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
TheStreet Open House

Craft Beer Needs More Shelf Space, Fewer Crybabies

Stocks in this article: SAMBREWTAPBUD

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- The definition of craft beer is broader that it has ever been, but it still leaves out a handful of brewers who helped usher in the microbrew and craft beer movement.

Blame the rulemakers for that one.

Listen, we understand why a group like the Brewers Association craft beer industry group would want to exclude brands like Blue Moon, Shock Top, Leinenkugel's and Goose Island from the club. They're the wholly owned subsidiaries of Anheuser-Busch InBev  (BUD) and SABMiller/MolsonCoors joint venture MillerCoors. We realize that the Leinenkugel family's brewing tradition in Chippewa Falls, Wis., predates prohibition and that Goose Island put Chicago at the forefront of the craft beer movement, but being bought out by the big boys doesn't help either's case.

However, until just recently, the Brewers Association excluded brewers like Pottsville, Pa.-based D.G. Yuengling and Sons and New Ulm, Minn.-based August Schell and left beer drinkers scratching their heads over which beers qualified as craft beer and which beers didn't.

But BA changed its mind and its rules defining craft brewers -- which already flexed in 2010 to raise the production limit for small brewers from 2 million barrels to 6 million to accommodate Samuel Adams producer Boston Beer Company (SAM). Back in February, the board decided to soften its stance against the use of rice and corn as adjuncts and whittled down the traditional pillar of its craft brewer definition.

So why are we having conversations with the Widmer Brothers about the exclusion of not only their brewery, but the entire Craft Brew Alliance including Redhook (which was a craft beer pioneer in 1981) and Kona Brewing? Why do we have to ask poor Brewers Association spokesman and overall good sport Paul Gatza why his organization continues shunning Rochester, N.Y.-based North American Breweries and its brands including Seattle-based Pyramid Breweries (founded in 1984) and Burlington, Vt.-based Magic Hat (1994)?

Because as the beer industry changes, breweries grow, business model evolve and rules change, it becomes increasingly obvious that a whole lot of the ironclad rules designed to protect craft beer years ago only make it look foolish today.

1 of 2

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!
DOW 16,614.81 +215.14 1.31%
S&P 500 1,941.28 +37.27 1.96%
NASDAQ 4,419.4780 +103.4040 2.40%

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