As this great expansion of breweries continues we notice a lot of local brewery beers showing up at even our traditional watering holes that had not embraced craft beer until recently. And the beer styles we see at those places are the traditional styles such as Pale, IPA, Amber Ale, Wheat, and Porter. All good styles that each brewer has in his arsenal of beers. The big guys sell them and the small guys sell them. However, the local brewers are now getting more and more draft beer placements with their traditional beer styles over the regional craft breweries. What does that leave the larger brewer?
Not too much unless they large brewer has a line of limited edition and extreme beers then they can get some rotator draft beer placements. The rotation draft handles are fine for these beers because the brewers are changing from one to another so this strategy can actually be more profitable than trying to battle head to head with local brewers using traditional craft beer styles as evidenced by this video from BeerCam: Beer Bar Dreams Made Real at Mission Dolores
That is on-premise not off-premise but the craft beer sales trends of on-premise gravitate to the off-premise over a period of time depending on the area of the country that you live in. Some regions have a faster growing craft beer segment and in those areas the trends developed in on-premise move quickly to the off-premise segment...if they didn't then why do we have large box liquor stores with huge selections of all beer styles?
Therefore, because I live in a region where draft beer is rotated at many bars and the beers are usually extreme beers, I believe the regional craft brewers need to make a bigger push with limited edition and extreme beers to counter losing draft beer handles and shelf space to local brewers. The sooner they begin using the "solution selling method" to independent stores by referring to on-premise trends and successes of big box liquor stores the better growth those regional craft brewers will have of their traditional beers by getting more shelf space at new off-premise stores.
Which then solves my problem of having to drive out of my way to find the beers that I want. Hell, last week I rode with a sales rep and made a placement of Odell Pondhopper at a non-traditional store and then came back and bought some just to make the point to the store owner. Once the store sells through the Pondhopper, I will have the sales rep place another limited or extreme beer in the store and the sales will give the store owner the confidence to continue building his assortment of beers. As customers we can sometimes be quick to boycott a store if we don't like something they do so lets turn it around start asking for our favorite beers to be carried in the stores in order to get what we want.