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Rising unemployment, massive credit crunch, rising commodity prices, out of control state and federal budgets, DJIA plummeting, and that’s only here in the US.  Wow, I need a beer.  A lot of Americans have been saying the same thing, and somewhat amazingly, they are looking for craft beers, not just Key-Light and PBR (not that there is anything wrong with these two fine examples of American Lagers).  But don’t take it from me, check out some of the news I have found from just the last few months.

“Americans love beer — one of the world’s oldest alcoholic beverages. According to the Beer Institute, if you average it out, every American over 21 drinks more than 30 gallons of beer annually, and the beer industry is one of the few sectors not having its worst year since the Great Depression.”

“The Boulder-based Brewers Association reports that craft beer sales grew almost 6 percent in 2008 – the only area of noticeable growth in the beer biz.”

“The craft brewing industry generates $6.3 billion each year, according to the Brewers Association. The volume of beer produced through craft brewing, which includes brewpubs and microbreweries, grew by 5.8 percent in 2008.”

Yes, we know this is former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder drinking a beer. But its the only appropriate image we came up with when we Googled businessman drunk.

Yes, we know this is former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder drinking a beer. But it's the only appropriate image we came up with when we Googled "businessman drunk".

Not only is it a brewer’s market right now, it is also a good time to venture out on your own (in many industries), according to numerous experts.  It might sound risky to a lot of people, but I attended an entrepreneur panel last week at Colorado College and left with a renewed belief in the drive of American entrepreneurs.  During that discussion I also learned that 3 of the 5 panelists started their businesses in a recession, and they have made it work.

“Regardless of what people around you (including the media) may say, right now is the best time to get into business. Just go back and look at the economic slowdowns throughout history. Most recessions in the post-World War II era last an average of 10 months, followed by growth cycles that last an average of 50 months.”

“We’re Americans. Entrepreneurship is in our DNA. You’re right that when the economy tightens, fewer people are likely to start businesses. But what that means is that you can do a competitive regional analysis and know that your niche is protected, for a while at least. Grand openings, ribbon cuttings, and groundbreakings are likely to get a lot more media and general attention in your community.”

While the future is certainly uncertain, I am fairly confident that the economy will begin to recover by the time we get all of our ducks in a row and we will be able to launch at an opportune time.  Now finding funding could be the tough part.  As one of the esteemed CC alum entrepreneur panelists put it, “Without funding your vision is just a hallucination.”

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