Consumption is a bad word even though we all do it and we all must do it. The free market is based on aggregation of single decisions into total consumer demand yet, in the world of good beer, these choices are little discussed. It is often discussed in supply side terms. I don't see it that way. I think this article in the Irish Independent.ie has it just about right:
The country's real ale fans represent the perfect example of how greater consumer awareness can revitalise a struggling industry, say economists. Equally, the ever-growing number of microbreweries satisfying their demanding palates offers hope for the UK's small businesses. Experts at Nottingham University Business School came up with the findings after examining the history of brewing in England. They believe the industry's rebirth in the wake of the Campaign for Real Ale's founding in 1971 has implications for much of the UK economy.
No clients? No brewery. No taste for new beer, no risk taking at the check out? No craft beer revolution. Which is why every time I hear about another allegedly rock star status brewer or one more "we are the leaders" craft brewing association video, I wonder why they forget the most important two words in the whole deal - thank you. I also wonder why good beer drinkers in North American can't get their purchasing power together and achieve the success in the marketplace that CAMRA has.