The Risk of Small Beer Investing

Up until 2005 or so, investing in regional brewers was a stodgy way to build wealth. The investors would get a 2% dividend, 2-3% or so annual sales growth, and 2-3% annual price increases. By investing in the alcoholic brands that were cherished in your state, you would get 6-8% annual returns. Plus, given the industry’s history of mergers and consolidation, you would have the possibility of owning an acquired company and capturing a one-time 30% to 50% premium.

From about 1960 through 2005, the common risk for niche brew investors was that the brand would try to expand beyond its core market and customers wouldn’t have the same affinity in the new location (because it usually requires extensive advertising or marketing as a part of a brand roll-up to develop market share).

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