The Rise of the Craft Brewer
In almost every market sector there is dominance. From television to groceries, individual companies hold prestigious shares of the market making it tough for smaller companies to compete. The adult beverage industry isn't much different. But, thanks to laws and regulations, it's easier for smaller craft breweries to compete. Since 2008, craft beers have seen steady growth. Even as the national consumption average has declined in the U.S. the prosperity of these breweries continue to grow.
History Influencing the Craft Beer Movement
Humans and the Prehistoric Era
Historically, alcohol was a utility. The prehistoric era relied on the consumption of alcohol to move life forward. In some ways, it was safer. Alcohol kills bacteria. Drinking from a stream or body of water proved risky. It could be contaminated, full of bacteria, or contain other particles that were poisonous to the body. Fermented drinks didn't have these same risks.
The beverage lasted longer than some fruits and vegetables that were hard to store for long periods without refrigeration. Experts attribute successful societies to those who were proactive. Splitting the crops between consumption and fermentation was vital to sustaining life. Once settlers started heading towards America, the practice of distilling alcohol became a little more sophisticated. But, we can't deny alcoholic beverages were woven into our history fulfilling economic and societal needs.
Prohibition’s Connection to Craft Brewing
It's impossible to talk about craft brewing without touching on the prohibition era. Advancements began to take place with the storage and maintenance of our food and water. The practicality and safety alcohol provided society began to dwindle. Consumption was purely for pleasure. Prohibition began when some society members believed it to be "the devil's brew." Before prohibition, laws were lax across the country. Thousands of breweries and distilleries existed crafting beers, wines, and spirits. The 18th Amendment suppressed these facilities and the 21st Amendment condensed them. After the ratification, states were handed the rights to control production and distribution.
Unemployment and Increased Breweries
From WWII onwards, the American food and beverage culture changed dramatically. Processes that were once long and tedious were replaced with very fast, very efficient methods that were pre-packaged, prepared, and processed. However, this also led to a decline in our relationship with food and beverage. We were so far removed from the steps it took to get to our tables. The estrangement gained momentum throughout the 50s, 60s, and the beginning of the 70s when an embargo was placed on oil. The U.S. employment rate sky-rocketed. Coincidentally, with the decade, the number of breweries began to increase as well.
The Modern Influence and Direction of Craft Brewing
A Return to Heritage
Once the economy started to dip and unemployment was going up, there seemed to be a shift in consumer demand. This time during the embargo saw consumers wanting to return to the environment with farm-to-table and craft brewing on the rise. The previous decades were about growth and prosperity. But, in the wake of a downturn, it appears that people want reconnection. As the 90s and early 2000s saw a better job market the upswing of craft breweries were at a stand-still. By 2008, when the stock market came tumbling down, the breweries saw a lot of replication.
Between 2008 and 2016 it expanded by a factor of six with a 120 percent job increase. In 2017, nearly 70,000 breweries existed across the country. An amazing feat when you consider the consumption average was at its lowest in history. It seemed people were drinking less beer, but those who did were willing to pay a premium. MillerCoors, Heineken, Anheuser-Busch, Pabst, and Diageo, which owns Guinness saw sales drop by 14% giving way to more craft establishments. “We've seen three primary markers in the rise of craft beer—fuller flavor, greater variety, and more intense support for local businesses," said Bart Watson, the chief economist at trade group Brewers Association.
New Structure Promotes Equality
Even with craft breweries on the rise, how was it possible for them to compete in such a market with names like Anheuser-Busch or MillerCoors? These entities would have bottomless pockets dedicated to marketing and advertising their beverages. It all has to do with the three-tiered system. After ratification of the 18th Amendment, states wanted to eliminate "tied houses." A "tied house" included the brewer and bar under one roof creating a monopoly. The government wanted to promote safer drinking habits and constructed the three-tiered system. The producer sold their beverage to the middleman (distributors) who sold it to retailers/bars; tiers one, two and three. The system didn't just affect control but promoted variety. Laws are now in place that makes it illegal for alcohol companies to buy premium shelving space or to gift retailers for adding their product to premium locations. These checks and balances made it possible for craft brewers to compete with legendary giants.
Bringing Your Beverage to Market
The craft brewing occupation isn't slowing. The best way to get your beverage to market is with the expert guidance from alcohol beverage industry professionals like Brindiamo Group. From business plan development to branding opportunities, there is a myriad of ways you can promote your craft brewing company favorably.