salad, of course, but it’s nice for dogs to experience something new every once in a while.

Don’t Forget About BarkBox!

Small dog with BarkBox

If you’re interested in spicing up your dog’s treat game, try out the BarkBox subscription. Each month, you’ll receive two bags of treats, so you and your dog will never be bored. That’s in addition to the toys you’ll receive with your monthly subscription.

If you find your dog gets bored of toys and treats quickly, this can be a great way to get them to eat and stay interested in their toys and food by changing things up.

And hey, throw them a blueberry every once in a while. They might just love it.

Featured image via Renee Johnson

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New Embroidered Dog Beds from Dusen Dusen

New Embroidered Dog Beds from Dusen Dusen

New Embroidered Dog Beds from Dusen Dusen

Perennial faves Dusen Dusen recently released two new dog beds — and we’re obsessed! Terra and Dot each feature bold embroidered patterns on a 100% cotton cover. Don’t have a dog? These 36×27 inch cushions can easily double as floor pillows. Check ’em out on dusendusen.com.

New Embroidered Dog Beds from Dusen Dusen

New Embroidered Dog Beds from Dusen Dusen

New Embroidered Dog Beds from Dusen Dusen


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© 2019 Dog Milk | Posted by capree in Beds + Furniture | Permalink | No comments

Does My Dog Need A Slow Feeder Bowl?

Does My Dog Need A Slow Feeder Bowl?

Does your dog morph into a canine version of The Flash when it’s feeding time? Do you ever worry your dog will choke because they seem to inhale, rather than chew, their food? Could your pup place gold in the speed-eating Olympics? Then your dog might benefit from a slow feeder bowl. These funky-looking contraptions are specifically engineered to do the seemingly impossible: slow down your dog’s eating.

Why Should My Dog Use A Slow Feeder?

Shiba Mix Eating BarkShop Dog Treats

While speed-eating itself isn’t major cause for concern, it can lead to a number of maladies that doting dog parents should be aware of.  These include:

  • Choking
  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal Discomfort
  • Bloat (potentially fatal)

Speed eaters often ingest air along with their food (aerophagia). The consequences of this can range from mild discomfort to fatality. Like in humans, swallowing excess air can lead to excess gas and stomach aches in pups. However, dogs have the unique risk of getting bloat. While bloat in humans may result in a temporary inability to squeeze into skinny jeans, the consequences for dogs are far more serious.
BarkShop treat dogs
Bloat (technically termed Gastric Dilation and Volvulus or GDV) is a fast-acting, life-threatening condition. This occurs when a dog’s stomach literally flips over, causing blockages to and from the stomach. Bloat typically results in a distended stomach, breathing issues, compromised blood flow, stomach rupture and other severe symptoms.

Though experts are still mystified by the exact cause of bloat, it is known that excess air in the stomach (typically caused by overly quick eating) is a common culprit. The risk is even greater in larger breeds, deep-chested breeds, and dogs who exercise immediately after eating. However, no dog is immune to bloat. Therefore, slow feeder bowls can protect your dog from thunderous flatulence and serious ailments. Plus, they can save you from constant worry!

In addition to the physical benefits, slow feeder bowls can make meals even more fun for your dog! I know what you’re thinking, “How on Earth could my cuisine-crazed canine enjoy feeding time more than she already does!?” Well, slow feeders are like dog-friendly puzzles. They transform meals into rewarding games. Wild dogs have to use problem-solving to get their meals. Slow feeder bowls can ignite your pup’s instincts (yes, even your couch potato pug) to use problem-solving in eating. So, slow feeders stimulate your dog’s brain and taste buds simultaneously!

How Do Slow Feeder Bowls Work?

What is a slow feeder bowl? How can this contraption help my dog? Glad you asked!

A slow feeder bowl is a feeding bowl designed with separations and obstructions so that your dog has to use more effort, precision, and time to complete their meal. It’s almost like a dog-friendly puzzle with the ultimate reward – food! Your dog has to take their time to scoop out food from every nook and cranny. Slow feeders come in a variety of shapes, designs, sizes, and materials. So there’s sure to be a slow feeder that’s a perfect match for your food-crazed Fido.

What Are The Best Slow Feeders?

There are a number of slow feeders on the market. It’s important to keep in mind material, difficulty, ease to clean, sturdiness, and size when picking the perfect feeder for your pup. For instance, consider whether you have enough time to hand-wash the bowl regularly or need a dishwasher-safe bowl, whether your dog is rough and likely to flip over a light-weight bowl, whether your dog has a snout too short to reach into deep grooves, and your dog’s chewing habits or dental issues when picking material. We’ve narrowed down slow feeder bowls that deserve two paws up!

Outward Hound Fun Feeder (Orange)

Outward Hound Fun Feeders are mega-popular for a reason! Their vibrant color assortment is for more than just aesthetic purposes. Each color version has a unique design that results in different levels of difficulty. The orange version’s spiral design is a maze of maximum difficulty. So, if your pup eats at an Olympic pace then this is the bowl for her! It’s also made of super sturdy material that can handle the roughest eaters. Plus, it’s top-rack dishwasher safe, so there’s no need to hand wash a slobber-and-kibble-covered bowl.

Purchase Outward Hound Fun Feeder’s Orange Version here!

Ethical Pet Slow Feeder

The Ethical Pet Slow Feeder is another option with raving reviews! It features the classic spiral made design that has been proven to promote slower eating. This feeder is particular great for medium and large dogs since it has a non-skid bottom that keeps the bowl upright and in place. It’s also dishwasher safe, so cleaning it is a breeze!

Purchase Ethical Pet Slow Feeder Dog Bowl here

Outward Hound Fun Feeder (Purple)

Would your pup place silver or bronze in a speed-eating contest? Does your foodie Fido have a low frustration tolerance? Then Outward Hound Fun Feeder’s purple version may be the perfect fit! This slow feeder’s maze is slightly easier to solve than its orange counterpart. So, it’s great for dogs with moderately fast eating habits or pups who aren’t so keen with puzzles. Plus, the purple model is made of the same dishwasher-safe and durable material as the orange model.

Purchase Outward Hound Fun Feeder’s Purple Version here!

Northmate Green Interactive Dog Feeder

Are traditional slow feeder mazes no match for your dog’s lightning-fast eating? Then Northmate Green Interactive Dog Feeder might do the trick! This slow feeder’s grass-like design will ignite your dog’s foraging instincts, making it more intuitive than eating from a plastic enigma. With this unique feeder, your dog will scavenge for food using her tongue to push kibble through blades of “grass.” And, unlike real grass, this feeder is extra durable and dishwasher safe.

Purchase Northmate Green Interactive Dog Feeder here!

Can You DIY A Slow Feeder for Dogs?

If you’re a Do-It-Yourself type, you’re in luck! Slowing your dog’s eating doesn’t necessarily require a fancy new feeder or a trip to the pet store. You can create your own contraption to promote slower eating habits.

This can be easily done with 3 materials: 2 differently-sized stainless steel feeding bowls and silicone sealant. Simply use the silicone sealant to secure the smaller bowl upside-down in the center of the larger bowl. Voila – you’ve created an obstruction in your dog’s feeding bowl that she will have to work around while eating. (Thank you for the inspiration, NoOrdinarySparrow!)

Another version includes two items you probably have laying around: a muffin tin and tennis balls. Come on, we know you only use that muffin tin when your in-laws come in town. This DIY slow feeder requires virtually no assembly. You just simply distribute your dog’s food into different sections of the muffin tin and cover one or two of the sections with tennis balls. (Shoutout to ThePennyHoarder for this creative solution!)

Promoting slower eating can reduce a number of health risks for your dog, ranging from stinky toots to severe stomach and intestinal conditions. While slowing your food-crazed Fido during feeding time seems like an impossibility, it doesn’t have to be! With these tips and suggestions, you can transform your dog’s eating pace from Hunger Games starvation to leisurely afternoon brunch.

The post Does My Dog Need A Slow Feeder Bowl? appeared first on BarkPost.

Why Do Dogs Get The Zoomies?

Why Do Dogs Get The Zoomies?

No matter how calm, relaxed, and “chill” your dog may be, chances are, they have their moments where they go absolutely bonkers. Running around in circles, jumping all over you, crashing into furniture—all of a sudden, they’ve got a Herculean burst of energy that displays itself in all sorts of crazy (but fun!) behaviors.

Dog owners have affectionately started to call this energetic phenomenon “the zoomies”—and while they can certainly be entertaining, they’re also a bit of a question mark for some dog owners.

So what’s the deal? Why do dogs get the zoomies? Are the zoomies normal? And how long do the zoomies last in dogs (and how can you calm your dog down if they get the zoomies at a not-so-great time, like right before bed)?

What Are The Zoomies?

Dogs With BarkBox Tug Toy

The technical term for the zoomies? Frenetic Random Activity Periods—also known as FRAPs. These periods are characterized by a sudden burst of energy that typically lasts a few minutes or less. FRAPs can happen anytime; when your dog is excited, when your dog is overwhelmed, when your dog is seemingly chill—anything goes.

Why Do Dogs Get The Zoomies?

Dog On A Walk

Professionals aren’t 100% sure why the zoomies happen. The most likely explanation? Just like humans, dogs can get a build-up of energy. The zoomies are their way of letting off steam and releasing that energy…in a really intense, zip back-and-forth kind of way.

Are The Zoomies Normal?

Yorkie Yorkshire Terrier Fetch Toy Best Balls Ever BarkShop

The most important thing to know about the zoomies? They’re completely normal. FRAPs occur with puppies and older dogs, large breeds and small breeds, excitable dogs and laid-back pups. If your dog gets a case of the zoomies, it’s nothing to be concerned about. In fact, quite the opposite! These bursts of energy are typically a sign your dog is happy and healthy. Your dog’s not going to run around like a crazy pup if they’re feeling sad or under the weather!

How Do You Calm Down A Dog With The Zoomies?

dog and man

The zoomies are totally normal—and, in the right circumstances, they can be pretty entertaining (who doesn’t love watching a dog run around in the backyard?!). But there may be times when the zoomies just aren’t convenient (like bedtime!) and you want to calm your dog down.

If your dog gets a case of the zoomies at a less-than-opportune time, there are a few steps you can take to calm them down:

  • Take your dog for a long walk. Remember, the zoomies are your dog’s way of burning excess energy. Taking them for a nice, long walk can help them get rid of some of that energy—and get their FRAPs under control. For an extreme case of the zoomies, try a run.
  • Don’t engage. If you want your dog to calm down, you need to give them the signal that it’s not play time. Don’t chase your dog, run around, or react to their overly energetic behavior; that may make them think it’s a game—and will make it much harder to calm them down.
  • Give your pup a calming supplement. IF your dog’s zoomies are stress-related (and this is a BIG IF), a calming supplement like CBD Extract/Treats or Calming Support can be just what you need to help your dog relax—and get their stress zoomies under control. Keep in mind, though, that all dogs get the zoomies, and they’re far more often a sign of happiness from your dog than stress!

The post Why Do Dogs Get The Zoomies? appeared first on BarkPost.

Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?

Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?

There’s no doubt about it—dogs like to eat. In fact, you’ve probably watched your dog eat their treats and food and wondered “where do you put it all?!”

But treats and food aren’t the only things your dog is eating. Chances are, you’ve probably caught your dog acting like a cow and munching on grass at least once or twice. And, as a result, you’ve probably said to yourself: “They’re not hungry—so why does my dog eat grass?”

So, what’s the deal here? Why do dogs eat grass? Is it a problem? And how can you get them to stop acting like a lawnmower and chowing down on the green stuff every time they walk across your yard?

Why Does Your Dog Eat Grass?

Yorkie In NYC

First things first—you give your dog plenty to eat. So why do they feel the need to eat grass?

The answer? It could be a lot of things. There are multiple reasons your dog might eat grass, including:

They Like The Taste!

The most simple reason your dog might be eating grass? Because they like the way it tastes!

Dogs are opportunists. If they have access to something they think might taste good, they’re going to eat it. And if it tastes good, they’re going to continue to eat it!

Grass might not sound like your idea of a five-star dish, but dogs have a completely different sense of taste. And to them, the grass on your neighbor’s front yard might taste like the ultimate delicacy.

They Evolved To Crave Grass

Another potential reason your dog can’t stop eating the green stuff has to do with evolution. Many animal experts believe that undomesticated dogs were omnivores—meaning they ate both meat and plant matter. As those dogs evolved into domesticated pets, they kept their desire for plants—which is why your dog feels compelled to munch on grass whenever they have the opportunity.

They’re Having Issues With Their Stomach

One major theory as to why dogs eat grass has to do with their stomach. Many canine experts theorize that dogs eat grass when they’re struggling with stomach discomfort or indigestion. The theory is your dog is eating grass as a way to make himself throw up—and therefore get rid of their stomach discomfort.

There’s not a ton of science to back up this claim, but if your dog is eating grass on a regular basis—and then throwing it right back up—it might be because their stomach feels unsettled.

Is Eating Grass Safe For Your Dog?

Dutch Shepherd

Clearly, there are plenty of reasons your dog may be eating grass. But the most important question is—is eating grass safe for your pup?

And the answer is yes, but make sure to keep an eye on them. While eating grass is a normal (and mostly harmless) dog behavior, you want to make sure your dog isn’t eating any grass that’s treated with potentially harmful chemicals.

You also want to keep an eye on how often your dog’s grass eating is making them sick. If your dog is regularly eating grass and vomiting, it could be the sign of gastrointestinal issues—and you’ll definitely want to get them checked out by your vet.

How To Get Your Dog To Stop Eating Grass

Samoyed

So, eating grass is, for the most part, harmless. But that doesn’t mean you want your dog to do it all the time!

If you want your dog to stop acting like a lawnmower, here are a few tricks to get them to stop eating grass:

  • Train them. Just like you’d train your dog to sit or stay, you can train your dog to stop eating grass. Next time you go for a walk, keep a bag of training treats in your pocket. If your dog tries to eat grass, redirect them and reward them with a treat when they stop munching on the lawn.
  • Play with them. Your dog might just be eating grass because he’s bored. If that’s the case, grab your fetch toys and play a game of fetch. If they’re playing with you, they won’t be bored—and they won’t be tempted to eat the grass out of boredom.
  • Keep yourself stocked with treats. One of the best ways to keep your dog from eating grass? Give them better tasting options! Having treats on hand is a great way to keep your dog’s tummy full—and keep them out of your grass. Want to make sure you always have a solid selection of treats on hand? Subscribe to BarkBox and get two bags of treats (plus toys and chews) delivered to your door each month!

The post Why Does My Dog Eat Grass? appeared first on BarkPost.

Is American Homebrewing Dying?

Is American Homebrewing Dying?

Brewing beer at home changed the course of my life. At first it was merely a fun way to explore my drink of choice, and an excuse to hang out with friends. As time passed it became a larger part of my life, a side-hustle, a reason to travel, altered who I am. I always hated public speaking… unit I figured out that I’m engaging when I care about the material. I was never passionate about reading, researching, and writing, until they meant I could learn to brew better beer and share my passion. I met many of my friends at homebrew club meetings, through this blog, and homebrewing forums. I worked a boring government desk job for 12 years, until brewing allowed me to open a business!

That’s why I’m sad that homebrewing is on the decline in America. I see it at DC Homebrewer’s meetings, where there aren’t nearly as many fresh faces as there were five years ago. The closures of retailers, like the recent announcement from Love2Brew. The surveys from the American Homebrewer’s Association gives hard numbers: from 1.2 million homebrewers in 2013, to 1.1 million in 2017.

Anecdotally over the last 30 years, American homebrewing has experienced three similar dips. Roughly the early-1990s, early-2000s, and the last few years. These coincide with three pivotal moments in commercial beer availability.

By the early 1990s most parts of the country had a selection of bottled craft beer from the likes of Sierra Nevada, Boston Beer, not to mention a few local breweries. No longer were beer drinkers limited to macro lagers and stale impotrs, because hoppy pale ales, malty browns, and roasty stouts were available coast-to-coast. I’ve met a few former homebrewers who thought that was enough selection to make homebrewing superfluous. There were still plenty of people who wanted to drink a wider range of styles though, and that still meant brewing their own.

A decade later with the opening and expansion of breweries like Allagash, Dogfish Head, New Belgium and hundreds more, the selection and availability of craft beer had exploded. You could find wit, kolsch, imperial stouts, apricot pale, IPA and a multitude more everywhere. Most cities had stores where you could pick from hundreds if not thousands of bottles. Again, some homebrewers didn’t see the need to keep brewing when they could drink a solid example of pretty much any style. Still though, many homebrewers wanted greater variety, unique flavors, and ultra-fresh beer.

Now we’re in another slide. With more than 6,000 breweries spread across the country, most Americans can take a short drive to visit a different brewery tasting rooms every week for a few months without repeating. Not only that, but the old model of four core beers, four seasonals, and a couple special releases is  gone. Many breweries are producing 50 or more beers each year. The variety is staggering, and again many former homebrewers are happy to reduce their risk/effort and sample as many new beers as they desire. Not only is homebrewing suffering, but so are many of the breweries from those previous waves… Smuttynose, Green Flash etc.

In the chart below, the red line represents Google searches for “Brewery” the blue is “Homebrewing.” December 2008 is the closest they have been (29 to 13), while July 2018 was the furthest (100 to 5). That’s to say that while search interest in breweries has more than tripled over the last ten years, during the same time interest in homebrewing has dropped in half.

Where does homebrewing go from here?

There have always been different types of homebrewers, different reasons they brew. There will always be homebrewers. Those who brew not to save money, or drink the “best” beer, but who love the process. Those who are passionate about recipe design, microbiology, botany, community. engineering, culinary techniques, and experimentation. For them craft beer is a source of inspiration, but not a replacement for the hobby!

I don’t view automated homebrewing systems as a threat to traditional homebrewing or a big boon for the hobby. If I hear one more new product that bills itself as the “Keurig” of beer… I’m going to lose it! It isn’t even like Keurig is synonymous with high quality coffee. I just don’t see any product that makes brewing that easy gaining a strong foothold because brewing beer involves more care than coffee and to-the-minute freshness isn’t as important. You can buy a six pack at the store for less than it takes to brew these, and enjoy a bottle each night. The automated systems will always make beer that isn’t as good as commercial, at a higher price-point. Not that automated wort production isn’t appealing (and useful) for homebrewers looking to devote less time to the process.

If this time is like the previous two lulls, homebrewing is due for another bounce. Maybe the continual push for novelty in craft brewing, extra-bold flavors, and lack of true originality turns people off. Lack of quality, high prices, poor quality control, beer that sits too long before being sold… honestly now that I know how good IPA tastes within a month of brewing, I rarely buy a six-pack off the shelf. Hopefully as more consumers become accustomed to really fresh beer at tasting rooms, they get interested in brewing it for themselves! Maybe the greater number of people drinking craft beer simply gets more people interested in brewing.

The second option is decline. As quality beer becomes more accessible the price will be pushed down, making it an even more attractive option for marginal-homebrewers. Homebrewing becomes an even more specialized/nerdy hobby, and we lose out on the vibrancy that new hobbyists bring.

My best guess is that we’re reaching stasis. There won’t be a return the levels of excitement and engagement we saw ten years ago. There will still be plenty of people who drink craft beer, and try their hand at homebrewing, but only enough to replace all of the homebrewers who stop to drink craft beer or join the industry.

Homebrewing Matters

Drinking beer wouldn’t have done the same thing for my life as homebrewing. An active engagement with brewing is the best way to really understand and appreciate beer. It caused me to learn and grow in areas that aren’t really connected to beer or brewing. I understand that drinking a beer and checking in on Untappd is no-risk (I wrote a couple hundred reviews on BeerAdvocate), but it doesn’t really lead to anything. Drinking beer is a diversion, brewing beer can change your life!