If there is "crafty" then one would expect there is also "smally" right? Apparently, the US lobby group the Brewers Association is out to prove just that with this weird blurt issued today. It's an argument made against the discussion about the implications of expanding craft brewery growth in the US which includes at its heart the following:
...First, let’s define a bubble. A bubble is a period of overinvestment where asset prices aren’t aligned with reality. In other words, people are betting on a future that won’t exist....What evidence is there that craft is in a similar situation; that brewers and investors are betting more than they should on a future that won’t exist? Before answering this question, we can compare the current growth in the number of breweries to a real bubble... This leads me directly to my second point: everyone should stop talking and/or worrying about the number of breweries.
Whatchamefunk?!?! What sort of argument is that? Define something to make it fit your needs. Pull out an unrelated illustration and then tell people to shut up. Brilliant. "Smally" thinking at its finest. See, what is really going on in the press release is another spin, another call to join in lock step to ensure there is one accepted view on craft beer. That of the trade association. Never mind if the substance of the position is right or wrong. The point is to be reminded to do as you are told. This is exactly what the small minded do.
So, what to do in light of this? Well because we are all about positivity around here, let's give the poor schlunks on the committee who approve this sort of thing a few helpful hints on making a more compelling argument:
=> Use relevant stats to bolster your argument like these: "Momentum began to pick up for the microbrewing phenomenon in the early- to mid-1990s with annual volume growth increasing from 35% in 1991 increasing each year to a high of 58% in 1995. Craft brewer volume growth slowed to between 1 and 5 % annually between 1997 and 2003. See, the neat thing is that these stats are from the same source and describe the bust in the 1990s... which was just a big slowing of volume growth. Not a retraction. Not a bubble burst at all. Hmm.
=> Have a point that is connected. Making promises like "...small changes in consumer behavior can dramatically re-shape the landscape of the American beer market..." or "...[s]helf-space can be expanded and distribution channels widened..." smacks of the sort of thing one expects from NeverLand PR departments, not economists. And the warning to retailers not to cap shelf space expansion unless they wish to face dire consequences just comes out of nowhere.
=> Be rational. Refuting your own tightly defined term "bubble" rather than discussing economic challenges smacks of priggishness or worse. Let's be honest. Trade associations and established firms now in leadership are what go on while the marginal newcomers fall away at the edges. Those truly affected by an increasingly complex will not be the members of national craft. A discussion of how and why the brewers at risk manage the challenges of these times - whether a bubble or a plateau - would represent a more thoughtful and welcome approach.
The saddest thing is, of course, the loss of opportunity to associate good beer with good debate. Not only will telling people to shut up will not achieve that but sending out shallow press releases will just encourage people to consider good beer something not worth thinking about. Unless that is the point. Which would be small minded, right?