No matter where you look there are signs that the economy still hasn’t rounded that vital corner just yet. Jobs are still a bit scarce, the housing market is still in the pits and worries about inflation seem more and more valid. However, there is a bright spot out there. The microbrew industry is really flourishing particularly compared with the larger brewers in the market. You’d think that it would be tough to get people to shell out extra cash for craft beers when their wallets are feeling the pinch of a bad economy but the reverse actually seems to be true.
For evidence of this just consider the number of craft beers now being distributed to more and more states. Buckbean Brewing Company in Reno is actually distributing their specialty brews all the way to Florida. The Alaskan Brewing Company has expanded their operations and their distribution. Dogfish Head has actually had to cut back on their distribution because they could not meet the demand. Those are only a few of the success stories in the craft brewing world. Other companies are meeting similar success. However, compare that success to what’s going on in the world of big brewing and you’ll have a very different story.
Molson Coors recently cut the pay package for their CEO (probably a good thing), and most other big brewers have encountered serious problems in the realm of profitability. Why is there so much disparity between craft beers and big brewers though? What is driving the success of the small brewers and contributing to the slowdown and damage done to the larger companies?
One of the most important factors is the growing desire to support a local company, even if that company really isn’t local. There is a growing realization that helping out the little guy is really doing the right thing – small companies give far more back to the local (and national) economy over the long term. Another force to be reckoned with here is the desire for high-quality items during tough times. Craft beers are certainly higher quality than their mass-produced counterparts are, and drinkers are more than willing to party with their cash for these beers because of the quality and flavor in the brew, as well as the unique character of each beer.
While the national economy might still be staggering along, microbreweries from Alaska to Georgia seem to be beating it quite handily!