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BMC vs. Craft beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by otispdriftwood, Aug 27, 2013.

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  1. Providence

    Providence Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I think they would absolutely keep Hopslam, just as the did BCBS. If they got rid of it, or watered down the recipe then all the craft drinkers that searched out that brew would migrate to a competitor that makes a similar, and probably pretty darn good, brew. Keep the craft stuff, expand the middle of the road craft-experimenters are interested in and continue production of all the AAL's. Doing that gets you the money from all three types of beer drinkers.
  2. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    yes typo:confused: I meant to type "nillion" but wasn't sure which side of QWERTY was better--right or left--to err on
  3. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    Actually, I thing they would find a way to bring it down to $18 and everyone would feel it's such a bargain, they could sell 6 million bbl of this alone... not... but definitely an uptick and an upside
  4. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    New Belgium and CCB are prime for takeover... :p Duvel, Heineken, AB and MC are getting in line...
  5. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Where are they going to get 6,000,0000 used Bourbon Barrels lol.
    VictorWisc likes this.
  6. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    Good question. I hear there is a store in Chicago that barrel-ages coffee beans before roasting. Not just bourbon--cognac, absinthe, you name it... Ah! Here it is! It would make for an interesting collaboration to recycle those barrels for stout after they've aged coffee in them. Less booze in the wood, of course, but just think of the combined aroma! [Hope some enterprising Chicago brewer is reading this...]
  7. BurgeoningBrewhead

    BurgeoningBrewhead Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    They'll never spend the money and time it takes to create quality craft beer. Craft drinkers are not their target audience with their Blue Moon/Shock Top/etc. efforts, those are aimed at keeping BMC drinkers who might move into craft thinking they're getting craft when they're not.
  8. Providence

    Providence Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I think that everyone that likes beer is their target audience. They have about 80% of that audience on lock already. While they will certainly work to retain that 80% and make sure no one steals them, I believe that they will also focus on getting the remaining 20%.
  9. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    I don't think they really care as much about getting those 20%, as long one as one of their macro competitors does not get to them either. Blue Moon (BM for short on medical charts) is not so much to capture the craft of wannabee craft crowd as to create a buffer between craft people and themselves so that another macro cannot access them easily. Same with Platinum, same with Lime-a-ritas (what exactly is their competition? Smirnoff Ice? Mike's Hard? Leinie Lemon Shandy?). They are not venturing into new territories with the new products--just staking out their turf among the potentially disenchanted.
  10. Providence

    Providence Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I disagree with that statement. I think their purchase of Goose Island and continuation of BCBS (and possible expansion of it) says otherwise.
  11. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    Don't think they had a choice with BCBS and the Saisons. Once they decided they wanted Honker's, IPA and 312, it was cheaper to go along with keeping the rest and keeping the brewers happy (including those who cashed out). I doubt they were doing it because they wanted to expand significantly into craft--those three are hardly even close to being great and they have more cross-over appeal than hard-core BAs. But if you want the brewery to keep humming and to keep the pulse on new trends, you make them happy. YMMV
  12. Providence

    Providence Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    So why wouldn't they just ditch BCBS and the saisons now? It seems like they aren't doing that at all....
  13. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    If we are believe GI people, it's in the contract--try to interfere with the craft operation and the sale is void. That's almost verbatim what I got from them at ACBF--don't know how high in the chain was the person I spoke with, but that's what I was told. I have no reason to doubt it, unless they disclaim it.

    PS: I should also note that I am one of the more aggressive defenders of GI on BA against "BMC!" attacks. And this position is based in no small part on that statement. If it turns out to be mere propaganda, I suppose, I'll be disappointed and move on. But, so far, I have no reason to doubt it. We can all speculate unless we see the actual contract language and I doubt that will ever come to pass. No GI "truthers" I suppose (or "birthers").
    Providence likes this.
  14. Providence

    Providence Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Good info, thanks for sharing.
  15. cavedave

    cavedave Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Really? Do you get Deschutes in Florida? We don't in New York. I would love it if they bought Deschutes and gave them the money to make as much Abyss, BB Ann. ales, Mirror Mirror, Hop Henge, and ramp up all their delcious regular lineup so that they are on shelf and reasonably priced?

    I pray the day they buy Deschutes and do this comes tomorrow. People prayed ABI wouldn't buy GI.

    Everyone's down on ABI, and rightfully so, they're a company that does business like a real dick. But they also can do amazing things with their bread, like GI.

    Or how about Founders, and make KBS a shelf beer, and ramp up CBS production somehow, and make the regulars nation wide, or anything Founders would do if they had the money and capacity. Or Bells. Or any of the fine breweries whose finest beers are hard to get even in their home distro. Don't folks realize the game that is being played with limited distro craft beers, and us chasing them and running the values up? Okay, BMC do unethical things, but let's be real craft brewers aren't holy angels, they're businesmen looking to make a buck same as the rest.
    LMT likes this.
  16. jivex5k

    jivex5k Apr 13, 2011 Florida

    Good tasting beer will not make me cast aside my dislike.
    Changing their business practices will. (Of course if the beer tastes bad I won't buy it to begin with)
    If my favorite craft breweries started litigation against other breweries over similar names, and started lobbying against 64oz growlers, I'd stop buying beer from them.

    Also, Goose Island is already creeping in, taking up shelf space and taps that could go to better beers. What's next, Deschute's doing the same? Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather see Funky Buddha on tap, or Cigar City, or Great Divide, or Bells.
  17. rgordon

    rgordon Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Hop Slam is a perfect example. Tell me that they don't ramp up extra double super hype for the narrow window release. They could make more, but damn, that's profitable to have consumers chasing distributor's trucks account to account and drooling around retail places like hounds. Besides, it's a huge pain in the ass to manage small allocations when every account thinks that they deserve more than they really do. There is way too much good beer out there for there to be all of this fuss, but folks love to play the game! Like I've said before, the big boys can buy up good brands and give them a shot, but in the long run they don't mind killing off the new brand if their numbers aren't just right. Business 101.
  18. BurgeoningBrewhead

    BurgeoningBrewhead Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I think they're confused; they think craft beer is stealing their market share, but that's only an illusion caused by the fact that their products also contain the word "beer." At least a partial sector of craft drinkers never drank BMC, and are an entirely new market. In that way, I think that to some degree there are really two separate markets.
    Sure there are the odd consumers who dabble in both worlds, but a larger percentage probably sticks to one or the other.
    VictorWisc likes this.
  19. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Sorry, but you can't have 500 breweries being sold in all 50 states. They will all go broke.
    VictorWisc likes this.
  20. Providence

    Providence Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I agree with this, but I think the guys still want the money from both.
    BurgeoningBrewhead likes this.
  21. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    You make good points but it isn't always taking shelf space from better beers. Here in Phoenix the local beers are very mediocre in my opinion, and finally the local restaurants and chains are adding more Goose Island and dropping some of the mediocre local stuff. In this case, it is a win. Sure I'd rather they add some great California, Colorado, etc. beers but for now I'll take the current situation as a major improvement. I've been in some parts of the South where I swear that it was just Abita everywhere and I would gladly have preferred a Goose Island product.

    I'm just not fully on board with the view that the Goose Island thing or similar is necessarily bad.
    champ103 and cavedave like this.
  22. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    My suspicion is that AB jumped on GI opportunity to go after one brewer--BBC--not the entire field. Sam Adams in one incarnation or another is making it on restaurant and institutional menus where BMC used to dominate, so they have to consider it a real threat. Pushing anyone else aside for tap space would be a bonus for AB. To be honest, even AB-brewed GI beers would be better than straight BMC lineup, but I'd rather see GI and Sam Adams in these situations, not GI or Sam Adams.
    TongoRad likes this.
  23. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Yeah I think you may be right, but they may also take some space from other craft options. In my case AZ seems to have a lot of Midwest folks who are snowbirds or retired here from the Midwest, so it seems to be doing very well because it is so recognized. The two are very close in price as well.
    VictorWisc likes this.
  24. GoGators

    GoGators Aug 5, 2010 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Doesn't Goose Island refute that argument?
    VictorWisc likes this.
  25. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Jul 5, 2013 Oregon

    If you'll allow me the benefit of some clarification, let me discuss the million barrel metric I mentioned before. It's not as cut and dry as it may seem at first pass. When we release a new product at AB, we have a volume goal in mind. I'll provide a recent example using everyone's favorite non-beer, Lime-a-rita (I'm not sure why ya'll like to dis it so much here, it's not even a beer nor does it claim to be) - it's initial goal during release year was around a half million barrels. It ended up selling quite a bit over a million; the demand from our wholesalers was insane. We actually could not make it fast enough. That performance pretty much made sure it would be in production for years to come.

    Now, if that hadn't happened...if we had projected around a half million barrels and it sold a half million barrels, we would have tried to increase volume the following year. Failing that, the brand would likely be pulled - especially considering how much it annoys the brewers to make ;)

    A million barrels makes sure a brand will stick around. There are some weird ones that I would almost consider grandfathered in - Jesskidden mentioned Michelob Golden Draft. It's not distributed nationally, and it was designed to be a direct competitor to Miller Genuine Draft. Sort of a Shakespearean "thumb bite" from August Busch to Miller. Even though he is no longer around, there's a lot of inertia around canceling the brand because it has a loyal following. Same with Ziegenbock (not the thumb bite part, just the loyal following part). If those brands were to come out today, they may not make the cut (I couldn't say for sure - they might). But they're established, a lot of people like them, and so they stay.

    Pacific Ridge was actually a really excellent Ale. I think it suffered more from obscurity than anything. AB hesitated to market it widely or directly against SNPA for fear of seeming like a bully - they just wanted to make a beer as good and put it out there. With no real marketing, it kind of got lost in the shuffle, especially since it didn't have a romantic craft brewery up-by-my-bootstraps story to go along with it. Regardless, it was as good or better than many craft pale ales.

    There's some speculation in this thread that is spot on ("it's probably not worth it to BMC to make craft clones...yet") and there's some that's wildly inaccurate ("the quality ingredients cost too much"). If ya'll have any specific question, I would be happy to try and answer them (from the Anheuser-Busch perspective, at least).
  26. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Jul 5, 2013 Oregon

    This is actually a bit of a problem...
    VictorWisc likes this.
  27. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Just wondering how many barrels of BCBS does ABI think it could sell in a year?
  28. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Jul 5, 2013 Oregon

    "ABI" doesn't really think it about it too much. GI operates somewhat independently, and AB is not frequently involved with the brands that haven't been taken national (which is most of them). But I'm friends with the Brewmaster, Brett Porter, so I get to hear about all the other little experiments they have going. I know both GI and AB would like to expand their barrel programs, but honestly it's one of the most resource consuming things in brewing. The barrels themselves, the massive amount of space it takes to house them, etc. It would take several years of infrastructure building in order to take BCBS even to a "semi-national" level, and I'm not sure the demand would keep up. For the people that like it (myself included), it's a fantastic beer. But to most people, it's a really strange concoction that doesn't resemble what they think of as "beer".

    It's not just GI, either. I've had the pleasure of touring barrel programs all over the pacific coast, and getting quality non-infected barrels isn't trivial (you may want to put Brettanomyces in it eventually, but you want it to be your Brett, damnit!). If you want wine barrels, it's a little easier. Bourbon is harder to come by. I suppose if you didn't want used barrels, you could probably get as many as you wanted, but a brand new barrel would make for some pretty undrinkable beer (even a beer that's had 3 different vintages in it will still give a lot of oak to beer).
    mindspin315 and VictorWisc like this.
  29. LMT

    LMT Oct 15, 2009 Virginia

    Why is it that many times when I read statements from a BMC rep, they include comments like this one? It makes me think less of "the big boys" each time I do. Seems like a pot-shot at drinkers who don't like their products.

    I drink beer for taste, if I want romance, I'll get that from my wife.
  30. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Jul 5, 2013 Oregon

    Wasn't a pot-shot at all. I happen to like the romance of beer, brewing, and beer culture. I grew up in Oregon alongside the explosion of the craft beer movement, which I joined as soon as I was (legally) able to. There's no denying that there's a romantic, underdog cachet that goes along with being a successful craft brewery. AB had it themselves in the late 1800s, when they were positioning themselves as the brewers beating the Germans at their own game. Once you're on top, you lose that romance and become a target. It's just the way it is, it's not a pot-shot at anyone.
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Peter, thanks for posting! It has been a while since we ‘heard’ from you.


    VictorWisc likes this.
  32. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    Contrary to my normal position on the issue, I'm all in favor of bottle limits on Lime-a-Rita, since it's such a rarity--none to a customer. OK, maybe one.
    Just Wow! Left me speechless for a few moments.

    I, of course, agree with the observation on Lime-a-Rita--it's not even a beer, so why all the hate? But I don't think it's so much "hate" as mocking the "sheeple" taste for "malternatives" precisely because they don't taste like beer. People don't drink Smirnoff Ice or MHL just to fit in or necessarily because of marketing--they actively dislike what they think of as "beer taste". If they wanted to fit in, they'd be happy with AALs. So, instead of drinking AALs, they drink something that, to most people here, tastes even worse. The mistake, however, lies in believing that if only these malternative drinkers tried good beer they would change their minds and join the craft revolution. Uhm... no. Aside from the obvious claim that they may actually dislike beer, not just AAL, there is also the issue of peer pressure (beer pressure?) manifested in anti-elitism. When people are in a crowd--even in small company--and everyone is drinking the same swill, expressing the preference for a relatively exclusive product, even if does taste better, will seem elitist. (Just recall the movie scene with the guy going everywhere with his own bottle of wine... can't recall the specific film.) BA is the beer nonconformist forum, but even here some claims may seem quite elitist.
  33. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    I'll second that.
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