Some so-called “microbreweries” have grown much too large to use that sobriquet, but as certain outfits outgrow the label, others are just growing into it. Portfolio's Lew Bryson introduces the future of beer: one-man brewing. In a market where once-boutique names like Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada now command significant share, ultra-small operations have distinct advantages—and disadvantages.
Single brewers are beholden only to customers, and this is part of their problem; without staff, they must drum up business and even deliver kegs by bicycle. But there's creative freedom, too, evidenced by One Guy Brewing's Cinnamon Boldy, a honey-and-Vietnamese cinnamon-tinged lager. The other constant? Do your job too well, and you might be forced to expand.