Though its had its shares of market ups and down micro-brewing is a stable to american beer business.
Micro-brewing took off in the early 90’s with brew pubs. People where looking for a more original taste. Micro beers took form of a affordable luxury. Furthermore people wanted to disconnect with the rapid consumerism from the 80’s with wall-mart’s and Mc Donald's showing up everywhere. People where also starting to connect with their local towns and history trying to distinguish their home town from another. Micro-breweries and brew pubs mostly local owned and operated. Likewise, they often tend to use local ingredients for the brews. Furthermore many micro-brews are marketed towards that local audience by often featuring blue collar work themes such as: steamboats, lumber mills or railroads. This is more then passive qualities, like a big brewer such as Anheuser Busch for example. These are conscious efforts. In addition, many local micro breweries sponsor local sports teams or historical events (Schnel, Steven).
Micro-brewing tends to focus on the craft and have a diverse taste. In fact, many have gone so far as to use many non-traditional ingredients such as tea’s and exotic fruits. Many even create recipes based on historical findings. Author Bilger states in an article about how dog fish head makes it’s beer that, they would go so far as to hire a archeological chemist to run an analysis a Phrygian rulers barrels to discover they made a form of beer and the brewer try to recreate it. Later while recreated the brew Bilger writes:
The mixture contained cardamom, coriander, ginger, allspice, rampe leaves, lemongrass, curry powder, and black tea, custom blended for Calagione in India. It would be added at the last moment, he said, so that its volatile flavors wouldn't boil off. The idea was to amplify the already spicy flavors of the juniper berries and the Hefeweizen yeast - to turn the sahti into Sahtea.
These radical idea’s and techniques lead to some micro-breweries becoming quite large in the mid 90’s. Fueled by big spending and gains in the dot com bubble many saw the trend in beer and cashed in. With a 50% growth from 1994-95, similarly by 1996 37% of beer drinkers had tried a micro-brew (Robison, John). Many companies such as sam adam where having IPO’s, where stocks are publicly available to trade. Sam adams opened on the first day at 18 dollars for a share and by the end of the first day it was up to 25 dollars. Red Hook also opened at 18 and was up to 27 and for a couple years didn't trade below 24. Many jumped on fueled by a gold rush. What’s more in 1994 64 new breweries opened, and by the 2nd quarter of 1995 59 had already opened (Gunn, Eileen).
By 1998 many companies have closed and the survivors where hit hard. Sam Adams brewing went from trading 20 dollars in 95 to only trading 9 in 98...