Despite just complaining about everything I've got to do this morning, here's Crain's on why craft breweries are selling out:
At least 23 U.S. craft brewers and cider producers have sold all or part of their companies within the past 12 months, with buyers ranging from big brewers to private-equity firms to employee stock ownership plans. While the financial terms of the majority of those deals were not disclosed, industry insiders say more than $2 billion has changed hands, with valuations spiking in some cases to nearly 20 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
"Buyers are paying an absurd amount for craft breweries, and it's a great time to be a brewer who's potentially looking to sell in today's world,” says Chris Furnari, editor of Brewbound, a Watertown, Mass.-based trade publication. “When one deal is announced, and then another, and another, it causes others in the space to take a look at their business and ask, 'Well, what am I worth?'"
Sales in the U.S. craft beer market rose 22 percent to $19.6 billion in 2014, to 11 percent of all U.S. beer sales, according to the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo.-based craft beer trade group. Barrel volume was up 17.6 percent, far outperforming the U.S. beer industry as a whole, where volume rose 0.5 percent last year.
Ah, so, it's about money. Because no matter how much you like beer, if you're a brewer, you're in business first.
The problem the acquiring companies will have is this: People drink craft beers because they don't like the large producers, and what the large producers have to do to beer to produce large quantities. So the InBevs of the world will keep buying up craft breweries like Goose Island, and beer drinkers like me will simply stop drinking those acquired brands.
It's almost as if large companies can't understand why people like small ones. Oh, wait.