A veteran beer industry observer has some thought-provoking predictions for craft brewers in 2014. What do you think?

The items below are culled from the annual January predictions published in Beer Business Daily, Harry Schuhmacher‘s highly respected beer industry newsletter. Harry, like any predictor, has his hits and his misses when everything is totaled up at each year’s finish, but the majority of the results always seem to fall into the “Got It” or “Close Enough” columns and not the “What the Hell Was He Thinking?” one. There’s a lot of fodder for discussion in these six I’ve chosen . Have at it in the comments if inclined and maybe we can strike up a controversy or two to warm up the long winter nights.

-Craft breweries in planning will finally top out, and we’ll see dramatically more brewery closings this year than we’ve seen in the recent past.

-“Buy local” will hit the mainstream and larger flagships from big craft breweries will take a hit due to this trend.

There will be even more tension between larger craft brewers and smaller craft brewers as both realize that their business models and needs are dramatically different.  Brick-and-mortar brewers will also be taking more pot shots at contract brewers.

-Craft vs crafty will not be a major issue this year as everybody finds they’re tired of talking about it, and there’s little you can do about it anyway because nobody gives a damn.

-The industry will wake up to find that a surprisingly large amount of beer is now sold directly to the public through more lenient on-site sales by brewers in more states, more lenient laws allowing cross-pollination between production breweries and brewpubs, along with brewery-run beer clubs.  Indie retailers will be the surprising champions to swing the pendulum back toward regulated three-tier.

-At least two notable craft brewers will be sold to either private equity or to bigger brewers.

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