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"Big Beer dresses up in craft brewers' clothing" CNN-Money

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by LambicKing, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. LambicKing

    LambicKing Member

    Location:
    Virginia
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thank you for posting that link. It was a well researched and written article!

    I found the following of particular note:

    “Craft and Big Beer don't exactly have a cozy history with each other. Big breweries, especially Anheuser-Busch, exert a huge amount of control over the distribution system, well beyond quaint concepts of good-spirited competition.

    That distribution system is a complex one, with a tangle of varying state regulations, some of which date back to the repeal of prohibition. Most states operate on a three-tier system of brewer, distributor, and retailer. This system was created after prohibition to prevent an imbalance of power, specifically from allowing the bigger breweries of the time from manhandling small mom-and-pop bars.

    Based on that goal, the system works. But the middle tier -- the wholesalers -- are not nearly as independent as intended and are often in the pocket of the big brewers. Getting access to the market is tightly controlled by the powerful players. As many people I spoke to put it, the big brewers will "ask" their wholesalers to focus more on their portfolio of products. This pressure takes many forms, but as an in-depth investigation by Crain's Chicago Business found in 2010, it is sometimes in the form of illegal pay-to-play practices. And even though some wholesalers may see opportunity to grow their business by pushing more craft brands, they also know better than to bite the hand that feeds them.

    "Anheuser Busch can snap their fingers and the distribution network will get it on shelves and get it on tap handles and knock off other brewers who have been on those tap handles," says the Brewer's Association's Gatza. "In an ideal world, those decisions would be made by the beer drinker…."

    I also thought the story on how Anheuser-Busch attacked Sam Adams to be noteworthy as well:

    “A Harvard grad, Koch (no relation to Greg Koch, mentioned above) left a job at Boston Consulting Group to pursue his family trade. Koch's grandfather was a brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch. "My personal experience with them began in January of 1996. In 1996, they began a yearlong, full-scale attack campaign focused on doing as much damage as they could do to my business. And it began with kicking us out of virtually all of the Anheuser-Busch wholesalers. And then they started a PR campaign, which attacked Sam Adams."

    Jim Koch went to the Better Business Bureau to have the ads reviewed, claiming they were false and misleading, and the bureau ruled in Koch's favor. Anheuser-Busch agreed to stop the ads. Jim Koch saw this as an attempt not just to thwart his efforts but to slow the growth of the craft industry overall. "But I don't have any bitterness about it -- they were just competing. False and misleading advertising was pretty hardball, but they played hardball. It's business. They're not required to be nice."

    Cheers!
  3. creepinjeeper

    creepinjeeper Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    “A Harvard grad, Koch (no relation to Greg Koch, mentioned above) left a job at Boston Consulting Group to pursue his family trade. Koch's grandfather was a brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch. "My personal experience with them began in January of 1996. In 1996, they began a yearlong, full-scale attack campaign focused on doing as much damage as they could do to my business. And it began with kicking us out of virtually all of the Anheuser-Busch wholesalers. And then they started a PR campaign, which attacked Sam Adams."

    All the more reason to buy more SA!
  4. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Member

    Location:
    New York
    Decent enough article but where was mention of Jack McAuliffe/Albion and Fritz Maytag/Anchor? As much as Jim Koch did, he wasn't the first.

    But don't ya just love corporate spin? I'd like to see the AB commentors regurgitate their statements live on YouTube or something so I could see how they keep from cracking up laughing.
  5. jacksback

    jacksback Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Good article, but useless post. And I don't mean that in a negative sense on the OP; only that, this is old news. And the fans of GI will go to great lengths to prove that big brewery aquisition of craft brewers isn't bad. In some cases, even worthy of thanks.

    While those of us who care where our beer really comes from continue making the same informed decisions.

    I did find one line from the article especially amusing-
    Ooops.
  6. Insubordinator

    Insubordinator Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    HA!
  7. Keithstone44

    Keithstone44 Member

    Location:
    Indiana
    "The thing that people can be confident in is that the Goose Island brewers are still the ones leading the brewery."


    -It was inevitable that AB would take over the day-to-day operations, which include the brewing process, at GI. The increased production of their barrel aging program has paid off, thus far, but they have just lost their brewmaster in the process. I hate to say this, but this does not bode well for GI continuing to be noted as a remarkable brewery.

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