An excellent set of observations by Velky Al over at Fuggled on the somewhat sudden trend for east coast production facilities for west coast US national craft:
I can't help but think that this is the first stage in the consolidation of the craft brewing industry, where the bigger companies start to force their way into markets by opening brewing facilities in various parts of the country. While we will see more and more Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and Oskar Blues beers in the supermarket aisles, we will see fewer local brews except at specialty outlets like Beer Run here in Charlottesville.
We like to think that craft brewers are elf like trustees of a big pot of goodness that can't be quite described but pervades to the point we might seem to anthropomorphize. But they are businesses and as more join the ranks of national craft, the risk to actual local craft brewers is obvious. It's been around for a while, of course. Redhook and its assignees has been up to this for years but we are looking at a real leap in the concept with left of the Mississippi brewers Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues and New Belgium all moving into North Carolina. Does this create a conceptual separation in US craft between local beer and indigenous beer? In the world of global craft, isn't the idea of indigenous beer just a wee bit silly? More to the point, what will Sierra Nevada be that far from the Sierra Nevadas?