A Look Back on the Best Beverage Moments & Most Important Trends in 2021

And just like that, 2021 bites the dust. Which is…bittersweet?

This year was arguably much more of a roller coaster than 2020. The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine was a marvel of modern medicine that granted us much needed hope and an almost normal summer that, while the total freedom didn’t last, was certainly a well deserved and appreciated break. Fall and winter have brought more pandemic problems and stress, but with lots of precautions and vigilance, many of us are able to do more visiting loved ones and careful traveling than in 2020. In other words, it’s been better, but it’s also been tough. 2021 was a mixed bag, and we just want to say, cheers to you for making it through! And thank you, like seriously, thank you for doing it with TapRm by your side. We sure hope we were able to provide you with some fun, some comforting favorites, some new thrills to discover, and the liquid accompaniment to friend hangs and memorable experiences.

With that sentiment in mind, we’re looking back on 2021. Because if anything, it was a wild ride, right? Even if we’re just looking at the beverage world. Breweries, brands, bars pulled off amazing feats and survived, even innovated, against all odds. Some trends died, and others were born. Entirely new beverage categories took off, and some classics reignited. Keeping all this in mind, we’re talking to some of our favorite brewers and brands, and combing through our own memory banks, to sum up 2021 in drinks.

 

James Crooks, VP of Sales & Marketing at Narragansett Brewing Co.

“The big trend for us was the growth of 12-packs,” Narragansett VP of Sales & Marketing James says. “We have always been a 16 oz. can/six-pack brand, but during COVID in 2020 our 30-packs took off as people were pantry loading. That tapered off in '21 a bit, but many consumers settled in at the 12-pack level...perhaps appreciating the 12 oz. can size, but wanting a more conveniently sized package.” 

This year definitely brought with it some more variety in packaging options, which is good news for everyone. That means whether you prefer to buy in bulk, try smaller quantities before you commit, go for bigger or smaller servings--whatever your preference, there’s something for you.

 

Tara Hankinson, Co-Founder of TALEA Beer Co. & Morgan McLachlan, Co-Founder, Chief Product Officer, & Master Distiller at AMASS

Both TALEA co-founder Tara and AMASS co-founder Morgan are excited about the swell of actually good, thoughtfully made options in the non-alcoholic category. Tara has been glad to see “More high quality non-alcoholic options that are readily available like Al's Non-Alcoholic Pilsner and Ghia [non-alcoholic aperitifs].”

“The non-alcoholic category has finally had its moment this past year, which I’m thrilled by,” Morgan echoes. The sheer range of options that has started to proliferate is promising and valuable to everyone from those who aren’t drinking alcohol for health reasons to those who just want to take a break.

 

John Ross Cocozza, Founder & President of Ross Brewing 

“The dumping of millions of cases of Truly hard seltzer by Boston Beer Company, and the persistent shortages of aluminum for cans, easily tell the story of 2021 as far as we're concerned, though neither has us particularly excited,” Ross Brewing founder John says. “What IS exciting in craft beverage is the rise of e-commerce, and the accessibility to so much amazing beer for so many that in the very recent past would have had no way to get their hands on these kinds of beers. And leading the way in all of that is TapRm. We are constantly proud and honored to be working with such a forward-thinking and innovative business partner, and are excited for Ross fans around the country to be able to get their hands on some of our most popular beers soon, thanks to the progress TapRm is making in the craft beverage e-commerce arena.”

Aw, shucks, thanks, John! Only seeing growth in the amount of and diversity in beverages we’re able to get into more hands is definitely one of our favorite things about 2021, too.

 

Victoria Schnauder, Brand Activation Manager at New Belgium Brewing Company

“I think the most exciting moment for me was when New Belgium welcomed Bell's Brewery to our craft beer family,” says New Belgium’s Victoria when reflecting on 2021. This was without a doubt one of the year’s biggest beer stories. Two titans unite--the possibilities are endless.

New Belgium and Bell’s are two of American craft beer’s trailblazers, continuing to delight imbibers with some of the country’s best brews. While this move of course signals big changes that some may still be adjusting to, it stands to deliver even more innovation and even more guaranteed, high quality.

 

Jon Moore, Co-Founder of Loyal Brands Gay Beer

“I think the canned cocktail is an exciting market,” says Gay Beer co-founder Jon. Exciting, indeed--in 2021, we’ve seen not only growth and forecasts for even more growth, but we’ve also seen tons of cool brands grow their portfolios and enter the scene all together, expanding on the range of tasty, ready-to-drink cocktails.

“Alongside Gay Beer, we have noticed other brands offering more diverse and inclusive varieties supporting the LGBTQ+ community,” Jon adds. We certainly hope each year, we see more and more brands putting a real focus on representation and inclusion. With brands like Dyke Beer, growing the community along with Gay Beer, the future looks bright.

 

Robby Willey, Co-Founder of The Virginia Beer Company

For Virginia Beer Company co-founder Robby, 2021 was a time of challenges, but some that created opportunity. VBC, as well as many other craft breweries, increased their distribution operations, explored new products and processes, and added emphasis on quality control.

“We've always dedicated a lot of time and resources to our lab and QC processes, since our brewmaster came from a much larger brewery than the one we initially opened in 2016. As we've grown and our distribution footprint has grown, so has our need to ensure a more built-out lab and broader QC combination that guarantees the best possible drinking experience wherever in the world you enjoy our beers. 

“When everyone was in lockdown mode, it seemed that many more breweries shifted to more can/bottle offerings and expanded their distribution and delivery footprints if they could. I think this led to a lot of focus in bringing lab and QC specs into the forefront of a brewery's daily priorities regardless or the size, and hopefully that's led to more shelf-stable beer and better drinking experiences for all this year.”

 

Dimitri Yogaratnam, CEO of Oslo Brewing Company

And for Oslo Brewing’s Dimitri, it was just that--getting to put beer in customers’ hands amid and after so many major obstacles created by the pandemic--that made 2021 meaningful and memorable.

“For us, selling kegs again when places opened back up was the best feeling ever. We were so happy to see our most important/fun customers get back on their feet. Taking care of them and seeing their strength this year was something we all should pay attention to.”

 

The Entire TapRm Team

TapRm, itself, saw some really exciting changes and updates in 2021, all building toward our ultimate goal: bringing more incredible, innovative, high-quality, creative, delicious, game-changing, classic beverages from more inspiring, diverse, brilliant brands to more of you. The victories of 2021 are building toward an even bigger 2022, and so on.

TapRm Ranks 108 on the 2021 Inc. 5000

Business authority Inc. Magazine ranks the fastest-growing private companies in America each year, and this year, TapRm is thrilled to come in at number 108. Not only is this list a prestigious recognition of both accomplishments so far and promise to come, but it both cements and broadcasts TapRm’s status as a mover and shaker. The fact that TapRm made the list only three years into our existence? Well, hey, we’re pretty proud. 

“We are honored to be recognized for our ability to lead the alcohol category in growth during one of the most tumultuous years,” says our CEO Jason Sherman. “For me the best thing about winning the award is the well-deserved recognition each TapRm team-member, supporter, and partner receives today for hard work that went into this achievement. Thanks to everyone for helping us reach this major milestone.” 

TapRm Tested Robots for Contactless Delivery

The future is here and it brought beer! To kick off 2021, we started the year by becoming the “first online beer platform in the U.S. to pilot a program of autonomous delivery with the use of robots,” writes Craft Brewing Business. These wheeled bots can carry up to 36 beers and run on sidewalks up to 4.5 miles per hour. So far, they were still making people’s day with beer deliveries under (human!) supervision, but steps are being made toward this great, efficient, and safe option that’s perfect for our current pandemic era. This delivery method also represents TapRm’s commitment to working with cutting edge technology to make beverage delivery an optimal experience for all involved.

TapRm Expanded Delivery to 32 States

It makes sense that since our biggest goal is growing and getting more beverages in more hands, the most exciting update for 2021 is that we expanded delivery to 32 states! We are hopping, skipping, and jumping closer and closer to being America’s source for everyone’s favorite beers, hard seltzers, and more, brought right to their doorsteps. Drinks from over 200 brands, available in 32 states. 

In many of these places, shipments reach TapRm customers in one to five days. And in New York, Philadelphia, Denver, and Atlanta, you can get same-day delivery. And you know we have more cities on the way. Reaching more places across the map was our proudest moment of 2021, and continuing on that path is the thing we’re looking forward to the most about 2022. Stay tuned for updates, as well as ways to get to know the beverage scenes in TapRM cities.

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