One of the things I never hear talked about in these conversations is charging more. It's like in a debate accepting the premise of the opposing side and arguing from there - not a recipe for winning.
Now I realize the limitations of my point here, but I think it should be on the table nonetheless. So, The big breweries have the economy of scale on their side. Their strength is also their weakness. Ask what am I selling? If it is just good beer, you've accepted their premise and you lose / can't make a living at it.
But look at it a different way: What do people want to buy, what are they willing to pay for, when they purchase a pint of good beer and what is it worth to them? Where is it written in stone that beer can only be sold for $5 a pint?
There are several angles to be taken here to be able to charge more. The hardest is clever marketing. This takes creativity that few have, but maybe you are one. Can you, through marketing demand a premium for your beer? A lot of breweries do. It can be just a clever name (Arrogant Bastard), or if the stars really line up you can create a cult following (3 Floyds).
But I think somethings are in the reach of most brewers. Think about yourself. Do you/would you value a relationship with a Brewer? If you could have the sense that you are an 'insider' in a brewery, what kind of loyalty would that inspire? And then if you can create a micro-culture from this, the sky is the limit.
What about appealing to people's natural curiosity? Teach and educate people on beer. Engage their brains - that's worth more than what Bud, et al., or even Russian River is doing. They can't put a brewer in front of the customer.
I could go on and on. The point is that the beer experience can be so much more than buying a pint of something that tastes good and gives a buzz. Sell the other things and people will love you and pay more for your beer, which equals profit.
Key words: relationship, information, experience, identity. Sell those for more than $5 per pint.