News The Plot to Destroy America's Beer

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by CellarGimp, Oct 26, 2012.

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  1. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Disciple (335) Sep 14, 2011 Missouri

    HoppyShirts and bozodogbreath like this.
  2. lester619

    lester619 Zealot (524) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    It was an interesting article, but I don't really understand what the point of all that was. AB-InBev is a giant international monster company. Im pretty sure everyone already knew that. That's why this website is made up of people that don't buy any of their products. I am having troubling figuring out what the controversy is.
  3. dumptruck81

    dumptruck81 Initiate (174) Dec 28, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    pretty much everbody on here will buy BCBS if they have access to it
  4. mdomask

    mdomask Aspirant (274) May 27, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Except for the dozens of threads searching out every bottle of BCBS people can find.

    Note: I'm actually fairly happy with the GI buyout so far, since it doesn't seem to have affected the Chicago-brewed stuff and we've gotten lots of nice things.
  5. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    My take is that the article paints AB under the Busch family as an enormous, but still sentimental corporation. This ruthless Brazillian bean counter comes in and focuses only on dollar signs.

    It's a big stretch imho. Cost cutting flavor killing compromises were going on long before Inbev got their hands on the company. Pre-takeover AB had the same bottom-line focus the merged company has.
    digita7693 likes this.
  6. a74gent

    a74gent Aspirant (284) Mar 16, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    As a businessperson who drinks beer, my comment would be that it is the lunacy bred by the short term focus of quarterly results that comes with public companies! I don't think he's running a great business. He's a running a business to get great short-term results...some of these moves are wise, but some of them are incredibly stupid long-term IMO.
  7. frazbri

    frazbri Crusader (740) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    That gives a good overview of ABInbev's way of conducting business. How long can they continue to cut costs and raise prices before there is serious consumer backlash? The Winking Lizard pubs in Ohio announced this week they're pulling Bud Light taps due to price increases, maybe that's where it begins?
    Ford, kexp, jkane101 and 2 others like this.
  8. frazbri

    frazbri Crusader (740) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    Cutting costs by over One Billion Dollars in a year says to me Mr Brito and his team are even more about efficiency than the Busch family was.
  9. digita7693

    digita7693 Disciple (394) Jan 19, 2010 Germany
    Beer Trader

    The guy mentioned lost all credibility with me after his professed love for becks.
    albertq17 and Gosox8787 like this.
  10. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    Could be. Could also be that the dramatic jump in the size of the company allowed ABI to find process improvements that just weren't available to AB.

    Take it FWIW. I'm no PhD economist but I do have internet access.
    DonDirkA and albertq17 like this.
  11. lester619

    lester619 Zealot (524) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I did overlook the Goose Island buyout. At the end of the day, InBev, MillerCoors, Goose Island and all the other craft breweries are for-profit companies. They all want the maximum market share they can get. It basically comes down to their different buisness models. We buy the craft beer because we feel it is a far supperior product and are happy to pay more for the quality. The other side is willing to go for the inferior mass produced cheap buzz. The big guys got that big because the vast majority of the world is in column B.
    ImJ2x likes this.
  12. frazbri

    frazbri Crusader (740) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    In the end, the old Anheuser-Busch was a 500 pound gorilla, and the resulting ABInbev is a 900 pound gorilla. It's not a different animal, just a bigger animal.
  13. otispdriftwood

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

    I believe most of the responses missed an important point. Beck's sales are down 14% in food stores ostensibly because of the change in the beer. Now think New Coke vs. Classic Coke. People do not like their favorite products to be changed, especially for the worse. So if Beck drinkers are turning away from Beck's perhaps they are turning to craft beer rather than back to other adjunct lagers. And the title of the post should be "the plot to destroy Beck's beer" since in America, there are a vast number of other choices and although InBev owns a major market share, nobody is forcing you to buy their products.
    HoppyShirts and frazbri like this.
  14. JimDH

    JimDH Initiate (60) Feb 7, 2011 Kentucky

    That’s a non-denial denial.
    DonDirkA likes this.
  15. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Savant (958) Mar 17, 2009 Washington
    Beer Trader

    As long as Brito keeps finding ways to cut costs then they can somewhat balance their decline in sales. Ha
  16. IamMe90

    IamMe90 Initiate (0) Sep 4, 2012 Wisconsin

    None of this is too surprising. I'm not very worried; craft beer has always occupied a niche market that isn't going away with the expansion of Ab InBev. I mean, their expansion isn't really cutting into craft profits, because that demographic is pretty much unaffected by it. As long as we're still here, craft breweries will still exist.
  17. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    So say we all.
    kagent777, DonDirkA and MicheleALE like this.
  18. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,292) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    What was this thread about? Oh yeah the plot to destroy beer.

    With Thanksgiving coming up it oughta be said and noted, that despite this supposed gorrilla of a company, most Americans have easy access to the finest variety of fantastic beer likely ever seen in the history of the world.

    Despite the plot to destroy beer all the breweries making really good beer are doing really well. Brewery expansion is well under way at facilities across the country.

    And don't minimize the fact that only a brewery as big as Budweiser is capable of doing many things smaller ones cannot. Buying and dedicating an entire facility to a barrel aging project is one of them.

    I said if Bud ever did something really really good I would say thank you. Here it is.

    Thank you for the cases of Bourbon County Stout that I and some of those I know now have in our cellars.
  19. Ri0

    Ri0 Poo-Bah (2,474) Jul 1, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I'm not worried either. Many craft breweries would not sell out to a company like this. New Glarus is one of them.
  20. VncentLIFE

    VncentLIFE Meyvn (1,417) Feb 16, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    it freaked me out the first time I saw "Honker's Ale - brewed in Baldwinsville, NY"
  21. Redrover

    Redrover Poo-Bah (3,047) Jan 18, 2003 Illinois

    I had read this today at the gym and meant to post a link. I'm glad someone is more on the ball than I am.
    I thought it was a good read and a good insight into how they are growing their bottom line.
    I rarely drink a Becks, but one of my locals had is on special and I had a few, I thought the taste had changed (for the worst), but thought that it was due to my changing tastes not the beers. Now I'm not so sure.
  22. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,306) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Of the 600 or so US brewing companies that re-opened after Repeal, the two now-combined companies that make up the other half of the US Big Two, MillerCoors, were relatively small and didn't even come close to the half million barrel mark which would have put them close to the Top Ten US brewers. Miller had climbed to #18 by 1940 (and were only at #4 in Milwaukee alone).

    25 years after Repeal in '58, Miller was #11 and Coors had risen to #18 and the so-called "BMC" brewing companies had 12½% of the US market. The so-called "BMC" Big 3 dominance of the US brewing industry wouldn't come about until 1990.

    After Repeal, 15-20% of US beer production was ale - so, 3 to 4 times larger than today's "craft beer" percentage of the market (and that's not counting dark lagers and seasonal bocks that many lager brewers still routinely offered).

    In 1934, based on total industry usage, the average barrel of beer contained 13.8 pounds of adjuncts (corn, sugar/syrup and rice) compared to 38 pounds of barley malt. That was actually a higher barley malt ratio than before WWI's grain rationing and Prohibition, when the industry average was 35.8 lbs/bbl. barley malt vs. 17.1 lbs of corn/sugar-syrup/rice/"other grains".

    All-malt beers, though they did exist, were relatively rare in the 20th century US brewing industry in the years before and after Prohibition.

    Point is, the history of beer in the US in the 20th century is not so simple.
  23. MN_Beerticker

    MN_Beerticker Initiate (0) Jul 10, 2012 Minnesota

    Kind of a bleak picture being painted.
  24. n2185

    n2185 Poo-Bah (1,862) Apr 14, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    True that. It's amusing to see how many people will speak out against BMC here, but when Goose Island comes up it's all, "If it tastes good, who cares who makes it?"
    cavedave likes this.
  25. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,292) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    If a delicious beer is available at a great price I am ready to buy it. For me, not buying BMC has almost nothing to do with their ruthless pursuit of shelfspace dominance, but the taste of what they sell.
    thbeer, Danielbt, JrGtr and 3 others like this.
  26. Tashbrew

    Tashbrew Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2007 California

  27. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (524) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Many years ago (pre-1985 or so) it was pretty good. The quality of the German Beck's was in a long decline before the St. Louis knockoff was dreamed of. Spaten too. Twenty years ago, it was one of my 3 favorite brands, and the Oktoberfest was great as recently as 1999. Now it's bland, stale garbage. There are bean counters in Germany too.
    JackHorzempa, Longstaff and cavedave like this.
  28. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (200) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I thought this article was interesting also (from 2006):

    After Making Beer Ever Lighter, Anheuser Faces a New Palate Seeking Mass Appeal, Brewer For Years Cut Bitterness; Now Drinkers Want MoreDrinkability vs. Fat Squirrels
    Nothing that surprises, but it's always interesting to get a sense of how the big breweries operate behind the scenes (or behind all of the marketing), especially when it comes to the actual beer they produce. It may be bland tasting (though I wouldn't say bad tasting since I enjoy most lagers), but it's hardly a product of happenstance.
  29. aubuc1

    aubuc1 Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2007 Florida

    In defense of "bean counters", how do you think SN delivers at such a good price point? Good "bean counters" is a major part of the answer.
  30. JediMatt

    JediMatt Initiate (81) Jun 18, 2010 Iowa

    I won't buy GI anymore now that they are owned by Inbev. <shrug>
    Holmes698 likes this.
  31. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,292) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    I urge all to follow in your most admirable footsteps, especially regarding BCBS Coffee:wink:
    stayclean likes this.
  32. JediMatt

    JediMatt Initiate (81) Jun 18, 2010 Iowa

    You can have my share. :wink:
  33. billlang675

    billlang675 Initiate (0) Jun 1, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Did they think the Becks drinkers would not notice a change in taste, or do they just not care.
  34. Holmes698

    Holmes698 Initiate (0) Mar 7, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

  35. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I already took it.
    cavedave likes this.
  36. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    This is exactly how I feel. FWIW, I stick up for Redhook as much as I do Goose Island -- let alone Spaten.
    SunDevilBeer and cavedave like this.
  37. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (524) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Very good point about SN. They continue to get better as they get bigger. Bean counting is obviously necessary, but it should be balanced by other considerations. I think SN asks, "How can we keep costs reasonable without sacrificing quality"? while Inbev just asks, "How can we cut costs"? Very short sighted, IMO. My hope is that someday SN will be big enough to buy Inbev (though Inbev's behavior is a big shot in the arm to craft beer, and probably wine too, as their quality continues to decline).
  38. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Aspirant (295) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Dan and Deb will want to retire eventually. Given that they could probably sell today for $50+ million (the new facility alone is worth $20+ million), there probably aren't to many individuals who have that kind of spare cash and the desire to own a brewery, which means that it would most likely be a private investment firm that buys them. Once an investment firm has a hold of them, all it takes is for AB or MillerCoors to come along and offer them the right amount and the investment firm will sell.

    It's not something we as beer geeks want to think about, but the "first generation" craft beer owners like the Careys and the Grossmans are going to have to sell eventually, and the price tags will be higher than anyone below "the 1%" can afford.
    lester619 and Beerandraiderfan like this.
  39. rrryanc

    rrryanc Disciple (310) May 19, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Grossman is trying to groom his kids to take over, Brian is going to be leading the NC brewery. I kinda doubt they'll provide quite the same vision or work-ethic as Ken though, so we'll see what happens.
  40. kelvarnsen

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

    I am curious if that is the actual reason, or if it is just AB-Inbev deciding to not promote Beck's as much compared to more profitable brands. I mean if they are promoting Beck's less, doing less advertising and getting it into fewer bars and stores of course sales are going to be down. I read a book awhile back about Canadian beer, and how when Interbrew (no AB-InBev) bought Labatt, sales of Labatt Blue started to decline, mostly because the parent company decided to dial back on the marketing of Blue and instead spend more money marketing Stella Artrois which was a more profitable brand.
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