The current leaders of the BA seem to be so intense on defending who they are that they forget why they're here and what the real goal is. Isn't the real goal here to brew great beer that the public will enjoy and return to buy more? And aren't they doing that which is evidenced by their awesome growth? And aren't there so many new small breweries and brewpubs opening that virtually every beer drinker will be exposed to "craft" beers and no doubt will sample a few in the very near future?
With a yes to all of those questions, it seems to me that they are winning a few battles and headed in the right direction but now want to veer off course by playing judge over other breweries that all started small and become large but way the hell before this revolution. These older brewers built their successful brewery at a time when there wasn't a boom in buying different beers...they did it while there was a boom in going lighter. To me that means they deserve to be held up higher in regards to their effort and longevity. So why throw stones at your pioneers? What do you accomplish with this list?
Now, here is where I would have led the BA instead of attacking brewers. Attacking competition is probably always a tactic that brings negative results from the public and positive sales is always a great strategy for increasing shelf space in stores. I like going positive, I like the idea of meeting with buyers of supermarket chains and showing them what they are missing out on. They have have a decent selection of low to high priced wine and liquors so why do they not offer the same for their beer customers? Why do they want to have those customers go to a different store to buy those beers? Solution selling works. You then ask for a section craved out on the warm shelf along with locations for beer racks in order to offer customers the "Limited Edition" releases, the 4 packs, and the regular extreme 750ml that is bottled by breweries.
IRI Supermarket data last year revealed that a strategy of cutting back on American premium beers and giving more cold shelf space to the craft beer segment resulted in lower overall beer category sales in those stores. Why would that be the result? Because they still didn't increase the different styles of beers they just added more 6 packs and 12 packs of the sames styles from different breweries. That would be the equivalent of expanding your wine selection by adding more mid-priced wines instead more varieties of high priced wines...makes no sense because your just dividing the same dollar into more companies. What you want are the dollars that are somewhere else.
Thus by the BA working to increase public exposure through retailers and creating success for them they become the heroes of their business and not the finger pointing judges. The public has a greater selection at more stores and thus there is more shelf space for all of those new production breweries. Ans once the warm shelf sales increase more coolers are added in order to increase profitability. If you don't believe that can happen then go in the latest store model offered by Whole Foods. Lets get retailers on that program and the public will make the choice.