A recent op-ed piece by Chairman of the Boston Beer Company (which produces Samuel Adams) Jim Koch titled Is It Last Call for Craft Beer? has caused quite a stir on the beer scene. It's also caused many to wonder whether the craft beer revolution is over. Koch stated, "I worry that yet another major shift in the beer landscape is upon us — and this time, American consumers will be the losers." Koch cited the negative effects that big beer mergers have had on the industry, including increasing prices $2 billion annually, job loss in the thousands, and a more difficult journey through wholesale channels for craft breweries.
In 2016, the Brewers Association reported that volume increased only 6% for the craft beer industry, compared to double-digit annual growth in previous years. This is is large part due to big beer manufacturers swallowing up smaller craft breweries through acquisitions. When companies like AB InBev or Molson Coors purchase budding breweries (the likes of Elysian, Ballast Point, Goose Island, etc.) the sales are no longer considered "craft." So all in all, the numbers can be misleading, as craft beer sales do continue to grow, they're just recognized differently.
Where do you stand on the issue? Do you support big beer and their acquisitions of smaller up-start breweries? Or, do you side with smaller breweries that look to remain independent and operate in the craft space? Let us know in the comments @haveanight!