For beer aficionados it's the best of times and the worst of times. The Good: The advent of the craft brewing industry has given us real alternatives to the bland offerings of the mega brewers that all taste pretty much alike. From light lager to stout there's acraftbrew for every taste. Most of all craft brewers show that, with good products and hard work, the little guy can still make it in 21st century America.
The bad: Craft brewers' success has not gone unnoticed by the big boys. As Jim Hightower points out, the multinational corporate behemoth Anheuser Busch/InBev, already the world's largest brewer, plans to grow exponentially by merging with, buying out, or using their marketing muscle to squeeze out competitors, including craft brewers.
It's not even close to a fair fight. The outcome may seem all but certain, but don't count the craft brewers out. Bigger isn't always better. The outsized and outgunned British Navy defeated the mighty Spanish armada with smaller more maneuverable ships. Corporate bureaucracies stifle innovation and are slow to respond to changing market conditions. Exhibit A: General Motors.
Craft brewers will survive by doing what they do best; innovating and providing discriminating beer drinkers with beer worth drinking.
So here's to nimble, entrepreneurial, and innovative craft brewers. May you enjoy a long and prosperous future in Arizona and across out great nation.
—William C. Thornton