By Editor In Chief/Lord Of Words Ed M Morris
I am going to fit as much Shiner in here and launch
In an April 7th Op-Ed, Jim Koch (co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, the producers of Samuel Adams beer) titled "Is It Last Call For Craft Beer?" voices his concerns for the decline of Craft Beer.
Mr. Koch lists the following issues that is effecting Craft Beer:
1. After several years of growth at 15%, craft beer growth is in the single digits.
2. Big Beer mergers and purchases of some of the larger craft beer brewers. Now 90% of US beer production is owned by overseas entities.
3. Lack of government anti-trust oversight. Prime example is the merger of SABMiller and AB InBev.
4. Smaller distributors who were protected by laws passed in the 1970's are now near extinct as distributors have gone from 4600 in 1980 to 3000 today. These smaller distributors were key to getting craft beer out to the public when craft beer brewers were making inroads from the brewery to the consumer.
Mr. Koch, also mentions that there is also a "who cares?" element creeping in as craft brewers who have been bought by Big Beer, and uses Goose Island as an example, are still making good beer that consumers are buying.
Also, he is concerned that as smaller breweries are being purchased, it means less jobs for the communities that the now Big Beer owned breweries were located. Less jobs is not only bad for the former employees, but for the local towns, as less taxes are coming in to support the municipality and the people who live there.
If you agree completely or not with Mr. Koch, things are changing in the Craft Beer industry, and it will be important to support your local brewers to ensure that craft beer lives on and thrives.