Some fret in recent days again about the number of US breweries as Stan summarizes neatly in his regular Monday links post. I don't find the discussion that vital given the source of the data so my only contribution was left with Mr B:
I would be more interested in craft sector total product stats than the number of breweries given the advent of the nano. Another 1,000 nanos will have little effect compared to ten more big craft branch.
Because we have no independent consumer-based interest group in North American and very little by the way of independent craft brewing business journalism, these sorts of numbers - 3,000 breweries! 20% of the market by 2020 for craft! - is all industry marketing nonsense or, rather, manipulation. It's like "collaboration" beers. People still seem to think these are not branding exercises with the sole goal to rake in cash. I know, we still like to pretend that (i) this is not business and (ii) the breweries are run by benevolent elves who only have the buyers interest at heart... but that is foolishness. Honestly, if beer didn't have alcohol in it do you think any buyers would believe this stuff? If you have doubts, note that in the recent crowd sourcing fiasco, the price dropped from $50 to $30 within a blink of an eye. How could that be? I think of all these things as falling under the same lesson the single preciously boxed beer teaches us. Adds nothing to the taste but 15% to the price.
I was standing again in a CNY shop yesterday and never before was aware of the price divide in good beer. There are craft brewers who make a $8.99 six-pack of astoundingly good quality and there are those who make $16.99 six packs of similar astoundingly good quality. They are inseparable products except perhaps for the degree to which the higher priced product is buttressed up with branding, package design, silly ideas like best before two weeks from now and other inventions created to separate the gullible from their money. I laughed out loud I am sure at the $29.99 being asked for this beer. Fortunately, it was gathering dust as no one was taking the bait.
What to do in such times? First, understand you are being taken advantage of by the unscrupulous sector of craft beer. Second, educate yourself and support those who reject this shameful tactic. Third, appreciate that even in messages like this there is an intention to sway how you approach the purchasing decision to your detriment. You may need to go back and read the posts and comments here and here from years ago to see where this all sprang from. It is all so unnecessary for the well informed good beer fan. There is such an amazing selection of great beers at reasonable prices which give the brewer a generous reward for their efforts that there is no need to find oneself at the short end of the sorts of unconscionable transaction being offered by some. We are lucky to live in such times.
Making well informed decisions about the best value for your drinking dollars is not easy in a marketplace where contesting the wisdom of the branding consultants is frowned upon. Gird yourselves well if you decide to take on the role of independently advised beer buyer. Be prepared to be told you do not and cannot understand, that there are costs which are hidden yet add 10% to 40% to your bill. Be prepared to be staring at six-pack in a gas station that says you are not worthy and think "screw off, loser" as you pass it up for something local, fresher, better tasting and cheaper.