The craft beer industry and its relatively small, upstart brewers are still only 5.7% of the overall beer market's volume and 9.1% of its sales, but craft beer production jumped 13% in 2011 while sales increased 15%. Still, even larger craft brewers such as Boston Beer (SAM - Get Report), which makes the Samuel Adams line, either can't or won't splurge on a Super Bowl ad.
"Are you kidding? The big brewers are 80 times our size," Jim Koch, president and founder of Boston Beer, told us last year. "Our money is better spent on hops."That's from a guy whose brewery produced nearly 2.5 million barrels of beer in 2011, more than double that produced by the next largest craft brewer, Sierra Nevada. Pottsville, Pa.-based D.G. Yuengling & Son, which is the largest American brewer, with more than 2.5 million barrels produced in 2011, is available in little more than a dozen states and swears off Super Bowl ads that would cost the company more per viewer than competing ads from larger breweries. Not that those big brewhouses want to give the craft breweries or even their big corporate competitors a shot at the title. Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) paid the NFL $1 billion a couple years ago to wrest the league's official beer sponsorship away from MolsonCoors (TAP). It's also spent $248.6 million during the past decade to not only air ads for Budweiser and other brands during the Super Bowl, but to buy exclusivity deals from CBS, NBC, Fox (NWS) and ABC (DIS) that prevent all other beer companies from buying big-game airtime. It's had those deals in place since 1989 and has spent the past 24 years using them to fortify its position by setting up a Bud Light hotel in the game's host city and slapping its logo all over Super Bowl parties.