Ineficiency

If you are like me, a craft beer enthusiast, I highly suggest you swallow your pride and visit your nearest macro/big brand brewery. Just like your favorite craft brewery you will see the smiling tour guides, merchandise for sale, and lots of people drinking. What will be unique is the SIZE of the facility. For such huge operations you would expect to see a small army of brewers and maintenance workers.

This is exactly what surprised me when I visited a famous Fairfield CA facility. Miles of corridors and acres of warehouse space with hardly a soul in sight. Where the hell was everyone? Visit your favorite midsize craft brewery and you’ll meet a dozen employees before you take your first sip of beer.

By using advances in automation, very few people are needed to create massive amounts of beer. Pair that with consolidation of the brewing of dozens of smaller brands ( aggressively acquired, resulting in people being laid off) to their main facilities. Yes… they are super efficient technical marvels. Unfortunately that means they can now produce more and more beer with fewer and fewer people collecting a paycheck. 

Craft breweries, through inefficiency and their growth in numbers and popularity, have created a job boom in the United States. Many brewers build their recipes on the back of very basic brewhouses with very few bells and whistles. This requires more time and that means more man hours. You will see some degree of automation as companies get bigger but this is often offset by the rapid growth and need to build additional facilities or strengthen infrastructure. 

Just another reason to support craft beer and keep pushing for the little guys to each get a tiny slice of the pie that the big boys have been hogging. If the top two macro brands lost 10% of their profits that would be enough for dozens of small breweries to pick up the slack and create hundreds of job.