MicroBrewing and IT Startups

Microbreweries have popped up across the country for the last couple of years, nearly hitting critical mass in the last year or so. Most of them come to market, with their own unique spin on traditional beer recipes or crazy new ideas. The goal for small batch breweries is to give customers choice in taste, and deliver what large breweries can’t good flavor.   (Sorry InBev) The issue is there are now so many microbreweries on the market that supply and demand are being affected, what’s funny is it’s not on the customer side yet, it’s on the beer supply side. Hops, yeast, and grains the key ingredients for any beer are in high demand, this may just be the death knell for struggling breweries. Macrobreweries have solved some of this by getting diverse in the grains they use (like rice instead of all wheat).

What does any of this have to do with IT?

The microbrewery business is hilariously paralleling the IT world, with the startups that have popped up over the course of the last couple of years, stealing market share from the established players. Sure, we have seen this before but there are more comparisons. IT startups today are far more boutique in nature, developing solutions for customers specific tastes. With automation hooks via API, the crazy concepts that the IT brewmasters can cook up are baked into the solution or released as Open Source projects.

Now none of this is to say that the large breweries don’t have loyal customers, the fact that NASCAR exists and Budweiser, Coors, and Miller have the sales numbers they do proves that they still matter. The large brewer houses also have money to buy the microbrewery talents or at least their names, think Goose Island, Rolling Rock, and Blue Moon, all owned by macro brewing companies now. They continue to create new products and trying to shut down the microbrewers flavor profile angles with their own releases. The successful microbreweries though are really finding footholds the Dog Fish Head, Yuengling, Sweetwater, and Sierra Nevada brewing companies are all great examples of that.

Those same trends can be seen in IT as well. But just like the microbreweries the startup IT vendors of the world are making their mark. It will be fun to see which ones make a Solid mark and light the industry on Fire. 😉