Come on… This is definitely not what’s happening.
RateBeer has always not been the largest community, and because we’ve arguably had the best critics, it hasn’t been a problem. The wild proliferation of breweries and beers (about the same number of beers added in just the last two years as were added in the all the years from the site’s birth to 2014) has caused our coverage to thin out.
While notable beers and breweries are still getting good coverage, some smaller, newer or out of the way breweries are not. At the same time, small notable breweries, even if they are out of the way, are still getting trades and visitors. This means that while our coverage is no longer comprehensive, it’s still many times better than top lists you see from beer or non-beer publications and better than other notably great critical organizations, like Michelin or James Beard. RateBeer is still the most credible resource for beer reviews out there.
In the past, we used AB InBev stores in order to test online sales. In Australia, we’ve worked out partnerships with a very large independent retailer and smaller indie craft retailers. We plan on only extending our reach to more and smaller retailers. So no, I’m not gaming the world to make brewers create a whole lot more beers so that our coverage thins so that we sell only big name beers to InBev retailers. It’s not like that at all. In the end, the truth is a lot simpler. We’re testing ideas and rolling out implementations, starting small and adding as we go.