The strategic relevant components of the U.S. and global craft beer industry macro-environment are ability to distribute locally and abroad, different styles of beer, deregulation of interstate alcohol distribution and retail laws, changing consumer preferences, unique and high quality beer.
Competition in the craft beer industry is stiff. The strongest competitive force is AB InBev. The weakest is Boston Beer Company. The competitive forces with the greatest effect on industry attractiveness include: good pricing and innovation, marketing and distribution, mass production and acquisition of promising brands.
The strategic group map of the beer industry looks like Anheuser- Busch InBev. They have sufficient employees, operate in different countries, they sell over 200 drinks in 130 countries, and they have local, global and international brands. Their brands are well recognised and their marketing strategy is the best in the business which means they rake in good returns. The strategic groups in the best position are Anheuser- Busch, Boston Beer Company and Craft Brew Alliance. The worst positions are all the start-ups struggling to rise from early beginnings.
A smaller or starting craft brewery’s success is determined by the amount of start-up capital they have, ability to employ enough employees, utilising affordable marketing techniques such as hosting brewery tours and visits,tastings and having onsite sales. Utilising social media websites, using phone applications and participating in craft beer festivals, help with exposure to the consumers. A smaller brewery can also convince local restaurants to host their brands for a while for exposure purposes.
The strategic issues facing craft brewers in 2017 are insufficient production of beer to sell on large scale, lack of enough start-up capital, limited capital for marketing and advertising, lack of employees for bottling and labelling, lack of exposure, low sales, raw material shortages, retail competition, price sensitivity and the inability to acquire other brands and improve branding.