by Michael Lowrey
Between craft breweries, as this article from The Thrillist describes (NSFW language). The key points:
…it’s inevitable that a growing national community of brewers, pumping out a customer-pleasing calendar of novelty beers, is going to run out of places to sell the stuff. And when quality and differentiation aren’t enough to get you a coveted spot on the shelves or the tap list… well, then you take a look at price tags.
Which means there are two options: Stay a brewpub, have some fun, and hopefully make some money but probably not much, and be subject to the whims of the bar and restaurant business. Or do that most non-craft thing called get big, allowing you to have lower costs:
“Beer is all about economies of scale,” [Patrick Emerson, an associate economics professor at Oregon State University] says. “The bigger you get the lower the cost per ounce of beer. This is fundamental and there is no way around this. So for a normal brewery the pressure will always be there to grow.” Those big-not-huge craft outfits with the war chests to expand already are. Look at Oskar Blues’ North Carolina outpost, Victory’s massive Parkesburg, PA, facility, or Stone’s bi-coastal and German expansion.
And so it begins…