News "Craft or crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth"

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Dec 13, 2012.

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  1. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    The new recipe is an English Pale Ale. Its supposed to be an "authentic" 1930s, just after prohibition type recipe, I think.
  2. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,303) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Ah, but now we're getting the murky area (which I mentioned briefly early today) of how one defines "macro". I'd say "macro" should be reserved for a BIG (10 million barrels and up or so, so even bigger than the B.A.'s "large brewery" definition) nationally-distribute brewing company, most with multiple breweries, etc., so in the above, only Heileman would fit my definition.

    And it would pretty much be limited to (past and present) AB, M-C, Miller, Coors, Heileman, Stroh, Schlitz, Stroh... think that's it for the US.

    You seem to be going with any large regional pre-craft era brewery that brewed American adjunct lager primarily.
  3. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Yep. Its why I used "" around it. Hey, they were all large in my region of the country. Who cares whether they distributed to CA or NJ?

    As an aside, or maybe more on track, the new Falls City is a decent craft beer. But, the places that carry it all carry better craft beer. Partly its just not a style that wows me and makes me go out of my way to have one. Now, if they had gone with a 1910ish era Kentucky Common recipe, that would have been cool.
  4. PangaeaBeerFood

    PangaeaBeerFood Initiate (0) Nov 30, 2008 New York

    I agree with this anti-BMC sentiment. Now excuse me while I enjoy a Bourbon County Stout.
    JavaNoire likes this.
  5. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    People? A pretty fair number of people, from the look of it.

    YOU might not care where your beer comes from and where your money goes, but some people do.

    But hey, you make a really compelling point with the whole "who cares? I don't." argument.

  6. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (401) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    But why does it matter to you? I mean in the beer advocate review form, there are 5 things you rate, and not one of them is "opinion of this brewery's parent company". I read the article that is the first post and it doesn't give any kind of reason why a beer from Kona or Goose Island is inherently bad because of who makes it.
    RoninTK3 likes this.
  7. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,303) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Yeah, still sorta surprises me that no one's jumped on that American "lost style" - even as every old German, Belgian, Polish, Mayan, Egyptian, et. al., beer style/recipe is unearthed and brewed by US craft brewers.

    Even if it is 'tweaked' the way Maytag did with Anchor Steam to meet modern tastes and prejudices (his own, and others'). From what I've read of Kentucky Common, it's not as if the recipe(s) are so specific that they don't allow for a lot of leeway. I mean, look at what Coors can get away with re: the authenticity of Batch 19. Hell, we live in a country where Miller Lite is labeled a "Fine Pilsner Beer" - you can get away with anything.
    SunDevilBeer, rlcoffey and frazbri like this.
  8. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    New Albanian makes one. I homebrew one that definitely fits the "modern interpretation" kind of thing you are talking about (6 row, corn, cluster hops, but to a more modern american craft size, ~5.5% abv).
  9. Handle

    Handle Initiate (145) Mar 16, 2009 North Carolina

    Something no one's talking about:

    The Brewers Association's purpose, as stated on their website, it to "promote and protect small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts."

    In the interests of transparency they published all of this, seemingly to caution against purchasing from "a crafty large brewer, seeking to capitalize on the mounting success of small and independent craft brewers?"

    That's all well and good, but why, then, are breweries like AC Golden, Anheuser-Busch, Leinenkugel, Blue Moon and more among their very members, which "drive and assist upon Association initiatives that are created to support the craft brewing community"?
    JavaNoire likes this.
  10. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,303) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    I'm guessing it has something to do with:

    Associate: Brewery Production > 6 million bbls​

    So, that's a cool $165k just from the 11 AB breweries alone (not counting the CBA breweries, GI, etc).

    Gotta ask, what's in it for them. (Or do they just say, "Oh, look, the 6%'ers are complaining again. How cute!")
    stuart3368 and Handle like this.
  11. udubdawg

    udubdawg Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2006 Kansas

    I'm not going to say where I fall on this debate, perhaps because I haven't completely made up my mind about it.

    just one question on a line in the op-ed that jumped out at me:
    "They sell these beers through their strong distribution channels, but market these faux-craft beers as if they were from independent, locally owned craft breweries."

    is this really true? Seems like an exaggeration. I don't think it is hard to find out who makes these beers, and I've never seen them suggest they are anything like the little brewpub or nano down the street.

    Also, does sale of a craft company immediately turn them into faux-craft, or do we call them A Brewery Formerly Known As Craft, or Craft-ish, or what? And size - I'm wrong a lot, but my recollection is that "craft" definitions have changed as certain breweries got larger. Do breweries become too successful to call craft anymore?

  12. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,550) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Subscriber

    The Brewers Association also allows them to pour (and accepts their sponsorship dollars) at their Great American Beer Festival. Based on my discussions, their reasoning behind this exception is that their definition of "craft brewer" was created after large brewers had already been allowed to participate.
    Handle likes this.
  13. kinopio

    kinopio Disciple (328) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I care. I would rather my money go to the brewer who lives in my area and works hard making and selling his/her beer than some rich suit wearing asshole based in another country who doesn't know the first thing about beer and only got into the industry because of his dad's connections.

    One of those people care about the quality of the beer. The other person only cares about money. I know who I would rather support.
    BeerTwigs likes this.
  14. ClubberLang

    ClubberLang Initiate (0) Jun 1, 2007 Illinois

    A few brewers have done them, although I'm not certain that I've seen any in bottles. Local Option did one that I thought was pretty tasty:
  15. bdub32689

    bdub32689 Initiate (0) May 19, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I think its safe to say more net jobs were created when they took over.
    But thats where I have a problem with this article too. I get there is a difference between true craft breweries and ones ran by bigger companies but the job portion of the article should really be a stand alone article.

    Craft breweries are by definition smaller and have less employee's as a result the bigger the brewery the more jobs created. They would get their point across more if they focused on the quality of the product between large and small breweries
  16. Steeeve

    Steeeve Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2010 Pennsylvania

    As long as no one is being hurt by the products, it is up to consumers to do their own research on where a product comes from and who is selling it. When you buy an Infiniti, is there a sticker inside that says THIS CAR WAS MADE BY NISSAN? Of course there isn't. Does Seasons 52 have DARDEN ALSO OWNS THE OLIVE GARDEN emblazoned on every menu? NO! It's not like these companies are somehow hiding this information and we are all shocked and disgusted by the discovery. The information is there if you want it, and judging by their sales figures, most people don't care that Miller makes Blue Moon or don't care enough to find that out.
  17. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    So, using GI as an example - you are saying the employees, brewers etc don't care about the quality of the beer? Buying GI beer doesn't keep them employed? You want to "punish" them because a "suit wearing asshole" ( aka employer of tens of thousands of Americans ) own the place?
  18. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Defender (637) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Important point underlined and in bold italics. It always comes down to the money and there's no reason that it won't continue to do so.
  19. Handle

    Handle Initiate (145) Mar 16, 2009 North Carolina

    I figured as much. It's just funny that they paint a less than flattering picture of big breweries buying small breweries, and yet they happily allow those same breweries to buy their way into membership.
    JavaNoire likes this.
  20. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (401) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    But what if the guy making in the small brewery is making crap? Plus how do you know the guy in the small brewery isn't also some rich suit who saw the amount of growth in the craft beer industry and decided it would be a good business to invest in. I personally don't have the time to research every last company making beer to figure out their motivation and why they are in the beer business, so all I can go on is how the product tastes.
    darknova306, acevenom and JavaNoire like this.
  21. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    Seems a fairly simple solution really. There is a concise definition out there for what constitutes a craft brewery, no? Put a very small logo on the labels of those beers made by those breweries that fit the craft definition that says 'craft', or maybe 'BA' (since it would most likely be the Brewers Association that would oversee and legally safeguard such labeling and could probably base the use of such a symbol on its own membership). Kind of like the dolphin-safe symbol, you know?
    That way those that care can look for this symbol and know somebody has done the homework for them, and those that don't care just won't pay any attention to it.
    I'll take no royalties for this idea, but donations are always welcome.
    YogiBeer, jimcivis and geocool like this.
  22. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,303) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    But, again, that's not the case when it's broken down by the amount of beer brewed in the US and the number of brewing industry employees.

    Here's The Brewers Association claim (mentioned above):

    Small brewers employ one person for every 1,000 barrels produced, and the big brewers employ one person for every 50,000 barrels produced.

    Small brewers may only have 5% of the U.S. beer market, but they provide 50% of the jobs.

    Put another way, if AB or MC were to buy some little 20,000 barrel brewery that employs 2 dozen people and decide to close the place and continue to brew the brand at it's Baldwinsville, NY or Eden, NC brewery, it'd mean a loss of 24 jobs and probably just a reworking of the brewing scheduling at the macro brewery with no jobs created.
    Steeeve likes this.
  23. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    +1 For me, I was not surprised by any of the names on the list of brands owned by AB. But I had absolutely no idea about the magnitude of the difference in the jobs picture:

    So the group with 6% of the volume employs more than 4x the number of the group with over 75% of the volume? That's amazing! It really is our patriotic duty to not buy BCBS!
  24. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    Without putting words in kinopio's mouth, I'm guessing the issue is the same for him and I- it's not that they don't care anymore, it's that the decisions and such are no longer up to them.

    They may care al the world, but if the assholes wearing suits that now OWN the brewery tell them they have to cut corners... they have to cut corners. If the asshole suits decide to contract everything out other than BCBS and lay off half the people currently working at the brewery... that's the deal.

    Aside from that, regarding the direction of the specific reply from kinopio- I still find it more than a little suprising that people ask "why do you care where your money goes?" "Why do you care who you're supporting?"

    Are some of us really THAT focused on simply being able to drink something we enjoy that we just don't care anymore?
  25. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    I think it's universally recognized here that jesskidden knows his stuff and does his research.

    Hence, even if you're only willing to believe that his numbers are half-accurate, I'd say the workforce number's he's provided MUST be eye opening.

    Yes, all beer brewed in the US provides people with jobs; but to suggest the method and values of said brewing is the same between macro v. craft is simply willfull ignorance.
  26. mcintire78

    mcintire78 Initiate (176) Dec 16, 2006 Massachusetts

    I can't really see two sides to this one. Without doubt, there are people out in the world who want to support local/craft breweries and purchase Goose Island/Kona/Leiny's, etc. and wouldn't if they knew they were owned by InBev or whatever. So what gets weighed on the scale against these people getting screwed/being deceived? InBev's right to hide their ownership? Even if you think the group being deceived is relatively small, I don't see how that comes out BMC's way. For Christ's sake, just put a little stamp on it or something...
  27. Steeeve

    Steeeve Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Agreed, I would be totally willing to sacrifice my time to make sure all existing BCBS is disposed of properly. Ya know... for America...
    beerophilia and JavaNoire like this.
  28. bdub32689

    bdub32689 Initiate (0) May 19, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Fair point but I am not sure if this takes in to account alot of the executive positions. For instance they may employ a similar number of brewers but not employ the same amount of in house PR,HR, Accountants, engineers act. But it would make sense cumulatively that all the craft breweries would supply more jobs.

    From a bussiness prospective you would hope with how large BMC companies are they would have production streamlined to the point they don't need as many employees.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is its unfair to compare craft beer and big beer by jobs created becuase they are two different products, one mass produced. I would expect that a a smaller company with limited resources that produces a more labor intensive product requires the need to hire more people.

    I guess people have to make up their minds if they care about taste, price, or if keeping with the craft beer culture is most important it may be a mixture of both.

    what if BCBS was produced on level where you could walk in any day of the week and pick up a bottle for 5$ and qaulity was not compromised. Is that bad ? who is to say
  29. cmannes

    cmannes Disciple (379) Mar 15, 2009 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I liked the article, but I wasn't sure about the attached chart. The whole TRADITIONAL category seems to include a lot of breweries that don't seem to fit the rest of the list. And I'm uncertain why they were targeted in such a manner.
    mschofield likes this.
  30. nate321

    nate321 Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2011 Washington

    I think people should know if the craft beer they are drinking isn't actually a craft beer. But if they like it, what does it matter? Blue Moon, for example, gets a lot of crap because it isn't "craft" beer, but when someone who doesn't know craft beer tries it, then it opens the door for other good craft beers. Blue Moon may not be "craft" but if you like it, then you will like craft beer.
  31. HopsintheSack

    HopsintheSack Devotee (447) Apr 17, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    I don't blame big business for doing what it is supposed to do, I blame owners of craft breweries for selling out. They are the only ones that can keep craft brewing out of the big guys hands.
  32. Handle

    Handle Initiate (145) Mar 16, 2009 North Carolina

    That was the biggest problem I had with it. August Schell's is not a craft brewery by their definition, even though they're small, independent, and produce some great German-style beers.
    cmannes likes this.
  33. Tballz420

    Tballz420 Meyvn (1,187) Mar 4, 2003 Minnesota

    So everyone who owns stock in inbev is a "rich suit wearing asshole?"

    Like someone else said, whoever owns a given brewery has nothing to do with the product, nor how it is made. If the fat cat corporate suits decide it is in their best interest to lower the quality of the product (as I pointed out in the case of Beck's), then that makes the beer less desirable for us to drink. I've drank Goose Island from time to time over the course of 10 years, and I don't notice any difference in quality now.

    I don't care who owns a brewery. If you're operating under the assumption that every local brewery near you is solely owned by the head brewer, you are wrong. Go ahead and take the time to figure out who owns each brewery, and figure out if they are "poor" enough for you to support them.

    And the whole "drink local" idea is crap in my mind; I drink what tastes good to me (or sometimes I drink crap to review on my website). We have plenty of shitty local beer around here.

    I'm not an Inbev whore, and to the extent that they are aware of me, they probably don't like me. But they own some good breweries which I don't choose to avoid simply because of some adolencent hatred of money.
  34. mschofield

    mschofield Meyvn (1,463) Oct 16, 2002 Massachusetts

    Yuengling est. 1829 laughs at Brewers Association est. 2005* deciding Yuengling is not traditional

    * or 1978 depending on how you want to look at it
    bergbrew likes this.
  35. StarRanger

    StarRanger Initiate (153) Nov 27, 2006 North Dakota

    I care because the faux-craft are pretending to be something that they are not and they have advatages that a true small brewery does not have. Breweries that have been sold to a major brewer are different set if issues.

    AB did not build a Shock Top brewery. There is a scene in Beer Wars where they go to the town listed on the bottle and ask people where that brewery is and know one knows, but they do know that there is a bit AB brewery at the edge of town. They faux-craft are make to look like they come from an idependent brewery when that is not true. If Shock Top was sold at Bud Wit, there is no hiding of who made it and I would be more accepting

    New small brewers have to work to get taps and shelf space but a new faux-craft has all the macro brewer's resources behind it and often distributors tied to that macro there to make sure the faux gets prime shelf space and I have heard stories of distributors getting bars to replace taps of small independent breweries with taps of a similar faux-craft with incentives.
  36. kinopio

    kinopio Disciple (328) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Christ, where to start with this one..

    Most of the breweries I am a frequent customer of are owned by brewers, so your second sentence is wrong. Many of them post on this very website.

    If you don't care about buying local products then you also don't care about the environment, your area's economic health, or having a fresh product. Those are pretty dumb things to not care about as they affect you personally.

    And caring about who I give my hard earned money to is a "adolescent hatred of money"? Not wanting to financially support multi billion dollar international conglomerates who care about money first and quality last seems logical to me.
  37. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts

    I kind of take offense at any business (or association of businesses) that suggests what products I should or should not buy or insinuates that I have been making the wrong choices with the money I earned. Especially when it is based on an arbitrary, intellectually and morally corrupt definition of craftbeer/brewer in order to suit your selfish business needs. Shame on you craft brewers (through your association with Brewers Association and agreement to send this op-ed piece) who I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on over the last 20+ years to produce a blacklist of brewers you do not approve of me purchasing. You may be representing brewers, and a small segment of craftbeer consumers views, but this is a slap in the face to those who purchase beers from both the BA approved and blacklisted brewers (which is the majority of craft beer buyers).

    Until you've got your own glass house in order re: truth in origin of craftbeer, its ingredients, and transparancy of ownership , you have absolutely no basis to be casting stones at others for doing the same.

    This us vs. them mentality comes off as insecure and petty jealousy. Exclusionary tactics are exactly the games that mega brewers have been employing for years to denigrate craftbeer and its consumers, so congratulations on becoming the thing you set out not to become.
  38. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,303) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Laughs ... and then writes them a $15,000 check for their dues - Yuengling joins the Brewers Association
  39. sommersb

    sommersb Initiate (0) May 25, 2010 Tennessee

    From :

    We revived the brand in 2010 as an English Pale Ale made in the craft style with all barley malt in small batches. Falls City is the first “value” brand to be resurrected as a craft beer, so we decided it best to contract brew the beer until we were sure that the public was ready for this idea. We currently brew in two locations: Black River Falls, WI (with Sand Creek Brewing Co.) and Nashville, TN (with Blackstone Brewing Co.). This summer we installed our first brew system in Louisville, at 545 Barret Ave. The 7-barrel system we installed will be used primarily for tasting at our on-site tasting room and for keg and growler sales. We are in the final stages of opening the brewery now! Ultimately, we plan to build a 30-barrel production brewery in Louisville. We would like to meet some sales goals before making that investment, but we would like to think that we can do this by 2017.
  40. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    They have a Black IPA on tap at a local bar tonight that I think is from that 7 BBL system.
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