Growth & change in the craft beer world

Fact: the craft beer industry is booming–both in San Diego and across the country. Craft brewers now produce one out of every ten beers sold. Budweiser spent a lot of money to make fun of craft beer during the Super Bowl. The Brewers Association just announced the top 50 breweries in the US, and the names on that list are becoming more commonplace.

There’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of growth. And lately I’m hearing a lot of conversation about whether this growth is a “good thing.” What was once a small community has now expanded and is gaining traction every year, and some are nervous that it’s getting too big.

I’ll be the first to say that I completely understand the trepidation. I liked a lot of embarrassingly bad semi-underground music in high school, and I was always afraid that my favorite bands would get become too popular and thus lose a bit of their allure.

However, I’m excited about the changes that are happening. I’m excited that craft beer is getting more of the attention it deserves. Sure, there are some breweries that are seeking acquisition from the big guys, but let them go for it. From a business perspective, I get it. Mergers, sales, and acquisitions happen in every industry and it can make a lot of financial sense.

I know that some of my favorite breweries have no interest in that because I see the dedication in the faces of the people who are making my beer. I see them growing but still keeping their values. It’s easy to discern which breweries really care about their products, their customers, and maintaining the close knit feel of the craft beer world.

Let’s not equate pure growth with selling out. Let’s not immediately become uneasy when a brewery re-brands. Let’s celebrate that. When done right, it’s a great business move. And it makes sense! Improving a product or a brand–especially after years on the market–is wise.

Change doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? I welcome the conversation.

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