Do you care about independent beer?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Todd, Jul 8, 2018.


Do you care about independent beer?

  1. No

  2. Yes

  3. IDK what it means

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Poo-Bah (1,723) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska
    Premium Trader

    I had to dig a little bit to verify, but Duvel bought back their shares and left the Euronext back in 2013, making them once again family-owned. Even when they were publicly traded, only ~25% of their value was actually available for purchase as shares.

    The odd part is that it used to be listed on the Wikipedia entry. That's the only reason I knew it to be the case. Not sure why something like that would have been removed.
    2beerdogs, threeviews and drtth like this.
  2. BayAreaJoe

    BayAreaJoe Zealot (571) Nov 23, 2017 California

    No, that is not the only thing that has to be maintained. I addressed some of the other common requirements in post #270 above. All banks have reporting and performance requirements for business loans.
    beertunes likes this.
  3. Brutaltruth

    Brutaltruth Poo-Bah (2,436) Mar 22, 2014 Ohio

    I consider it to be more of a field of dreams---or suds if you will.
    If you brew it they will come.
    If it is good you will thrive.
    If you are owned by someone bigger and still brew great beer---
    MOST won't care.
  4. AWA

    AWA Aspirant (216) Jul 22, 2014 California

    I'm so torn. I tend to like independent beer more, but typically I like to do business with publicly traded companies. You know, so I can take part in the profits if I want to. But damn I honestly hate Inbev. And Sante Adairius is in my town. Hell with it. I'm just going to keep drinking what I like and not sweat the ownership.
  5. laketang

    laketang Savant (961) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois

    I loved those last couple of pages, because the arguments were between some pretty astute beer people, and there are a couple of arrogant dudes floating around this thread (you know who you are ) not jumping into the fray because they prefer to jump on BA members like me who are just trying to learn, easy target if you will. Lmao!

  6. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (358) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    I feel ya man. Sometimes it's hard to not take the bait. Then snap! Caught in a beer knowledge bear trap. Thats when I bust out my secret weapon (the oops I'm a dumbass emoji:flushed:)
  7. ryan1788a5

    ryan1788a5 Poo-Bah (1,904) Nov 27, 2009 Massachusetts

    Yup, that paints a pretty good picture of the potential dangers.
  8. ryan1788a5

    ryan1788a5 Poo-Bah (1,904) Nov 27, 2009 Massachusetts

    It would take some doing, but sure, there are a great many such things I'd rather know than the "Independent" status of a brewery
    LuskusDelph likes this.
  9. laketang

    laketang Savant (961) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois

    I would use that emoji quite often my man!. I have made some posting mistakes as you personally know, but if I had massive beer knowledge I would think I would try to help, not jump all over people. Maybe I am being to hard on people, I don't know their stories as they don't know mine. But your dumbass emoji struck me as funny!.
    Lahey, 2beerdogs and beertunes like this.
  10. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (8,743) May 24, 2005 Arkansas
    Premium Trader

    I do, but not a slave it to it. Plenty of mediocre to just alright brewers out there that meet the criteira. Give good/great beer every day. AB has swallowed up many brewers I will still purchase ( quality better be there ). I will usually defer to the smaller fish, if quality is actually there.
    EvenMoreJesus, 2beerdogs and nc41 like this.
  11. ryan1788a5

    ryan1788a5 Poo-Bah (1,904) Nov 27, 2009 Massachusetts

    This sort of stuff is rampant in the world of beer sales (and alcohol sales in general). There are all kinds of schemes I've seen or heard of over the years. Brewery or distributor reps might provide free cases of product or swipe their card at retail as a means to "take a little off the top" and give inducements to retailers. Sometimes they'll offer a deal like 1 free keg on 5 purchased to select accounts, off the books. As this article mentions, they will also provide refrigerator units, install draft lines, give TVs, event tickets, etc. Sometimes they will outright buy tap lines. Everyone engaging in these tactics has figured out the best ways to do it while trying to keep it either in the legal grey area or as hidden as possible, which is part of the reason why you don't see as much punitive action as you might expect. Further, many states have small control commissions that are ill-equipped to handle investigations into these matters, especially with the frequency they occur. Every state's laws on these practices differ as well.

    Here's the thing though: even if a distributor is the one actively furnishing these items or directly engaging in these tactics, the brewery is often aware. The distributor-brewery relationship is a business partnership, and there are many shared costs. Yearly, they will settle on joint budgets for marketing and advertising, activations and events, etc. If a distributor is installing lines, furnishing a draft system, etc, it's very possible that they are at least partially billing back the brewery for it. The invoices might say something very vague like "marketing expenses" or the like to keep things more opaque, but I don't know anyone in good business standing who pays bills without knowing what they were for. If the brewery received such a bill-back and paid it, then they are just as accountable as the distributor. I did not read the article you posted, but from the part of the quote you bolded, it seems in this case that the ABC may have nailed AB on the bill-backs.

    Here's the other thing, too: while these tactics were very probably initiated by some of the Big Guys and very clearly put them at an advantage due to their deep pockets, there are also "Independent" craft breweries that resort to them. Some corporations, as you have discovered, have a well-documented history and insider reputation for engaging in this behavior and getting caught repeatedly. Some do not. There are certainly "Independent" craft breweries out there that do it is well, but you are far less likely to come across records of it. This is probably due to the fact that the eye is not on them nearly as much as the big guys since they are not on the same scale, and they never got caught. That doesn't mean they aren't engaging in the shady shit too, though. Of course, without concrete proof this is all hearsay, but those in the industry know what they know. Again, there's no black and white line to draw here between "Independent" and corporate, good and bad. The BA knows this too.
  12. 57md

    57md Poo-Bah (2,388) Aug 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I voted "yes" because it is a major factor in my purchasing habits.

    However, I do not automatically disqualify beers that are not "independent."

    Craft/micro/indie brewers became popular in the first place because the big boys were brewing bland tasting beer and the little guys were making better tasting beer by focusing upon the craft of brewing rather than prioritizing mass production. If the large producers acquire portfolios of high quality beers or figure out how to make better beer themselves, then I see no reason to ignore those tasty options simply because they do not pass some fabricated purity test of "craftiness."
    surfcaster likes this.
  13. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,221) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Competing for tap space in restaurants and bars really is a zero sum game in many instances, and independent/craft/smaller brewers have been accused of pay-to-play. See, for instance, the charges leveled by Pretty Things before they went out of business:

    Seems shady to me whether it's from the big conglomerates or the more recent upstarts. I'm genuinely curious, have any of the Big Craft breweries ever gotten distributors to drop competitors in the way that AB InBev has?
    2beerdogs likes this.
  14. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (829) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    thebeers likes this.
  15. JoePasko

    JoePasko Initiate (82) Mar 10, 2018 New York

    Exactly !! And that was a big part of the fun of it. Feeling that I was in on something, at the ground floor. Something new and interesting and relatively exclusive. I had two great-grandparents who were born in the late 19th century who lived well into their 90's. They used to tell me about how they would buy beer from the neighborhood brewery, same as they'd get bread from the neighborhood baker. So when William Newman opened his microbrewery in Albany in 1981 (first brewery in the city, since Schaefer closed their Albany plant in 1972), we had a neighborhood brewery just like the "old days" and that was just plain cool, beside the fact that the beer was fresh and tasty.
  16. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (834) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Although I'm not aware of any allegations, BBC is certainly big enough. As is Sierra Nevada and New Belgium. A strategy like this would also depend upon who your competition is in any given area.
    2beerdogs likes this.
  17. doktorhops

    doktorhops Poo-Bah (1,653) Jan 12, 2011 Australia

    I mostly drink beers from independent brewers - there's so many great indie brewers over here in Australia now, it's only been in the last 5 years that the indie scene has exploded, but now that it has I rarely drink multinational corporation beers these days.

    TL;DR: It's a great time to be a craft beer drinker!
  18. ryan1788a5

    ryan1788a5 Poo-Bah (1,904) Nov 27, 2009 Massachusetts

    Oh, I'm very familiar with the whole Pretty Things P2P fiasco. Those were interesting times here in MA to say the least. Even in that instance I don't recall any craft breweries being named outright and accused of P2P, just a distributor. I can't think of any instances when a craft brewery has been caught and punished for this stuff on public record. Doesn't mean it hasn't happened though. But again, just because it isn't publicized or on record, doesn't mean they do not engage in this behavior. Agreed that these are shitty practices no matter who is doing it.

    That whole AB incentive program to try to limit the # of craft brands their distributors took on was the first of its kind that I'd ever heard of. I don't think any craft breweries could have that sort of pull, unless maybe they are in a very small and craft-only distributor. Still, I doubt they would try such a thing even in that instance. It wouldn't make sense.
    thebeers likes this.
  19. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,634) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    The first incentive plan they put in place was pretty much a failure as many distributors had already learned they could make a profit off of craft sales (Indeed, when that incentive program was discussed on here some distributors chimed in to make that point). The second incentive program they put in place died on the vine when the DoJ made killing it off a condition of allowing the purchase of SAB Miller.
  20. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (829) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Why do you think that? Those 3 companies could be a distributor's largest account but are not large enough to tell him what else to carry.
  21. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (834) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I think that you're misinterpreting what I've said. I'm simply suggesting that it, for argument's sake, could be possible given an ideal scenario, not that the scenario is likely.
  22. ryan1788a5

    ryan1788a5 Poo-Bah (1,904) Nov 27, 2009 Massachusetts

    Exactly. It didn't even work for AB, let alone craft breweries.
  23. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (829) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I know just giving you a good excuse to increase your post total:grin:
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  24. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Poo-Bah (2,113) Jan 31, 2005 California
    Premium Trader

    I'm SOOO with you gentlemen. An added factor for me is I don't have the time, or the knowledge of searching sources to add much. And it seems that for a few people here, well let's just say that they nitpick one little detail out of a dozen solid points to try to not just assault the person's position, but their integrity or intelligence. I've seen this here, and in many other threads.
    Lahey and laketang like this.
  25. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (834) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Thanks, broheim. I owe you one.
  26. Miles_in_beer_city

    Miles_in_beer_city Initiate (152) Jun 18, 2014 North Carolina

    I drink the beer brewed by the person that is passionate about the beer, not the company that is passionate about profits.
  27. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (834) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Some passionate brewers make shite beer. I don't want passion. I want great beer.
    LuskusDelph likes this.
  28. laketang

    laketang Savant (961) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois

    It is a bit disappointing in that certain ba members who do that are extremely knowledgeable, and also able to articulate well. I still respect their viewpoints on the subject of beer tho.
    Lahey and 2beerdogs like this.
  29. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (834) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Although this is wickedly off subject, I think this observation is worth addressing. Good online communities have people of all different backgrounds and knowledge levels. That's what makes them fun. If a community is comprised of too many "old guard" members, the conversation gets stale. If the community is all noobs, there tends to be a lot less depth of knowledge and experience.

    Let me say this to you fellas. From my perspective, I know that I can be a pain in the ass, but I'm simply here to facilitate and have fun. I try my damnedest to keep the conversation about the subject at hand and not about the person, as ad hominem arguments have no place in polite society. If you feel that I've ever gone over the top or insulted you, please bring it to my attention. I'll happily apologize. I like the new BA and would very much like to be a part of its continued growth and maturity as a wonderful source of information and a fun place to relax and enjoy all things beery.
  30. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (358) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    No hurt feelings with me man. I know you like to debate things. If it's something out of my depth or just not interesting to me, I'll usually avoid it. I leave the occasional "hot take" that's either shot down or picked apart, but I just take it as a lesson learned. From there it's figuring out if I need more knowledge, or just how I posed a statement that caused the misunderstanding. I try not to take any of it personally and I hope others on here don't either.

    Ok, my last off topic comment (another trap I can't avoid:wink:)
  31. laketang

    laketang Savant (961) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois

    Cool, and just so you know, my comments weren't directed your way.and now back to beer.
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  32. 57md

    57md Poo-Bah (2,388) Aug 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Here in Allentown PA the two neighborhood breweries were Neuweiler and Horlacher. My grandparents shared the same stories of picking up cases of beer at the brewery and sitting down to enjoy one or two (or more) complementary drafts from the ever pouring tap.
  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,647) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And now your neighborhood brewery is Sam Adams (Boston Beer Company).

    LuskusDelph likes this.
  34. SpruceFish

    SpruceFish Aspirant (201) Jan 18, 2009 California

    I still feel like there are plenty of smaller distilleries to choose from.
    beertunes likes this.
  35. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 Initiate (161) Feb 4, 2014 Texas

    Who cares as long as it’s good.

    You bunch of hipsters......
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  36. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,334) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    BBC never did re-open The Stein Room and start giving tours of that brewery, did they? Too bad.
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  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,647) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have zero knowledge concerning the Stein Room but an article published a year ago provides some details about the level of investment in the Boston Beer Company breweries:

    “But, he said, capital spending this year is estimated at between $40 million and $60 million, which includes additional investments in his breweries.”

  38. Troutbeerbum

    Troutbeerbum Initiate (91) Dec 5, 2016 Maine

    I own a small business, built from the ground up with absolutely ZERO help financially from anyone. No loans, no friends or family with money.That, my friends, is independent. I’m not saying a loan is help, you owe plus interest. But, to make a choice to not owe anyone, while slow and difficult to be profitable early certainly makes you look at independent business in a different light.
  39. cherche

    cherche Meyvn (1,035) Mar 27, 2013 Washington

    i care...if it's two beers that are the same quality and one is independent and one is not it's a no brainer...if it's 51/49 non-independent ill probably stick independent...if is 60/40...well, i like good beer more than i like independent
  40. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Aspirant (273) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    No. If beer is good, I'll drink it.
    LuskusDelph likes this.