Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Crafty macrobrews

As we draw nearer to peak beer drinking season (who am I kidding, it's always peak beer drinking season in Wisconsin), the nation's craft brewers are becoming increasingly upset about the faux crafts that have been introduced by the world's two largest brewing conglomerates, Anheuser-Busch/Inbev and SABMillerCoors.

As their mainstream American lagers continue to struggle to maintain market share and margin, A-B and MillerCoors are increasingly putting their energy behind brands like Blue Moon, Third Shift, Shock Top and others. This strategy has helped them increase their overall market share and capture a significant portion of the craft category.

As a result, small local brewers are crying foul and asking that these brewers be required to put their corporate name on the labels of all their products so that beer drinkers will know which crafts are made by craftspeople and which are made by corporations.

How about, no.

You don't get to change the law because the folks at A-B and MillerCoors are smart marketers. It has always been thus. Small, independent, innovative businesses create a new market and the big boys follow quickly to try to capitalize on it.

That's business. If you're not prepared to defend your brand, to continue to prove why you're different, better and special, then be prepared to lose it. 

Will it be easy? No. Can it be done? 

The six pack of Bell's Two Hearted Ale in my refrigerator says yes.