VIDEO: First Beverage Group VP on Growth of Craft and Private Equity

While the growth of the craft brewing industry — it’s now north of 2,400 brewers — had many observers at last week’s Craft Brewers Conference fearing a shakeout, J.B. Shireman remains bullish.

It’s an opinion that carries some weight because, come May, Shireman, the vice president of craft services for First Beverage Group, will have been in the beer business for 27 years.Craft beer industry players will recognize Shireman from his 13-year stint with New Belgium Brewing, where he was the vice president of sales and marketing.

“I think the category is just getting warmed up,” he told Brewbound during an interview, published here for your enjoyment. “There is room [for growth], but it will be more competitive than ever and people have to bring their ‘A-game.’”

As the craft category continues to mature, so will investment activity, Shireman said. While only a few mergers and acquisitions have surfaced in recent years, Shireman believes that activity could begin to heat up.

“We have been insular, as an industry,” he said. “As we grow up and come of age [as an industry], it makes sense that we bring new and interesting forms of capital into the business, and there is plenty of it out there.”

In our latest video segment from last week’s Craft Brewers Conference, we discuss with Shireman the growth of craft beer and his view on the emerging forms of capital trickling into the space.

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