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The Local Beer Boom: Craft Breweries Have Doubled Their Share of the US Market Since 2004

Monday, July 16, 2012 By Jim Hightower, Other Words | News Analysis
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And now, for some happy talk — by which I mean a non-corporate, "little-d" democratic, and altogether pleasurable economic development that's spreading across our country. In a word: beer.

More specifically, craft breweries are flourishing from Maine to Oregon, with happy hopheads in town after town now able to boast of their own local, unique, zesty, and fun batch of suds. While Anheuser-Busch (now owned by a Belgian conglomerate) and MillerCoors (partially owned by Canadians) still dominate America's beer market, sales of the nondescript national brands have soured in recent years. But innovative, small-batch, hometown yeast-wranglers have tapped a burgeoning market of brewski lovers reaching for the real gusto.

Since 2004, craft beers have doubled their share of the U.S. market. Some 250 upstart breweries opened last year alone, bringing their total number to nearly 2,000. This is a true populist economic phenomenon. Consumers and artisans have found each other and spontaneously created an alternative, locally based economy that helps sustain themselves and their community, rather than having their money siphoned out by far-away profit-takers.

Of course, the big boys are slyly trying to sink their own taps into the craft success of the small guys. Budweiser and Miller, for example, are now marketing pretend-craft beers, having bought such once-local brands as Chicago's Goose Island and Wisconsin's Leinenkugel. Unabashed by this consumer deception, however, a Miller spokesman sniffed, "We don't concern ourselves with what [someone else] defines as a craft brewer."

Wow — sounds like Miller's man quaffed one too many mugs of a genuine local beer from San Diego. It's called "Arrogant Bastard."

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

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The Local Beer Boom: Craft Breweries Have Doubled Their Share of the US Market Since 2004

Monday, July 16, 2012 By Jim Hightower, Other Words | News Analysis
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

And now, for some happy talk — by which I mean a non-corporate, "little-d" democratic, and altogether pleasurable economic development that's spreading across our country. In a word: beer.

More specifically, craft breweries are flourishing from Maine to Oregon, with happy hopheads in town after town now able to boast of their own local, unique, zesty, and fun batch of suds. While Anheuser-Busch (now owned by a Belgian conglomerate) and MillerCoors (partially owned by Canadians) still dominate America's beer market, sales of the nondescript national brands have soured in recent years. But innovative, small-batch, hometown yeast-wranglers have tapped a burgeoning market of brewski lovers reaching for the real gusto.

Since 2004, craft beers have doubled their share of the U.S. market. Some 250 upstart breweries opened last year alone, bringing their total number to nearly 2,000. This is a true populist economic phenomenon. Consumers and artisans have found each other and spontaneously created an alternative, locally based economy that helps sustain themselves and their community, rather than having their money siphoned out by far-away profit-takers.

Of course, the big boys are slyly trying to sink their own taps into the craft success of the small guys. Budweiser and Miller, for example, are now marketing pretend-craft beers, having bought such once-local brands as Chicago's Goose Island and Wisconsin's Leinenkugel. Unabashed by this consumer deception, however, a Miller spokesman sniffed, "We don't concern ourselves with what [someone else] defines as a craft brewer."

Wow — sounds like Miller's man quaffed one too many mugs of a genuine local beer from San Diego. It's called "Arrogant Bastard."

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

Related Stories

Jim Hightower | Politicos Are Stealing the People's Property
By Jim Hightower, Truthout | Op-Ed
Jim Hightower and the "Populist Moment"
By Thorne Webb Dreyer, The Rag Blog | Interview and Video