- Market dominated by a few big companies making technically competent but bland products (Gallo, Italian Swiss Colony vs. A-B, SABMiller, & Molson Coors);
- Strong import sales dominated by products essentially similar to domestic products, but "imported!" (Lancer's, Mateus, Riunite vs. Corona, Heineken, and Labatt Blue);
- Product seen generally as either expensive to be sipped by a few rich snobs and or jug-cheap to be chugged by drunks (French imports and jug wines vs. microbrews and malt liquor);
- 'Shocking' successes by small American producers in blind competitions against Old World producers (The Judgment of Paris vs. great performances by American brewers in the UK-based Brewing Industry International Awards over the past ten years);
- The rise of small producers emphasizing quality and variety (Mondavi, et al vs. Sierra Nevada and Anchor, et al.).
That's the seed. The real nut, and the pay-off of the column, is the implications for the beer industry and craft beer in particular. Go read.