The boom in craft brewing should be enough evidence that not all the good business ideas have already been thought of and tried. Who could have imagined it? Somebody obviously did, somewhere, and look at it go. Even little old Slave Lake has a craft brewery of its own. It recently decupled (we had to look that up) its size and already can’t keep up with the demand. People want this stuff! Who knew?
Younger folks will take it for granted there was always such choice – in beer and other things. They will never know what it was like to grow up in a world where the only beer available was brewed by a very few, very big outfits who had no reason to fear competition from anyone outside their government-protected sphere of operation. And their product was swill. It was all the same, tasted terrible and you had to pretend you liked it.
Not only that, there was only one channel on television. After a while there was a second one, and that was just swell. It was also swill of a different sort, but nobody knew it because nobody imagined anything different. Coffee was the same brown water anywhere you went, and if you were living anywhere remotely remote, you had to put up with powdered milk and canned spam for a good part of the year. And cheese? Forget about it? Bland orange cheddar.
Well, a few daring individuals and companies have been chipping away at this monochrome existence for quite some time now – all very much to the good. As for beer, it is hardly necessary for a good life, but for those who like it, the variety makes life a lot more interesting, just the same as variety in entertainment and coffee and food does.
So what, you may ask, do the giant brewers think about all these little upstarts eating away at the market they once dominated? They don’t like it! What they are doing, of course, is getting in on the game, buying up craft breweries wherever they can. This is inevitable, but as long as the business climate (this is where government regulation comes in) allows room for small guys with good ideas to start up and operate, we are all better off.