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Craft brewers contend with a crowded marketplace

The craft brewing business has been growing for decades, but recently it has run into some serious growing pains. As new businesses have sprouted up, brewers must contend with an increasingly marketplace crowded with competitors.

Some have responded to this pressure through mergers and acquisitions. Some have been bought by large corporations, while others have tried to consolidate their industry positions by acquiring other businesses. Still others have responded by scaling back.

That appears to be the case with Boulder Beer Co., Colorado's oldest craft brewery. The company's owner recently announced that the company was discontinuing its sale of bottled and canned beer. Instead, it will sell its products only in its Boulder tap room.

When it was founded in 1979, Boulder Beer Co. was one of only a handful of small businesses brewing malt beverages in a market dominated by industry giants like Anheuser-Busch. Today, the overall beer market is still dominated by the big corporations, but a huge new market has grown for smaller brewers and taprooms, and a huge new demand for their brews.

Boulder Brewing is hardly the only Colorado brewer to decide to scale back. Wynkoop Brewing, Twisted Pine Brewing and Strange Craft Beer have all recently announced they were discontinuing their sales of bottles and cans. Several upcoming new breweries have announced they have no plans to start selling outside their tap rooms.

Business owners have to juggle a lot of competing interests in order to keep their businesses thriving in a competitive market. A business attorney can help them assess their options for mergers, acquisitions, contracts and other ways to protect themselves and their businesses.

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