This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Why Success Is Killing the Craft Brew Industry

Stocks in this article: BREW BUD SAM TAP

That's wonderful, but it also doesn't tell a whole lot of the story. While the number of breweries in the U.S. has exploded from fewer than 100 in the 1980s to more than 2,400 today, the older, bigger craft breweries are still fueling a great deal of the "craft" segment's growth. They're also completely different animals, with Boston Beer and the Craft Brewers Association accounting to shareholders as publicly traded companies and New Belgium, Sierra, Oskar Blues and the other East Coast migrants now playing a hand in local and interstate politics, policy and economics.

Compared with the industrial park tasting rooms, bike-up garage stands or even small brewpub operations throughout the country, they're enormous. While the craft label is conferred as a show of respect and an indication of a brewer that's still experimenting and trying new products, it's also way too small for its outsized pioneer breweries.

Even Boston Beer founder Jim Koch has a saying that he's fond of using whenever the craft debate comes up: Beer is beer. He quotes his father and grandfather as saying "all beer is good -- some beer is better, but all beer is good." It's also the crux of the Beer Institute's arguments for cuts to beer excise taxes across the board, but has gone largely ignored by the folks at the Brewers Association.

Listen, we get it: Everybody wants to save some cash and small brewers who've been at this for a while might not be so keen on sharing the wealth with the big brewers who made it tough for them to carve out a place in the market. Understandable. But to take brewers whose reach spans a continent and whose output is measured in the millions and tag them with the same craft label you'd apply to a small-town barrelhouse is not only disingenuous, but sells those bigger brewers short.

Kids who were born when Boston Beer and New Belgium were founded are now drinking-age adults. They've never known a world without these brewers or one where there was no alternative to light lagers such as Bud, Miller and Coors. To them, beers such as Sierra Nevada, Widmer, Saranac, Brooklyn and some of the other full-grown small breweries aren't "craft," they're just beer.

Wasn't that the point, making good beer and interesting styles a default rather than the alternative? Isn't that a win? If not, then what exactly are craft brewers fighting for? With each scuffle like this, the answer seems less clear.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

RELATED STORIES:



3 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,356.87 +288.00 1.69%
S&P 500 2,012.89 +40.15 2.04%
NASDAQ 4,644.3120 +96.4780 2.12%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs