You don't have to be a fan of IPAs to know that the craft beer world is doing something right. In 2015, 620 new breweries opened, with only 67 closing their doors. That 10.8 percent failure rate is higher than the long-term average but has been consistent in recent years as the overall number of brewery openings has spiked. It's also much lower than in the restaurant industry, where as much as 60 percent of new establishments close in the first three years.
Just how tough an industry it is makes the craft beer success story all the more notable. There's a $100-billion-dollar deal between AmBev and SABMiller in the works that beer experts argue has been made, at least in part, to weaken craft brewers' ability to independently distribute; a high-profile Budweiser ad campaign designed to belittle the craft beer movement; and an overall slowdown in production that craft beer is bucking.
"The status quo sucks," said Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Company. "It's only the status quo because we haven't yet figured out how to make it better. Every successful entrepreneur or business owner, regardless of the industry, must have a similar mind-set with whatever they do. Without it you get lazy and the competition will pass you by."
Pass you by or make you pay up. Craft beer hasn't only pushed Budweiser to change its iconic advertising strategy but is also cashing in on Budweiser money: The beer giant has been buying up craft labels, including Breckenridge Brewery and Four Peaks.