In recent years, craft breweries have taken the country by storm. Their tours have become must-dos for locals and tourists alike, while their IPAs and lagers have become staples at local restaurants, ballparks and grocery stores. In fact, the number of breweries nationwide reached a record high at the end of last year, with more than 5,000 breweries in operation, many of them small and independently owned. Still, despite the industry’s growth, those small and independent brewers continue to face tough competition from their big-brand counterparts. Fortunately, that’s where the Independent Brewers Alliance comes in.
The Independent Brewers Alliance gives small and independently owned breweries strength in numbers. Like all small businesses, craft and micro-breweries can often find it difficult to manage overhead costs and negotiate with suppliers for the same rates that national chains and big-brand businesses get. By providing a co-op for small brewers, the Independent Brewers Alliance helps independents cut costs and get the best deals for their business.
Here’s how it works: According to its website, the Independent Brewers Alliance is 100 percent member-owned. In other words, member breweries make an initial, refundable $1,000 stock purchase to become equal shareholders. There are also annual membership dues based on the number of barrels each member produces, but the alliance’s 12-month risk-free trial program ensures that members can receive a refund within their first year.
As shareholders, independent brewers can take advantage of instant savings programs on credit card processing fees, freight, cell phone services and fuel. Members also automatically receive rebates from various suppliers on the raw materials and equipment they need to keep brewing. Over time, these rebates and incentives help save members money and give them a foot in the door with vital suppliers. In some cases, members can save up to 20 percent with a supplier.
Locally owned breweries liven downtown with their unique flavors and inviting atmospheres. As the industry continues to grow, the Independent Brewers Alliance makes sure that small and independent brewers stand a chance. For more information, visit www.brewersalliance.org.