Trading Buds for Micro-Brewskis: Craft Beer's Renaissance Continues to Grow

"In this instance, Goliath is helping the industry," Chibe said. "We provide that source of distribution, that pathway to get their products on the shelves efficiently. We help provide sources of raw materials or ingredients that are the finest because of the specifications. ... And honestly ... a lot of what they're doing is bringing excitement and helping fuel this renaissance."

One of the popular craft brew brands Anheuser-Busch started making is Shock Top, and it is also buying small breweries like Goose Island in Chicago.

"We're the rich uncle who provides them the resources that they need," Chibe said. "They continue to innovate, they continue to dream these new amazing beers up and bring them into the market, and we let them continue with that culture of innovation."

In the face of critics, who might chastise Anheuser-Busch for selling a craft brew product without putting its name on the label, Chibe said they don't need to because the information is out there and "people will find out."

"People are going to find out that we make them, and actually it's a source of pride for us when people do find out that Anheuser-Busch makes a beer," he said.

But Jim Koch thinks companies like Anheuser Busch have an obligation to tell the customers upfront if they own a microbrew label.

"I get a little bit of a chuckle out of it when the largest brewer in the world wants to pretend like they are little Sam Adams," Koch said. "I certainly would be happy if they put their names on those beers so it's a little more transparent to consumers."

Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver said "of course" the big beer companies are going to copy the microbrewery model because they can see that craft brews "excite" people. The way for microbreweries to make their presence known in the crowded beer market, he said, is to get creative.

"We just have to be more interesting and better than they are, and I think we're doing alright," he said. "At the end of the day, craft brewers are the ones who are creating this excitement, and if people start with copycat beers from the big brewers, well, they're going to soon graduate and discover the real thing, so it all works out."

ABC News' Lauren Effron contributed to this report.

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