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Bart Watson is the Brewers Association numbers guy, hired in 2013 as its chief economist. When the association issues a press release announcing the total number of US breweries has reached an all-time high in 2015, he is the spokesman quoted.
When a beer is labeled “best by,” the brewery makes a judgment weighing freshness against shelf life, and, presumably, the brewery’s bottom line. With “bottled on” dates, buyers must decide for themselves.