News The Plot to Destroy America's Beer

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

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  1. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Disciple (396) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    I have often what is going to happen in the next few decades in these situations. I mean if you don't have family who wants to take over your brewery you are going to have to sell it. And like the person I quoted said if it is a multi-million dollar operation the number of potential buyers is very small. And sure you might find someone who says they are going to maintain the craft aspect, but really there is no guarantee that they will do that after they sell.

    Plus if your brewery is a company you put your blood, sweat and tears into for 30+ years and it is time to retire, and lets say AB-Inbev is offering you 20% more than any other offer, how do you not seriously consider that? Especially if you are looking to set yourself up for your retirement years and thinking about your children's future.
    WynnO and skivtjerry like this.
  2. jnark322

    jnark322 Initiate (0) Apr 18, 2008 Texas

    Don't forget that just because we don't drink ABI stuff, a lot of people do. So the article is trying to show that ABI's short-term, bottom line focus is alienating their main consumer base (millions of Americans). This has the potential to seriously hurt the company long-term, if their brands completely lose traction in the US.
  3. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    No one can argue with the way you put it; none of us would do anything differently. However, the image of one or two megacorporations controlling all beer production someday is both somewhat probable and very disturbing.
  4. frazbri

    frazbri Crusader (733) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    Two companies (or three if you separate MillerCoors) control the majority of the US beer market now. Personally, I think they've reached their high water mark. Too many people now realize there's better tasting beer out there, and most of them will never go back to those less flavorful brands. "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm once they've seen Karl Hungus." - The Dude
  5. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    I hope you're right. My feeling in the past has been that the megabrewers are pretty irrelevant to craft beer; they are selling a different product to a different market. However, the realization that they have the money and power to someday buy up the whole craft beer industry and dumb it down the way they have done to other beers like Hoegaarden is unsettling. There's always homebrew...
  6. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,191) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    I disagree completely. I think it is completely improbable, and I am not in the least worried about it. There will always be a niche market for those things crafted by artisans, including, perhaps especially, beer.

    I worry that the craft beer revolution succeeds too quickly and well, and there will be insufficient numbers of artisans to produce and oversee the beers we love on a larger scale. Green Flash, for example, will soon be bi coastal. I worry the small guys will not produce the quality they do now once they get a bit larger, not that they will be purchased by ABInBev.
  7. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    This has already happened to quite a few breweries...
    cavedave likes this.
  8. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,094) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    While I agree with the possibility, I'm not convinced of the actuality and would be really interested in seeing any data that might support a claim like this.
  9. bishopdc0

    bishopdc0 Defender (657) Jan 23, 2010 Maine
    Beer Trader

    The problem I have with the ruthless pursuit of shelf space and the purchase of smaller breweries ie GI is regardless of what you think money will come first. BCBS is continued to be made because it is profitable but what do you think will be the first to go when things get tough. As a student of finance and economic I can tell you that the second something changes, price of barrels increase, cost of storage etc the whole thing will be reconsidered. I don't buy BMC first because of taste but also the same reason I buy my beer at a local bottle shop not Walmart, I bank with a local credit union instead of bank of last bit of rant will be about a very successful brewery,I think they have tripled capacity in the last couple of years, Allagash. An,amazing company that produces a whole line if beer that donates profits to charity. the started a koelschip program and produce amazing sour for what I've been told no profit. They also work with other local breweries with ingredients letting the use their lab and expertise. This is how a business who make a good.product can be successful but the only worries are employees and customers.
    JediMatt likes this.
  10. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,191) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Every small brewery that has ever been in business either is still in business or no longer is. There is a market for those small craft beers. The cycle continues, despite what you think about the politics of ownership, driven by the taste of the consumer. Every company uses the tools at their disposal to sell beer, including Allagash and Budweiser. Allagash gets your support by donating to charity. This is because they are too small to do what the large corp.'s do. There are only two kinds of businesses, ones that make a profit, and ones that are closed down, and all sizes use what they have to accomplish this. Since you take economics you know that profit is neutral, there is no political statement nor right or wrong in the pursuit of it (except when laws are broken) and all advertising (donating to charity is advertising- if it wasn't you would not know about it) is to make profit. There now my rant is over too.
  11. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Goose Island signature 312 Imperial Pale Ale

    mschofield likes this.
  12. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    I wont, but I dont drink stouts.
  13. Mavajo

    Mavajo Zealot (572) Feb 10, 2007 Georgia

    I can't imagine this would succeed. It'd be a clear monopoly.
  14. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Not necessarily. I heard someone say once that the difference between Sierra Nevada and A-B (the companies) is "four generations". I dont know anything about their kid situations, but there isnt necessarily a need to sell. If they have kids who want to take over the business, that is an option.

    And the question is, 4 generations from now, will New Glarus or Sierra Nevada or Bells be like A-B, and a large public company, even if still family controlled, or like Yuengling, and held entirely by the family?
  15. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    They would have to sell off some stuff to get US approval, but in the rest of the world it would probably fly. At worse, the sell-offs would be smaller.

    Edit: What would probably happen is that US Miller would be sold to MolsonCoors, as the MillerCoors US partnership is already fine. The rest of SABMiller could then become part of ABInbev without much problem.
  16. dumptruck81

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

    This statement plus your avatar =:confused:
  17. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    That isnt a stout, its a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

    Edit: This year's version was brewed on Tuesday, bubbling nicely in my basement right now.
  18. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,906) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Speaks volumes for the accuracy of the article, doesn't it?
  19. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Crusader (736) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Yes, this is quite true as well. I focused on the article's mention that the beer did not taste the same.
  20. DonDirkA

    DonDirkA Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2011 Arizona

    I didn't buy AB-InBev for a long time out of principal. However, with their recent moves to acquire craft breweries (Widmer, GI, Kona, etc) that has gained some SLIGHT flexibility. If I see a really interesting Widmer Reserve, I'll probably grab it. If I had a chance to buy BCBS, I'd jump on it. I don't drink Kona, so fuck em. But I will never buy BCBS by the case or grab multiple Widmer brews to age. I still want to stick to my guns as much as possible. I might take a sixer or two of BCBS (I don't really know, I've never even tried it) but thats the most you'll see from me. I still refuse to buy most other AB-InBev products. If my $10 here or there help them that much then maybe I'll stop. I can say right now that I have only spent about $35-50 on any of their products in the past 1.5-2 years.
  21. bishopdc0

    bishopdc0 Defender (657) Jan 23, 2010 Maine
    Beer Trader

    I do wish to reply about profits. Independent businesses or employee owned business do not need to make profit. On a balance sheet profit is determined after all costs and revenue. Over simplifying it subtract the two and you get profit. For Budweiser this mean dividends, again oversimplified, for stakeholders for a independent brewery if they break even it is fine as all costs(wages, building, inventory) are covered this means business continues. Businesses don't fail when there is no profit they fail when costs are more then revenue.

    I by no means am anti corporation or for profits what I'm against is a rational consumers not uSing their buying power to promote businesses that they support especially with a commodity like beer. there are to many good beer companies with good beer to support a bad beer company. Just lite I don't support a company that makes bad beer even if they are a good company.
    cavedave likes this.
  22. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    Wouldn't there still be thousands of other non Inbev beers to choose from nonetheless?
  23. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Poo-Bah (1,692) Jan 31, 2005 California
    Supporter Beer Trader

    Like the linked article about our fine President's brews- OBAMA'S BREWS. Interesting. Trade valuation? Whale, due to rarity?:wink:
  24. BrettHead

    BrettHead Devotee (478) Sep 18, 2010 Nebraska

    ISO: Goose Island signature 312 Imperial Pale Ale
  25. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,191) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    I agree with the sentiments in general here, turns out we agree mostly. That said, I take a longer view of things, and this perhaps explains how I don't take political stands about beer businesses, because every "large evil capitalist brewery that needs to be shunned" once was a small business that was cherished by consumers in the way we now cherish our fledgling local craft brewers.

    And so it may come to pass that these brewers we now idealize may decide, through changes of plans, or through adversity requiring the sale of stock (not making a profit means no reserve capital to weather all adversities), or through the demands of a thirsty public, to grow larger. They one day may be the evil capitalists. Will you then feel guilty that your purchases now helped fueled their rise?

    Business is neutral, unless it breaks laws. ABInBev, so far as I know, breaks no laws. It is also quite obvious that while they are engaged in the practices you deplore, the craft beer movement has succeeded remarkably. Perhaps it would succeed better if ABI didn't do what they do? Perhaps, in an anti-intuitive way that so often is the case, the craft beer movement is helped by their tactics. All we can say is that craft beer is growing greatly, because of, or in spite of, ABI. I don't pretend to know, and I am sure you don't think you do either. These are just facts.

    Fine beer is what I am interested in drinking. Those that can provide it for me most easily, most reliably, and most economically are those from whom I will purchase. Until now no product of theirs has fit the criteria, but I am happy to be able to buy BCBS easily, reliably, and somewhat economically. Should they stop producing the fine quality, I will stop drinking it, but it won't be about their morals.

    Okay it's really over this time:slight_smile:
    bishopdc0 likes this.
  26. BrettHead

    BrettHead Devotee (478) Sep 18, 2010 Nebraska

    You are not going to find revenues, expenses, or net income on any balance sheet ever...
  27. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    The 'data' I refer to is collected by taste buds. As for breweries that used to be great and are now mediocre at best (quality-wise, not marketing-wise) you can start with Magic Hat, Redhook, and Widmer. Others can no doubt chime in.
    cavedave likes this.
  28. bishopdc0

    bishopdc0 Defender (657) Jan 23, 2010 Maine
    Beer Trader

    Like I said oversimplified. I never intended this to be a lesson on liabilities and assets. I used it as a simple version of showing financial balance for a business....
    that said here is a copy of AB InBev's Balence sheet. Remember the numbers are in thousands(aka add 3 zeros to the end)
    BrettHead likes this.
  29. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    I'll take you up on the invite. 2 out of 3 ain't bad (Magic Hat/Red Hook) . . . but I think Widmer has actually gotten better the last few years (Drifter, Nelson, Rotator IPAs, Galaxy BW)
  30. bishopdc0

    bishopdc0 Defender (657) Jan 23, 2010 Maine
    Beer Trader

    Im glad to finally have a discussion on BA that wasn't a stupid back and forth and it actually was more then what the best IPA or something. I can certainly respect your opinions as to a certain degree they are my own, however I have yet to find myself in the position of loving a product and not liking the producer. Oddly enough I've only had BCBS once like 4 years ago when I live in the Mid-west. A friend was introducing me to craft beer at the time. So my mind may change but I think given my steadily increasing access to new breweries I can see not having trouble finding something that will meet my somewhat pie in the sky criteria.

    cavedave likes this.
  31. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    We don't get the stuff you mention in the east (or even in CO as far as I know). The Widmer brews available here might as well be brewed in China for all I know. I hear melamine really enhances head retention.

    Maybe a little harsh, but I like my melamine reference so I'm leaving it up:slight_smile: - no offense. I'll look at Widmer reviews since I can't drink them right now and might have to retract a little.

    edit: I do remember the Widmer lagers I drank 20 years ago; nothing from them that I can get my hands on now comes close.
  32. TheRealDBCooper

    TheRealDBCooper Aspirant (209) Mar 17, 2010 Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands
    Beer Trader

    From a purely business perspective, I would not be at all surprised to see Inbev in trouble in 5 years. Changing recipes and not buying hops this year because they have too many left over from last year (WTF?) well help the bottom line in the short term, but push customers away. Won't be too long before they start discounting.
  33. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,094) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    So, your tastes haven't changed in 20 years and while a very small percentage out of 300-1000 breweries, depending on when one starts counting, got bigger and quality suffered, you can't think of any breweries of that age that got bigger and quality remained the same or improved?
  34. chcfan

    chcfan Devotee (466) Oct 29, 2008 California

    Are you sure that it isn't that you've tried many interesting beers in recent years making the beers from those breweries not seem special anymore? Those are sort of "training wheels" craft brewers as it is.
    drtth and Beerandraiderfan like this.
  35. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Magic Hat was great once?

    Ive had their beer in all their ownership forms, and Ive never been anything but whelmed.
    drtth and Beerandraiderfan like this.
  36. kexp

    kexp Initiate (185) May 10, 2007 North Carolina

    Drink your local brewery's fresh, quality beer, and you'll be just fine.
    cavedave likes this.
  37. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Certainly my palate has changed, but not enough to account for some differences I'm seeing. BMC beers have actually been useful for calibration in that regard because they haven't changed much (until now, maybe). I will say that my hop aroma threshold is a lot higher than it was in the old days. Maybe if I stopped drinking IPA's for a year or 2 it would come back down (not gonna happen with Alchemist, Lawsons and Hill Farmstead in the neighborhood).

    There are certainly plenty of good breweries who improved, and are still improving, as they got big. I already mentioned Sierra Nevada. Also New Belgium, Smuttynose, Dogfish, Stone, Ommegang, etc. Lots of smaller local brewers too. In VT, Rock Art has quadrupled in size and improved its beers greatly in the last few years. Possibly more breweries improve as they grow than decline; I was just giving a couple of examples in reply to cavedave.
  38. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,094) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Just as an FYI, both your palate and your calibration standard have changed over the last 20 years. BMC beers now generally have close to half the IBUs they had "back in the day."

    And thanks for the listing of breweries that improved as they got big. It reinforces my belief that getting bigger doesn't necessarily mean loss of quality. For me it’s the people who make the beer great, not the size of the brewery. So I'd have suggested to cavedave that the thing he's concerned he might see has little to do with a small brewery getting bigger and is an inevitable side effect of the fact that things change, some for the worse, some for the better.
    cavedave likes this.
  39. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,191) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    It would be my pleasure to discover that that, for the types of beer we all love, things did continue to get better, and that there is little inevitability to producer size growth reducing product quality.
  40. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,094) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Well in one sense breweries are like people. Some get better, some get worse, some don't change. The question is are there more getting better than there are getting worse? And you've already answered that question more than once when you point out, as you have several times, that the world of beer now is sooooo much better than it was when we were both younger and more foolish. :slight_smile:
    BrettHead and cavedave like this.
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