Large breweries get ‘crafty’ to get consumers to purchase their products

This year, the craft beer industry reached an all-time high in the United States, with one out of every 10 beers is produced by a craft brewer, according to Forbes.

Production and market shares are at also at an all time high. In March, “International Business Times” reported that craft beer market shares broke double digits for the first time ever in the United States.

However, a common misconception among craft beer aficionados and supporters of local microbreweries is that all craft beer is produced by small businesses.

It’s not.

In light of industry growth, it should come as no surprise that large breweries like ABInBev (Anheuser-Busch) and MillerCoors have jumped on the craft beer bandwagon, in hopes to tap into this ever-growing facet of an industry they already dominate.

The involvement of these large breweries, however, often goes unnoticed by industry supporters.

Large breweries, including ABInBev and MillerCoors, have infiltrated two out of the four market segments of the craft beer industry: regional craft breweries and contract craft breweries. This puts the remaining two segments, microbreweries and brewpubs, in an unfair, direct competition with industry giants.  Both produce less than 15,000 barrels per year, respectively.

In 2010, MillerCoors began using its Tenth and Blake division in Chicago to focus exclusively on producing their extensive line of craft beers. Under Tenth and Blake, MillerCoors owns industry leaders including Blue Moon Brewing Company, Peroni Italy, Crispin Cider, George Killian’s Irish Red, Leinenkugel and Pilsner Urquell, to name a few.

Anheuser-Busch, under ABInBev, has also acquired a good portion of craft beer breweries, including Blue Point Brewing, Goose Island Beer Company, 10 Barrel, Elysian Brewing Co., Red Hook Brewery, Shock Top, Magic Hat Brewing Co., and more.

By acting as financial backers of local microbreweries, Sam Adams’ approach to staking their claim in the craft beer market is a bit more subtle than their competitors.

So how can craft beer buffs ensure they are keeping their support, and their tax dollars, within the small business community?

Buy Factory-Direct: Recent legislation in Georgia has finally made it possible for consumers to purchase beer directly from local breweries. But keep in mind that there are purchasing limits.

Attend Beer Festivals: There is no shortage of craft beer festivals in Atlanta, especially during the hot and humid summer months.

Tour Local Breweries: Georgia has 64 breweries to choose from, including the most popular Sweetwater Brewing Company. And you thought bar hopping was cool…

Click here for an interactive map of Georgia’s local breweries.

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