I know this may be disheartening to some of the macro breweries – aka major labels – out there, but the fight is over. Craft beer has won. One particular mass brewer, who shall remain nameless, still continues to bash craft beer. Ironic, considering they continue to buy up or co-opt every craft brewery they can get their hands on. Either they don’t believe their own advertising or they’re really conflicted about their brand and realize that it’s good business to bring in reinforcements who are still well-loved by the defenders of the faith – i.e. the craft beer consumers. So why bash craft beer? Why not embrace it and try it yourself? Is that what they are afraid of? The fact of the matter is this – no matter how much the big boys don’t want to admit it, craft beer is here to stay.
According to BrewersAssocation.org, in 2013 overall beer sales was down nearly 2% from the year before. However, craft beer sales skyrocketed over 17% higher than the previous year. Import beers were down 0.6% but the exportation of craft beer was up a whopping 49%. The overall beer market is a $100 billion dollar industry. Craft beer makes up for $14.3 billion of that. In 2013, the home brewing industry also saw a rise. Home brew sales revenues increased 26% from the year before based on a survey of 275 home brew shops in 47 states (an increase of 32% from the year before.) More people than ever before have decided that the beer making hobby is one that actually pays dividends – people get to reap what they sow, and many a home brewer eventually graduates to microbrewery or even craft brewery level.
What does all this mean? It means that people want more than yellow fizzy water. They want flavor, they want more than what the newest low carb adjunct lager can provide. It also means that if the big boys really want to compete in the global beer market, they either have to change their business practices or buy out their competitors. Oh wait, that’s already been done. Once again, craft beer is proving to be the perpetual thorn in the side of major label mass production breweries. I’ll drink to that. Cheers!