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To borrow the phrase/idea from Tyler Cowen, craft beer average is over. Quickly following the purchase of Anchor (that’s like buying the Constitution, I mean the actual physical thing) by Japanese Sapporo brewery, local conglomerate Constellation Brands has purchased Florida’s most identifiable (or second most) craft brew, Funky Buddha. I don’t think my take on this is newsworthy. I won’t sit here and rail on the “biggization” and selling-out of craft beer, maybe some other day we’ll have that discussion. But what is clear to me is that the early movers in wave one of the craft industry (Sierra really) and the movers in wave two (Bells, Founders, Dogfish Head, etc.) were able to fine tune their flavors and identity and make huge national and regional inroads. I would be stunned if any recently created brewery were able to get significant regional and certainly national distribution. Those that have started big seem to have made a mistake in my mind, unless they are preparing to be contract brewers for when the smaller places need to ramp up a little, or when there is a shakeout and a little room on shelves opens up. In any case, I think Will Cleveland is spot on when he says that the beer market will have a few huge nationally distributed players, and an increased focus on small, local breweries. I can jog to 2 craft breweries right now, and am hoping one pops up within walking distance to make it a true neighborhood brewery. I would have loved to have done that.

 

One Response to “Craft Beer Average is Over”

  1. Mike says:

    Anchor was probably my first craft beer. 1984 in Malibu. I had some just a couple of weeks ago.

    Sapporo could possibly improve Anchor.

    As the industry consolidates, I think there will plenty small guys trying to back fill. And I look forward to it. I also look forward to being able to get Wicked Weed in Texas. There will be some good aspects to this consolidation!

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