While many of the innovations tout a better drinking experience, there is a marketing element to it, too.

"What's next may be cool, it may be setting themselves apart. But there is a point where it becomes gimmicky and it loses its functionality and its form and its integrity," Thiel said.

Sam Adams' Koch agrees: "If it doesn't make the beer taste better, then don't do it just to get noticed," he said. "The customer will reward you with more of their business if you give them a better tasting product than their alternatives."

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Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum .

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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