retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Week reports that "roughly one in 10 beers sold in the U.S. are from American craft brewers, according to a new report from the Brewers Association. Last year, craft brewers produced 22.2 million barrels of beer, an 18 percent increase in craft beer volume."

The story goes on to say that "small and independent brewers now account for 11 percent of America's total beer market, making 2014 the first time the craft beer industry saw a double-digit market share. And craft breweries are on the rise: Last year, America had 3,464 breweries, a 19 percent increase from 2013. Of those 3,464 breweries, 3,418 are craft."
KC's View:
Just last week, while at the Cask & Larder in Winter Park, Florida, I had this wonderful Experimental Pale Ale; last month, at the same place, they were offering a a different pale ale called Lycanthropy. Both were made in the back of the restaurant, both were tasty, and both offered something a little bit different, making the experience unique rather than usual. (The hush puppies were pretty good, too.)

But the point is that craft brewers have identified an important competitive niche, differentiating themselves in a way that customers find to be compelling. It is all about taste, it is all about being local, it is all about something that is crafted rather than mass-manufactured. To me, there is no contest.