1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Tom Long, MillerCoors CEO, asks consumers to judge brewers by the quality of their beers

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by Todd, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Member

    Location:
    Kentucky
    Are we sure consistency is a good thing?

    Sometimes, sure, but not always.
  2. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Member

    Location:
    California
    In the case of beer, consistency is good. Tastes are different. But consistency is what makes people come back to their old staple beers. If the flavor was always varied, why would you go back? And in the case of BCBS, consistency and larger scale production will happen, which likely couldn't happen at the same time before they were bought.

    Again though, BCBS may not be as good as everyone knows it now, but it will be consistent and more widely available
  3. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Member

    Location:
    Kentucky
    Ask Dany Prignon.

    People keep going back to Fantôme, and I dont think he even thinks about consistency.
    Johnnyramirez likes this.
  4. tabascosigned

    tabascosigned Member

    Location:
    Virginia
    I judge MillerCoors by not buying their product (99% of the time...wink)...simple.
    If the masses want to drink their stuff, let 'em; who cares?
    ...especially if they enjoy it. I won't piss on someone else's happiness.
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  5. coreyfmcdonald

    coreyfmcdonald Member

    Location:
    Georgia
    Because they could potentially (and have in some cases) tried to limit the amount of craft beer that is available. When I say "they" here, I mean BMC in general.
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  6. Crusader

    Crusader Member

    Location:
    Sweden
    My main problem with the BMC as a Swede would be their drive towards uniformity of beer styles, offering three basic types of beer, one mainstream adjunct lager with a low IBU, one light lager with high attenuation and a similarly low IBU and a higher abv malt liquor with more alcohol and a low IBU. Having grown up in Sweden and come of age in the late 2000s I don't detest the American macro brewers, they offer an alternative here in Sweden which is ligther in taste than the Swedish counterparts. Next to the Miller Genuine Draft or the Budweiser at 14 crowns a bottle I have a bottle of Samuel Adams at 16 crowns or a Bottle of Brooklyn lager at 17 crowns. Then I have a bunch of Swedish pale lagers at 11-15 crowns per 50cl can 33cl bottle.

    The choices are plentiful and I have never experienced a period of time where beer was limited to adjunct lagers (which Swedish lagers tended to be prior to the late 80s/early 90s). I thus find AAL's to be less pernicious than alot of American craft beer drinkers, I've always had choice, and so I've never felt as though I've had to choose one over the other. But if Swedish brewers started to brew their pale lagers with adjuncts and lowering their IBU levels to the low tens then I'd be concerned, I'd feel as though my ability to pick a beer I enjoy was being restricted.

    But as long as there is choice, I am able to pick a bunch of different pale Swedish macro lagers at 20ish+ IBUs, complemented by Swedish micro lagers at 30+ IBUs, Swedish micro IPAs etc, and then on to American adjunct macro lagers at 10 something IBUs, to German pilsners at 30IBUs, to Czech pilsners, to British pale ales, bitters, to American west coast IPAs and Pale Ales, to American craft lagers such as Sam Adams boston lager and Brooklyn Lager etc.

    I understand if an American out of principle wont touch the American macro lagers since they have, without question, contributed to a dumbing down of the flavor profile of pale lager or adjunct lager beer over the last century. But this also means that we will have very different experiences when it comes to lager beer across the pond, and differing opinions as to the taste and worthiness of American adjunct lagers. A style which I happen to enjoy alongside all the others.
    omnigrits and JackHorzempa like this.
  7. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Member

    Location:
    California
    Well played. It is 1 very good example. But I think as a whole consistency is good for beer. But I completely see your point
  8. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Member

    Location:
    Kentucky
    I do think consistency is important, it just isnt the end all and be all as some like to use it in these discussions. Consistency is not quality. As the example I gave shows. If a beer is a regular, always available release, consistency makes sense. But for periodic released beers, I dont see why the 2012 "vintage" should taste like the 2011 or 2010.

    In the high end wine world, no one expects consistency. Same for things like single barrel bourbons. Same for some beers.

    In fact, this might help define that craft vs non. If you are measuring "quality" by things like consistency, or other manufacturing terms, you are a factory brewer, not a craft brewer. If you are measuring "quality" by things like flavor, you are a craft brewer. That doesnt mean craft brewers arent also trying for consistency (although they may not be), it means it isnt their measure of quality.

    Think of some other craft, like blacksmithing. The craftsman smith is making individual products that may or may not be consistent. They have mostly been replaced by industrial processes that strive for consistency.
    jacksback and cavedave like this.
  9. DogTown

    DogTown Member

    Location:
    California
    As a professional brewer I see the term Quality merely as a chosen point on a curve. The X axis is Time and the vertical Y axis is Flavor.

    The curve descends from maxY at timeX=0 to minimumY at timeX=maximum.

    As a brewer you pick your point on that governing curve and to the extent you achieve your goal, you are brewing Quality.

    Want maxY flavor? Drink it at timeX=0.

    You want to be able to leave the beer in the garage for three months without worrying about flavor problems? Be prepared to accept minimum flavorY= ~0. It is only good sense.

    If you give that a little thought the quality thing kind'a evaporates...

    MC and ABI make the beer they do because bazillions of humans seem to prefer to be able leave their beer in the garage. Years ago they made BlueMoon almost by accident and then by accident they kept making it and today they seem smart as a result. Even a broken clock is correct twice a day. I'm ok with the idea, if you buy into that basic idea of Quality, that we AND Coor's can make Quality Beers.

    As a professional brewer I am really bugged by this whole BA name-calling thing and also bugged by the big brewers pouty responses.... but then, whatever.

    I feel that this whole 'debate' is a ridiculous thing for the board of the BA to have engaged in. It gave the 'would-be' victims genuine 'victim' status and provided a pedestal for them from which to make the statements you have reprinted here. The BA provided them with the identity. You provided these brewers with their business. Mine too.

    Those 'victim' statements are well designed to 'take the high road' and cloud the dialogue with reasonableness. The discriminations made be by the BA provided the basis for the victim's own claim of 'authenticity'. I detest that word. It is as meaningless as Craft Beer has become or as Organic now is. In the end Craft is as Craft does. Craft is like pornography that way. One knows it when one sees it.

    I'd suggest that this BA (BeerAdvocate) take the term Craft back from the world of brewers who would wear it like a clown suit and simply support what you like- and if you want to call that craft, then that is your's to do. Whenever you hear a brewer, or worse yet; an organization, try to assume the robe, you should assert your souverign rights to the term 'Craft' and be your own word police.

    For the record; Our Chicago distributor was recently bought by a very interesting and cool distributor who also distributes MC's quality products. MC thought for a moment, maybe longer (maybe still) that they would try to prevent the transaction. Why? You would have to ask them. But, give it a little thought...

    Another thing is that when you read the words of Steve Hindy, whether you agree or disagree, you are reading the words of the modern day counterpart of the fuckin founder of Miller, or of AB, or of Guiness, or of Pabst. When you read the words of a most high senior manager of MC or ABI, you are only reading the words of a very sucessful manager, nothing more. Think about it a little bit...

    At a recent NYC talk I said that fish swim in water but they probably have no idea what water is. What is the water then that surrounds us today in the American beer scene? What is it that we are not seeing completely?

    Craft brewing is a living thing that is not describable and can not be claimed, and most of all can not be defended. I think it 'just is' in the same way that rock-and-roll just fuckin is and, like pornography, you know it when you hear it. That is all that I have to say about that. Happy New Year, yous.
  10. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Member

    Location:
    New York
    Comparing macro beer to craft beer using quality as your measurement is like comparing apples and oranges. The "quality" of the product is entirely subjective to the person assessing that "quality". As others have stated previously, the macros produce consistent beer, which is interpreted by its supporters as a quality product. The crafts produce more flavorful beer, which also can be interpreted by its supporters as a quality product. Unless you say that the macros use inferior raw ingredients, it's still a "quality" product and if they do use inferior raw ingredients, is it possible to produce a consistent product? IMO, only someone directly involved in the start to finish macro brewing process can answer that question so don't bother unless you are.

    Next question: If Coors did label Blue Moon as brewed by Coors and not try to make people think it was brewed by a small brewer, would you buy it? If ABInBev labeled Shock Top as brewed by AB, would you buy it? I think not.
  11. fox227

    fox227 Member

    Location:
    California
    Let's say you have a person (me) who has never tried a Coors beer more than one time, and I tell you that I hated it. But then you tell me that it's "quality" because it's the same every time! Well, why would I want the same beer I hated every time? Yikes. I guess then by your definition I don't like "quality."
  12. Snowrs

    Snowrs Member

    Location:
    Indiana
    No you don't like that quality product. You could set the worlds best Foie Gras in front of me and I would not eat it. Not because it is not a quality product but because I don't like the taste and texture.
  13. mcintire78

    mcintire78 Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    This is really the main point. The guy can't ask people to judge beer solely by what's in the glass while trying as hard as possible, behind the scenes, to make sure that the only thing you can get in your glass comes from his company.
  14. pghlee

    pghlee Member

    Location:
    Georgia
    A lot of BAs are in the beer business and i would say most would never buy BMC products no matter how good the beer gets. I try and spend our money with people we know,its that simple
    bradcochran1234 likes this.
  15. TheBeerDad

    TheBeerDad Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    Why do I always get a headache when I read things like that...
  16. HipsterBrewfus

    HipsterBrewfus Member

    Location:
    Maryland
    This guy must have some huge balls to defend his piece of shit product. I find it hard to believe that anyone drinks a Coors and says "THIS IS A REALLY GOOD BEER!"

    We DO judge you by quality, and your quality is garbage.
  17. Snowrs

    Snowrs Member

    Location:
    Indiana
    Sigh..... Inconceivable! This thread reminds me of The Princess Bride
  18. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Member

    Location:
    Kentucky
    See my comment above, consistency != quality.
  19. Snowrs

    Snowrs Member

    Location:
    Indiana
    That is your take on Quality, from an engineering and product based background, meeting specific values set forth in the product description every time is the definition of quality. Lets use your example. If you purchased A bottle of Pliny but got a beer that had much less hop character yet still an excellent beer you would light these boards up with complaints. Once you have branded a product the customer has a reasonable expectation of said product.

    A Coors tastes the same EVERY time, I can go into a bar and order a Coors and know exactly what to expect, and to its target customer that is the exact taste they want, any deviation would be a lack of quality on their part even if it was a perfect beer to a craft drinkers pallet.
  20. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Member

    Location:
    Kentucky
    No I wouldnt. You clearly dont know me. Its almost as bad as the idiots who say I still buy BCBS, even though I dont drink stouts.

    Once again, Dany Prignon.

    As I also said, it is the difference between industrial brewing and craft brewing, IMO. Industrial brewing considers consistency to be quality, because that is the kind of things factory managers look at. But that is not how craftsmen measure quality.

    Considering I am an engineer, that is my background.
    jacksback likes this.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    As a ‘reminder’ the below verbiage was in the 5th post to this thread:

    “So, he has the view: “because we are confident that the quality of our beers stacks up well versus that of any brewer of any size, anywhere.”

    This is a challenging statement to discuss since the word “quality” can have differing definitions. If you define “quality” to mean a consistent product then I suppose Tom Lang can defend this statement. In the context of craft beer I would argue that the word “quality” has a different definition. I am confident that the majority of BeerAdvocates would view the word “quality” in the craft beer context to be a flavorful and tasty beer. While “flavorful and tasty” are indeed subjective, those words would not be applied to the majority of the MillerCoors products via BeerAdvocates.”

    Cheers!
  22. herrburgess

    herrburgess Member

    Location:
    South Carolina
    Wait...have you abandoned the notion that GABF medals are objective indicators of quality? ;)

    As Jesskidden pointed out in the 85th post to this thread:

    2011 GABF WINNERS
    Category: 33 American-Style Specialty Lager or Cream Ale or Lager - 31 Entries
    Gold: Red Dog, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI


    And that's only go back one year. Probably a dozen more examples in the past 30 years or so of the GABF.
  23. jacksback

    jacksback Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Craft beer doesn't work like that. Sorry. For that definition of quality (which IS entirely subjective to begin with) to have a chance of working in craft beer, things like "hop character", "malt backbone", and "finish" would have to be quantifiably laid out.

    RR decribes Pliny as being "well-balanced with malt, hops, and alcohol, slightly bitter with a fresh hop aroma of floral, citrus, and pine". There are no specific values there.

    You're doing a terrible job of attempting a semantic debate where none is needed.
  24. knucks999

    knucks999 Member

    Location:
    Colorado
    Except that RR does have specific values for those flavor definitions. They worry about hitting their alcohol and BUs the same way a large brewer does.
  25. Snowrs

    Snowrs Member

    Location:
    Indiana

    Lovibond
    IBU
    Specific Gravity
    Viscosity
    ABV

    These are all specific measures that are acceptable to describe a beer and sure are specific measurable results. If you brew a beer with the same ingredients and achieve identical results and follow up with a professional taste tester. If you don't think that Vinnie at Russian River does not have these measurements for his beers you are kidding yourself. Brewers are just as much scientists as they are craftsman. If a batch came out fantastic but infected with Brett they would not release it as Pliny. Why.... Because it does not represent the criteria set forth for a batch of beer to be Pliny.

    An inconsistent product is a bad product period.
  26. jacksback

    jacksback Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Yes, they do- but those specific values are secondary to the overall flavor and quality of the beer. Those qualities are not defined in the same manner across all industries.

    Unlike the big brewers, whose only claim towards making good beer can be "consistency", craft brewers do not strive for every batch to be identical. They strive for every batch to be good.

    Every McDonalds burger is close to identical, as they are manufactured. Every Filet Mignon from a great steakhouse is NOT identical... they're just good.

    As noted, you're attempting a semantic debate where none is warranted.
  27. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    There many things in craft brewing that happen that do not show up on sell sheets. I have never been to the RR production brewery, and don't know if they have a lab. But there are many parameters that even a homebrewer can measure and attempt to control. From having heard Vinnie speak several times, he knows how to control his IPAs, while blending is how he controls the sours. I'm sure you have seen this from Vinnie Cilurzo, maybe not.

    The 6 "P's" of Brewing:
    Prudent Beer making
    Practices
    Prevent
    Piss
    Poor
    Performance

    There are many example of breweries that let a beer kiss the sewer rather than send out defective beer, and there are those that ship defective beer. I know which one I want. There was the DFH 120 that went down the drain on Brewmasters, due to low attenuation from the yeast.

    Phantom is something that has variation, and you don't know what you are going to get. Sometimes it is fantastic and sometimes, well, it is not what one expects.

    Can a quality beer (the colloquial meanign) have quality issues (defects, infections, etc)?

    Edit - there are sensory panels where the beers are judged by trained panels of tasters, rated and it those ratings do not meet or exceed the standard set by the brewer, then the beer is not packaged and sent to the market.
    Snowrs likes this.
  28. Snowrs

    Snowrs Member

    Location:
    Indiana
    It is the very heart of the debate, he says judge is by the quality of our beer. If you define quality as producing a defined product exactly every time which is a definition of quality then there are very few brewers in the country that can compete and he is correct.

    You, me and everyone on this board may not enjoy his product but saying it is crap and not a quality product is wrong.

    Think of it this way. If they put their quality control methods in place at your favorite brew, it would not be a different beer it would just be the exact same beer every time and for you that would be an awesome thing.
  29. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Member

    Location:
    Kentucky
    More Fantome for me, I guess.

    Hint: that is me saying you are very, very wrong.
  30. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Member

    Location:
    Kentucky
    [quote="Snowrs, post: 794882, member: 379941" If you define quality as producing a defined product exactly every time which is a definition of quality then there are very few brewers in the country that can compete and he is correct.[/quote]

    Your whole argument is invalid because the premise is false. Most of us DONT define quality that way.
  31. Bitter_Echo

    Bitter_Echo Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    This kind of thing is laughable, but it's also the kind of thing we are stuck with, it seems to me. Well, boohoo to you, I'm sorry your feelings were so damaged by the lack of cred that beer snobs give your beers, but I couldn't care less. As long as I know how this thing works like a machine, I'm not buying it one bit. The science of cornering market share is like an invasive weed, all compromising, destroying and short-circuiting any regular market process that might lead to a better product. It's all about efficiencies, isn't it?

    For what it's worth, it would have to be a hugely awesome product the biggies were pushing before I'd barf out one penny on their behalf, as long as I have a choice. Like, super wet hopped good! The products of a bloated and largely un-restrained capitalism are fairly restrained (or contrained) when you come think about it. The end game of all of this appearing to be monotony. Maybe I'm wrong. (Oh, and yes I have judged the quality of these beers.)
  32. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    Your whole argument is invalid because the premise is false. Most of us DONT define quality that way.[/quote]
    The industry I worked in had their butts handed to them by the Japanese due to a mindset like that.

    Have you never had DFSS training? Does your company only make one off products?
    herrburgess likes this.
  33. Snowrs

    Snowrs Member

    Location:
    Indiana
    The industry I worked in had their butts handed to them by the Japanese due to a mindset like that.

    Have you never had DFSS training? Does your company only make one off products?[/quote]

    Your whole argument is invalid because the premise is false. Most of us DONT define quality that way.[/quote]

    This really does surprise me if you are an engineer, That is THE definition of quality for most, do you follow Six Sigma like hopenenmaltz asked? If not in producing any product that is the first thing you learn. I really don't care what industry you are in, if you are trying to make a product with a consistency which no matter your protests every brewer other than Fantome is trying to do. Then their quality control has these processes in place, the larger the brewery the more of these processes are in place because dumping 100 gallons of beer sucks dumping 1000 sucks much worse.
  34. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Member

    Location:
    Michigan


    Your whole argument is invalid because the premise is false. Most of us DONT define quality that way.[/quote]

    This really does surprise me if you are an engineer, That is THE definition of quality for most, do you follow Six Sigma like hopenenmaltz asked? If not in producing any product that is the first thing you learn. I really don't care what industry you are in, if you are trying to make a product with a consistency which no matter your protests every brewer other than Fantome is trying to do. Then their quality control has these processes in place, the larger the brewery the more of these processes are in place because dumping 100 gallons of beer sucks dumping 1000 sucks much worse.[/quote]

    Or dumping 200 bbls really really sucks. There are ones that have done this.
  35. APreacher

    APreacher Member

    Location:
    California
    Whatever we do in this thread....lets NOT mention Sabco systems and new generation hops.
  36. I had two bottles of the excellent Worthington White Shield the other day, possibly one of the best examples of a "genuine" IPA on the market. But it's a Coors product so should I refuse it?
    Without Coors we would have lost a lot of our brewing heritage.Coors stepped in and rescued the national brewing Centre, financed improvements and expansion to its microbrewery which produces beers such as White Shield and sometime Bass No1. No interference at all with quality issues except that after the investment it's perhaps better.
    They also bought and invested in a small regional brewery called Sharp's , this enabled them to move into the expanding cask ale market. Again, the brewery is left to run without interference.
    If things change I will have to rethink my approach; so far in this country Coors has been a good thing at least in respect of what I've mentioned earlier.Being big doesn't equal bad , sometimes it's the result of doing things well.
  37. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Member

    Location:
    Kentucky
    And it is fundamentally wrong. For one thing, look at the root word. Quality is a qualitative measure, not a quantitative measure. The 6-sigma and etc folks are trying to quantify something that isnt quantifiable. They are using the wrong word.

    Consistency is important. It isnt quality.

    Pretty much. Custom software tailored to the individual customer needs. You might say we were doing "craft" software instead of "industrial" software. :)

    I also do a lot of corporate training. I dont follow the same curriculum every class, I veer off the book into directions that meet my customer needs. In fact, that is why I get repeat business, because Im not just a teaching automaton.

    It only takes one counterexample to prove an argument wrong. And they arent the only one.
  38. jacksback

    jacksback Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    This.

    But you're not going to get anywhere with this argument. Blinders, sematic BS, ignorance, etc.
  39. fox227

    fox227 Member

    Location:
    California
    I realize that there's always going to be a degree of subjectivity, but what I'm about to say is pretty much fact: light beer is a response to the multitude wanting "drinkability" above all else, so BMC uses adjuncts to lighten the body and subtract flavor in order to make a *paler* imitation of a beer (lager) with great traditions and roots in Europe. They don't make them because they are good; they are for people who don't want flavor. It might be "quality," but only for the low, looooooooooooooooow standard that light beer has. I don't like olives, but I won't say they are bad.
  40. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Member

    Location:
    Kentucky
    But sometimes tilting at windmills is fun.

Share This Page