The article discusses the growth of the craft brewing industry and the challenges the industry is currently facing.

Getting Started

Appropriate subject areas(s):

Entrepreneurship, marketing, consumer education

Key questions to explore:

  • What is the best approach to analyzing complex challenges?
Study and Discussion Activity

Students will identify the challenges facing this industry and sort them by level of complexity. This promotes critical thinking and collaboration.


Albert Einstein once said: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask.”  This lesson will have students analyze the challenges this industry is facing.


  • Discuss the Albert Einstein quote with the class. What ideas do they have on how to determine what the proper questions might be?
  • Students will sort the challenges identified in the article into four categories. The four categories are: Simple, complicated, complex, or chaotic.  A challenge is simple if the solution is known and reliable; complicated when an outside expert is required to help solve the problem but with predictable results; complex when there are multiple “right” answers and there are no data on the success of any of the “right” answers; and chaotic when things are unstable and changing to the extent that it is not possible to predict the outcome.
  • Ask students what they know about the craft brewing industry.
  • Distribute the article for reading.
  • Ask students to work in pairs to identify the challenges outlined in the article for the craft brewing industry.
  • Review the categories for sorting challenges.
  • Have students sort the challenges they identified into the four categories based on how obvious the solution is and how predictable the outcome is.
  • Combine groups and have pairs share and modify categories based on the discussion.


  • Ask students if they see any patterns in the work they have just completed.  Discuss as a class.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students understand how to use this tool to analyze challenges.

Confirming Activity:

  • Working in their groups, ask students to formulate the question as per Einstein’s quote.