When The Boston Beer Co agreed to combine with Dogfish Head Brewery in May, just-drinks saw this as the sign of a new trend in US craft beer that would see independent brewers seek safety in numbers. A few months down the road – and as the US craft beer market continues its slowdown – other events have confirmed the trend, not least this week’s announcement by Japan’s Kirin of the acquisition of craft beer stalwart New Belgium Brewing.

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