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Rant in defense of those who sold out to InBev.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by WertMaker, Mar 24, 2016.

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  1. WertMaker

    WertMaker Aspirant (210) Jan 17, 2009 Oregon

    You have a dream of building a brewery. You are an innovative and creative soul who, when challenged; can rise to any occasion. You present your plan to some friends and float the idea around trying to stimulate some support and find that everyone you talk to says, "Go for it!"

    You do the grunt work and find a place that has a fairly good location for a brewery and tap room, pull out your retirement and start buying equipment and getting it installed all the while jumping through the hoops the City, County, State and Federal government have all arranged for you. You are able to acquire some investors who graciously don't care whether they get their money back or not and some who are looking to get rich off of your efforts. This doesn't bother you because you know you are going to be successful.

    You get your TTB approval, the City, County and State sign off and you proudly present your first run of beers at your grand opening. The tap room proves to be too small, and after a few months you are having trouble getting the distribution you thought you would get. Some places are reluctant to give you taps because the big distributors do not want the competition. You fight through five years of growing pains and eventually have to take a bank loan to expand just to be competitive. You have a payroll now and others depend upon your ability to see trends in the Craft and be in a position to take advantage of them. You have a large investment in equipment and a production brewery. Your original brewery and tap room is now a brew pub.

    The next 5 years go by with substantial growth within the Craft Brewing Industry and you look back at the business you have built, realizing that you have never been at a point where you could retire or even recover the retirement you invested to start you brewery. Suddenly along comes InBev with an offer to buy you out. They promise that they will not change your beers and that the following your brewery has is too important for them to throw that away. You look at the offer and it pays off your loans, Pays off your house, repays your retirement and then some and all you have to agree to is that you will not open a brewery in the same town in competition with the one you are selling and that InBev acquires all your recipes, beer names, art work, logos in conjunction with all of your accounts that you worked so hard to get.

    You take the check, knowing that now; you will be able to send your kids to college and have a comfortable life with your family and that those who made your brewery and beer popular will still have availability to your product. Then, somebody gets it into their head that you have Sold Out...

    So would you not buy a Ferrari, Jeep or Maserati because it is owned by Fiat? How about a Land Rover or Jaguar because it they are owned by Tata Truck out of India? Don't want that Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, or Porsche because they are owned by VW? Have you stopped buying Nalley's Pickles because they are produced in India?

    For me, as long as InBev doesn't start down sizing the breweries they have bought out or manipulates the recipe of the beers that the Craft folks produced, then I have no quarrel with owners who take advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to "Get Rich" and retire...

    End Rant
     
  2. jcos

    jcos Aspirant (203) Nov 23, 2009 Maryland

    Every single person with a majority ownership in a brewery has the right to make the choices they believe are in their best interests. Not every person neccesarily has family/coworkers/friends to continue their vision on indefnitely.

    And just like those people can make their choices, we too with our dollars make a choice of what to drink.

    No animosity. Just choices.
     
    CJNAPS, ebin6, 5thOhio and 10 others like this.
  3. Iamjeff6

    Iamjeff6 Champion (860) Sep 9, 2013 Virginia
    Trader

    I think this thread needs a tldr:
     
  4. Sabtos

    Sabtos Poo-Bah (5,691) Dec 15, 2015 Ohio
    Trader

    Third one of these today...the macros must have activated their microchips.
     
  5. offthelevel_bytheplumb

    offthelevel_bytheplumb Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2013 Illinois

    It's been a long time since I've read an original comment concerning AB InBev and the "craft" breweries that they've purchased.
     
    wstwne and LambicPentameter like this.
  6. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,160) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    I agree 100% with OP. Typically an entrepreneur's retirement comes from selling their business. Beer is no different.

    The problem I have with the opening post, and just to play devil's advocate, is when a business gets bought out (or even just expands/opens up a new brewery), people immediately start worrying about the quality of ingredients that will be used. While I think this worry is sometimes over stated, at least in brewery expansion situations, it does seem to have some basis in buy outs. New ownership may cut costs in terms of quality ingredients, resulting in lesser beer. Especially if they're looking at paying off their purchase faster. Old breweries had traditions and customers to stand by and any falter in that fan base may mean they don't get to retire, whereas new, big owners can stand to lose a few drinkers but save a few cents per pound of hops that equate to thousands. Especially when they multiple other layers to their business and distribution.

    Again, just playing devil's advocate. I do understand complaining about buy outs. I do think it's silly to complain about a brewery expanding to increase distribution of a good product, but that's another soap box that has nothing to do with InBev. :slight_smile:
     
  7. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (324) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Isn't this the part where where you start turning profit and wouldn't you assume that profit would continue for the life of the brewery and slowly build back that retirement you invested. I don't think most people getting into the brewing game for the true craft assume they'll be getting rich quick, I hope they go into it knowing it's a long road ahead and they are in it for the long haul, but enjoy the blood sweat and tears they put into the business due to the enjoyment of their product by the masses.
     
  8. PatrickCT

    PatrickCT Poo-Bah (1,899) Feb 18, 2015 Connecticut
    Trader

    I don't think people are against buys outs in general, rather who does the buying out. You gave a list of foreign cars owned by other foreign car companies. It isn't really the same thing as someone not supporting ABInBev owned breweries.
     
  9. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    For better or worse, the OP has nailed it.
     
  10. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado


    Please inform the ignorant: what is a tldr?
     
    OleGee, Gajo74 and Iamjeff6 like this.
  11. HopliteMpls612

    HopliteMpls612 Aspirant (298) Aug 31, 2015 Minnesota

    too long; didn't read
     
    MFMB, Brolo75, tolar111 and 3 others like this.
  12. WertMaker

    WertMaker Aspirant (210) Jan 17, 2009 Oregon

    No.. This is where you are looking at having to make another substantial investment in production equipment just to stay profitable or remain in the game.
     
    ChuckHardslab likes this.
  13. WertMaker

    WertMaker Aspirant (210) Jan 17, 2009 Oregon

    Seven short paragraphs? LAS?
     
    LeRose, SLewis, Gajo74 and 1 other person like this.
  14. charlzm

    charlzm Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2007 California

    How about if you are a serial entrepreneur, you decide a craft brewery is just the ticket, you hire some people to build up the brewery and try to dominate the local market, then you sell out to a "higher power" just like you always planned to, leaving the people you hired to run the enterprise, the ones who actually cared about the business (and who are not shareholders) to wonder what the international brewing conglomerate is going to do to your job and to what you helped build up?
     
  15. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,124) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    I refuse to defend anybody unless I'm being paid.
     
  16. WertMaker

    WertMaker Aspirant (210) Jan 17, 2009 Oregon

    Not all, Jeep isn't (or wasn't) a foreign car company and Daimler (I believe) still owns Chrysler, Dodge...
     
  17. rgordon

    rgordon Champion (894) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I agree with the OP, but I draw the line at Nalley's Pickles!
     
    cavedave and yemenmocha like this.
  18. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poo-Bah (2,292) Feb 23, 2012 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I congratulate the people that have sold their breweries to AB/InBev and made a killing.
    I will no longer buy their beers because it is supporting the 1000 lb gorilla that wants to destroy the independent breweries.
     
    ahawkman, Fargrow, spoony and 24 others like this.
  19. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Disciple (310) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon

    I don't have any animosity towards people who choose to sell out, but I do try to avoid giving money to AB, MillerCoors, Daiegeo, etc, so I rarely buy beer from those "sell outs." Your comparison to car makers is fucking ridiculous, because pretty much every car manufacturer is a mega corporation, none of them are significantly better or worse than the others, and none of them have anything approaching a monopoly (or duopoly) like we see in the beer business.

    I don't have a choice to "support the little guys" when I buy a car, cell phone, computer, or home appliance, but I can sure as hell exercise that option when it comes to whose beer I buy, what restaurants I eat at, and what products I buy at the grocery store.
     
  20. Wolfhead

    Wolfhead Initiate (179) Sep 1, 2009 Illinois

    Totally agree with the OP, this happens all the time in all forms of enterprise. It's the American way

    btw I always thought that the people that say someone "Sold Out" have nothing to sell
     
  21. WertMaker

    WertMaker Aspirant (210) Jan 17, 2009 Oregon

    Not defending InBev.. Defending the brewers who have elected to sell the profit they have created in their business and move on with their lives.

    You seem somewhat angry. relax, have a beer...
     
    LuskusDelph, 1ale_man and Gajo74 like this.
  22. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado


    But chances are, if you're in it for the quick buck, your beer will suck and the international brewing conglomerate won't be interested in your brewery. At least I hope this is the case.
     
    rocdoc1 and CBlack85 like this.
  23. Bearshawks85

    Bearshawks85 Initiate (0) Jun 12, 2014 Illinois

    Best line of the thread!!
     
    ChangSing, zeedub and LuskusDelph like this.
  24. Dravin

    Dravin Aspirant (210) Apr 27, 2014 Indiana

    To quote myself from another thread since it's relevant:

     
  25. SILVER

    SILVER Initiate (155) Jan 3, 2007 Florida

    Not so, they sold long time ago.
     
    WertMaker likes this.
  26. WertMaker

    WertMaker Aspirant (210) Jan 17, 2009 Oregon

    You're right as rain... Owned by Fiat, all of them.
     
    riverlen and Dan_K like this.
  27. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,405) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    As a recovering Automotive Engineer, here is some background.

    Chrysler merged, well actually was sold, to Diamler. Daimler found the close to $30 Billion in cash they had on hand attractive. Some years later Daimler spun off Chrysler, and it's Jeep, Dodge lines, without the cash reserve. Chrysler goes along until the Great Recession, and as part of the Auto Bailouts, Chysler was auctioned off to the only bidder, Fiat. So Fiat owns Chryler, Jeep, Dodge, and now the rebranded Ram Trucks. Fiat spun off Ferarri early this year, so not a Fiat brand today.

    IIRC, there have been over 3000 auto manufacturers in the US. In the early days, some only made between 1 and a handful of cars. Other successful ones were bought out by bigger, more capitalized competitors. That last part is like what is going on now with the Craft beer industry.
     
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  28. charlzm

    charlzm Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2007 California

    (cough cough) Golden Road (cough cough)
     
  29. zizouandyuki

    zizouandyuki Aspirant (247) Nov 26, 2015 Texas

    All good points. I had an opportunity to take a private brewery tour with the brewmaster @ a brewery that was purchased by AB InBev within the past 2 years. He has been in his position for less than a year.

    What both amazed and surprised me was the improvement in ingredients since he took on this role. The grains and water chemistry were the two biggest improvements made since his appointment. I'm not implying AB InBev made these decisions, but rather it seems that in this instance they gave him full reign over selecting which ingredients he believes will make the best beer.
     
  30. JuicesFlowing

    JuicesFlowing Poo-Bah (2,233) Jul 5, 2009 Kansas

    For me, it's not about the quality of the product. I have said a thousand times I drink craft and I drink crap beer. I know that Goose Island make quality beers. Abita, none in my opinion. I've consumed a lot of crappy craft. You find It's just the soul-crushing idea of your favorite brewery selling out. For years and years Breckenridge Brewery was my favorite brewery. I own a lot of their glassware and I've consumed their product religiously because I liked it. I was all in. Then they sold themselves. I knew the product wouldn't change but my feelings eventually did. I haven't drank or purchased their product since last December. Because I believed they were my personal favorite craft brewery, they had that unique meaningful place for me, and now they have an asterisk. The difference between them and others that have been bought out is that I had no personal or sentimental connection to the others. It's that simple.
     
  31. thepenguin

    thepenguin Devotee (451) Aug 8, 2010 Massachusetts

    I can't necessarily fault the individuals who sell their breweries when the opportunity presents itself; my issue is not with them. My concerns solely involve the larger implications for the craft beer industry and community, and as beer enthusiasts that should be our focus rather than whether X brewer is a sellout, whether it means I'll now be able to get X beer or whether my sixpack will now be 1$ cheaper/
     
  32. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,160) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    Interesting. I've always wondered how it actually works. On one hand, I could see them saying we're cutting ingredient cost/quality and losing a few picky drinkers, or losing dealings with small hop/malt farms. On the other hand, I could see InBev using its resources to pull in better ingredients and research.

    One thing is for sure, I'd like to have a bit more of a definitive as to what happens when InBev buys out breweries. I can't help but think some of the "decline in quality" people around here notice is merely in their heads, but with lack of any evidence one way or the other, I just sorta stand back and watch.
     
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  33. Gajo74

    Gajo74 Poo-Bah (1,768) Sep 14, 2014 New York
    Trader

    Ha ha. What is LAS? These abbreviations are killing me!
     
  34. Bigrock

    Bigrock Initiate (72) Feb 4, 2013 Texas

    I do too!!!
     
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  35. drinkin-beeers

    drinkin-beeers Disciple (360) Jan 29, 2014 Montana

    I really used to love a lot of elysians beers, since they sold I haven't bought a single one. You can't display "corporate beer still sucks" on a flagship then sell to one of the worlds largest!
     
  36. WertMaker

    WertMaker Aspirant (210) Jan 17, 2009 Oregon

    Limited Attention Span...
     
    Gajo74 likes this.
  37. Gajo74

    Gajo74 Poo-Bah (1,768) Sep 14, 2014 New York
    Trader

    Ah yes. I should have known. In my day it was called A.D.D
     
    LuskusDelph and WertMaker like this.
  38. WertMaker

    WertMaker Aspirant (210) Jan 17, 2009 Oregon

    Yup, things change. Used to be just lazy...
     
    Ozzylizard, craigdb, 5thOhio and 4 others like this.
  39. ChuckHardslab

    ChuckHardslab Disciple (328) Jan 25, 2012 Texas

    Not to mention that one day you wake up and realize that the demands on your capacity to produce income have actually increased. The retirement that was so far away and that you couldn't fund anyway when you were younger, is now becoming very important. Your children are in college, or soon will be. They need transportation, tuition, dorm or apartment rent, living expenses, etc. I do not want my kids to start out on their own with student loan debt of over $120,000, and that's at a public college. It's a sobering thing to realize in your 50's that your small business has to produce even more than it has been, just to keep up.
     
    cavedave, dennis3951 and drtth like this.
  40. SCW

    SCW Poo-Bah (1,692) Jul 25, 2004 New York
    Society Industry

    Sounds like you have successfully gone through the 10 stages of grief and arrived at acceptance. :-)
     
    ctylinebeer, MNJR, Pando and 5 others like this.
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