As the craft beer movement has continued to explode in recent years, some analysts have warned that the market is becoming over-saturated. R Street’s Jarrett Dieterle has argued that in the context of a saturated market, it’s even more important to eliminate restrictive government-imposed barriers that hurt producers; after all, the market providers enough pressure without harmful (and needless) external hurdles being layered on. Food policy expert Baylen Linnekin recently sounded a similar warning in an article for Reason.com:
While the market for craft beer is still growing, the rate of growth has slowed considerably in recent years. Brewers Association chief economist Bart Watson last year said the craft beer industry his group represents is showing signs of "deceleration."
I'm confident the industry's growth can continue. But here's a caveat: craft brewers also continue to face their share of outside obstacles, chiefly in the form of state laws that hinder growth and profitability…
I'm generally optimistic about both the industry and trends in state laws in the decade or so I've been writing about the industry. But I'm also frustrated by the slow pace of change and by seeing the same tired arguments…
Craft beer is a highly competitive, innovative, and important industry with boundless potential. In the end, though, the industry can only go as far as lawmakers will allow.
Linnekin’s whole article is well worth a read.
The DrinksReform.org team has also previously interviewed Linnekin on the absurdity of America’s alcohol laws.