Breweries are going big and the big are buying. This trend has concerned many community oriented and craft beer fans. Why stay small when there is so much to gain from going big: More profit, more beer, more recognition.
If Bellingham’s newest planned breweries are a litmus test for the rest of the country, maybe the national trend is for breweries to stay small and for there to be many breweries serving many geographical locations. Stone’s Throw, Subdued Brewing and Structures Brewing all plan to remain focused on in-house production, local accounts and community orientation.
It seems the trend of new breweries is not only to remain locally focused in volume and production, but also sourcing of ingredients – some breweries are even growing most of their own. To remain small these breweries are relying on a variety of beers to compete with the volume of the larger breweries. The amazing selection of beers is leading to unforeseen issues of competition in the industry ranging from the legal to the illegal, but also providing the consumer with amazing choices in our “rotation culture.”
So why, with all the issues, would you remain a small struggling brewery? As the folks over at Brew Studs suggest
Not every brewery is growing to the point that it has to double or – in some cases – quadruple capacity. Not every brand is negotiating big contracts with distributors to take their brews statewide or regional – or making moves to self distribute. Hell, some brewers have been in business for years and still don’t have machinery to do their own packaging. And for some brewers that kind of easy pace is just fine. In fact, some never saw that kind of business model in the stars to begin with.
Maine Beer Company discusses the benefits of remaining small.
A large part is a product of consumer’s desire to be connected with the things their are drinking…We have no aspiration of being a big guy, stay small and connected to the consumers.