Thoughts from a brewer on the ramifications of ABI buyouts...

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by khiasmus, May 18, 2017.

  1. khiasmus

    khiasmus Crusader (733) Jun 12, 2006 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I've been wanting since the Wicked Weed buyout to write my theory of what could be coming to the craft beer world in the next few years. I don't have a much-read blog or access to a national newspaper, but decided to share my thoughts here for consideration by the beer community.

    I have been involved in the beer world for many years now, though since becoming a professional brewer I have been much less active on BA other than lurking. I was in retail in one of the best beer stores in the southeast for several years, founded my own brewery and worked there for a few years, and am now the head brewer at a small regional production brewery. I am not an expert on the inner workings of multinational corporations, but have some observations about the direction of craft beer culture that I hope you will consider.

    My assertion is that the Wicked Weed buyout is different from all the previous ones for several reasons, and the possible ramifications could be catastrophic to the industry we love.

    First, in all the others, ABI was taking a successful mid-sized or larger craft brewery and was purchasing them in order to get a share of the profits on an established brand. This is understandable for a corporation their size, and I didn't see much backlash on any of these purchases; I even purchased BCBS with a relatively clear conscience. I know the volume number thrown around for Wicked Weed is 40,000 barrels, but according to the BA data for 2016, their annual production was only 7,000 barrels. This is not a particularly moneymaking proposition for ABI, unlike Goose Island or even Devil's Backbone.

    Secondly, Wicked Weed is a craft only brand with little broad-market appeal. They made their name on sours and double IPAs, quite unlike any other brand in The High End's portfolio; the others all have approachable beers easily marketed to non "beer geek" clientele. (WW has some of these as well, but they are not a major focus for the brand... yet.)

    Thirdly, the WW buyout has struck such a chord with craft consumers because they were "one of us," despite having much more financial backing than most craft startups; they talked the talk of "sticking it to the man" and were in what for all intents and purposes is the most local-centric, independent-focused market in the country.

    So, what's ABI's purpose here? I would like to posit a theory that is terrifying and may be far-fetched, but I think is worth consideration.

    Since craft's inception, ABI has not been out to compete with us (indeed, it would have been seen as an elephant competing with a gnat), but has been out to destroy us. I don't need to go into the business practices and throwing of money; you all are well enough aware already. When they began purchasing regional craft breweries, I, and possibly you, thought "ah, well, they've realized they can't beat us so they may as well get a slice of the pie."

    I think I was wrong; their purchase of WW solidified my thoughts.

    ABI is not naive, and is run by some of the smartest business minds in the world. If they set out to utterly destroy craft beer, which I believe they have, they can and will. Two things can stop them: the DOJ (unlikely) and consumers. That's why I have sworn off all of their brands, and am trying to convince the rest of us that value craft beer to consider doing the same.

    My theory: ABI continues to buy craft brands, changing little about their portfolios, pricing or management for the next few years. We are all lulled to disinterest and accept that they are simply making profits on some good beers, and it isn't such a bad thing: after all, "we can all get BCBS now!"
    At some point, there comes a time that ABI has every style, every type of beer that any consumer could possibly want, and even enjoys the consumer's illusion of choice. At this point their power play is quite simple.

    They slash prices.

    Now you can buy Pernicious for $6 a six pack, and you're staring at Ruination for $15. What do you do? You may still buy Stone, but 90% of your peers won't; Wal-Mart and McDonald's have proven that we would rather pay $3 for something from a greedy corporation that puts local stores out of business than spend $6 on the same thing from someone that goes to our church.

    And if this scenario ever actually comes to pass, a vast majority of craft breweries will be forced to close or scale entirely into brewpubs. We simply won't be able to survive when our velocity drops to zero. And then, of course, their loss leaders are marked back up and they are making every single bit of profit in the entire craft segment.

    It's a terrifying thought to me, and I hope it's just a fantasy. But I know historically what they have done and how they have fought against us, and would not at all put it past them. This is why I believe our only recourse is right now. If we choose right now to no longer support any of their brands, and we explain to our friends why, we could possibly have an impact and be able to stave this scenario off. Especially with brands that are pure craft, where it was largely only true craft drinkers that made up a majority of their sales, maybe we can make it a losing proposition for them and their acquisitions will go the way of Bud American Ale.

    I sincerely hope I'm wrong, and my purpose here is not to offend anyone, but give food for thought as to where we should be putting our craft beer dollars. Thanks for reading. Cheers.
     
  2. pinyin

    pinyin Disciple (309) Sep 19, 2013 New York

    The Wicked Weed purchase might have something to do with Asheville's proximity to Richmond (Stone) and Daleville (Ballast Point). It seems like these areas have a lot to offer larger corporations in terms of tax breaks, distribution points, cheaper labor, and burgeoning local economies.
     
  3. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,139) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Wait, you mean brewing is a business subject to all the same market forces of competition as all other businesses?

    All those who believed Big Beer would roll out a welcome mat for the new, small interlopers (craft beer) staking out their long held territory please raise your hand.
     
  4. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,910) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    If I actually believed that the ABInBev goal,had been to spend all that money for the sake of the profit margin those very few breweries had at the time of their purchase I'd think them stupid rather than bright. They've at least 2000 other demonstrably successful breweries to have chosen as well. Since they have purchased only 10 out of well over 5000 breweries they might have tried to buy instead (less than one half of one percent of the craft breweries they don't own) I don't think that profit only is their strategy, nor do I think those 10 breweries were the only 10 they would have been able to purchase out of the already proven successes if they just wanted profit margin.

    I'd suggest instead their purchases have been made with different goals in mind. As others have pointed out geographic location seems to have been at least one important factor to their choices.

    If they hadn't been losing market share and failing to gain a strong foothold with certain critical demographics that have entered the marketplace or changed in their beverage preferences in recent years I'd think their goal was simply to undercut their competition on prices and I'd think their marketing research team should be fired. But amongst those demographics where they have been losing or not gaining market share, those individuals who choose solely based on prices are in the small minority compared to those who make their purchasing decisions with price paying little if any role in their choices.

    Rather I'd suggest that ABInBev are playing a very different game than most or all of us realize.
     
    #4 drtth, May 18, 2017
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  5. donspublic

    donspublic Meyvn (1,102) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Beer Trader

    That might play out that way, but find it hard to see how they can convince the upper tier of management and stockholders that we need to take a loss for a few years to run some people out of business.

    I think to some part that when InBev pulls one of these buyouts that there is initial outrage, taplines pulled, customers going batshit the whole cycle of I will never buy from them again, and then they find themselves perhaps picking up one now and then but they never really recover and go back to them like they used to. And I don't believe that this is only BA's, there are other non beer centric people that would rather support the small guy than the big corporation. I can tell you that since Karbach sold out to InBev I see their BA and one off's on shelves everywhere. They will probably say "well we make more now" but I don't think that is the case.

    Another thing is if you are buying beer because of the price, then you really don't care who makes the beer. If InBev is selling an IPA for $6 and there are locals that cost more (not significantly more mind you) then I think the better beer will win. If we all bought beer because of price we would all be running around drinking Steel Reserve 211 (hell even the bros gave that puppy an 83).
     
  6. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (1,793) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I can't see any reason why their whole strategy would be centered around trusting that retailers will play along. If the wholesale price is that cheap, and the beer sells well, most stores will gladly mark that sixer up to $13 and take the windfall for themselves.
     
  7. Riff

    Riff Zealot (518) May 12, 2016 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    As well as Sierra Nevada (Asheville) and Deschutes (Roanoke). One more thing I had noticed when Deschutes announced coming out this way was access to plentiful, clean water. Ballast Point, Deschutes, and Sierra Nevada are all in a temperate rainforest zone where summer months with 5+ inches of rainfall aren't uncommon. Richmond is along the James River, which benefits from all the rainfall coming through to the Chesapeake.

    I know Virginia has actively sought out and offered tax breaks to incoming breweries, to the point that Hardywood (Richmond born brewery) was complaining about the amount of help Stone received while they didn't get nearly as much. Not sure if that's changed since they now have a pilot brewery in Charlottesville and are building a new brewery in Goochland, but I digress. I wouldn't be surprised if they figure North Carolina would be willing to bend over for them.

    Also of note, each purchase has been in a different state so far: Arizona (Four Peaks), Virginia (Devils Backbone), North Carolina (Wicked Weed), Washington (Elysian), Oregon (10 Barrel), Colorado (Breckenridge), California (Golden Road), Illinois (Goose Island), New York (Blue Point), Texas (Karbach). Don't be surprised if they continue that pattern, with an inevitable goal of a brewery in each state.
     
    1ale_man, cjgiant, guinness77 and 5 others like this.
  8. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,910) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Excellent point about the water access.

    One of the things I learned a while back is that the economic conditions in the general Ashville area of North Carolina have long benefited from certain companies creating a new location there in part because of the air quality and the opportunity to make first use of the water when they were upstream from others who wanted to use that water for some purpose of their own.
     
    Riff likes this.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,738) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    "Since craft's inception, ABI has not been out to compete with us (indeed, it would have been seen as an elephant competing with a gnat), but has been out to destroy us."

    With over 5,000 craft breweries in existence and with new breweries coming online at around 1-2 breweries per day there is absolutely no way that ABI can "destroy" craft brewing.

    In the past few weeks there have been lots of ABI bashing with plenty of conspiracy theories being advocated. I am personally not a fan of ABI's Marketing & Sales practices but the level of ABI bashing of late is approaching the level of hysteria.:(

    Cheers!
     
  10. chimneyjim

    chimneyjim Aspirant (273) Jun 23, 2004 Oregon
    Subscriber

    You are way off on your concept of where the water is in the West. San Diego (Ballast Point) and Bend (Deschutes) are essentially desert locations. Precipitation in both cities averages around 12 inches per year. Chico (Sierra Nevada) is at the northern end of the Sacramento Valley and receives about 27 inches of precipitation per year. The U.S. average is 39 inches. None of these cities receives much rain in the summer.
     
    YamBag and Spaceman_Jer like this.
  11. donspublic

    donspublic Meyvn (1,102) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I believe @Riff is referring to the location of these breweries in Asheville and the reason for interest in locating there
     
    jesskidden and hopfenunmaltz like this.
  12. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,244) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Yes, the water is nice, but many other factors drive the breweries locating there.
     
  13. Riff

    Riff Zealot (518) May 12, 2016 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    I was talking about their new locations out east. Asheville is an average of 46 inches. Roanoke averages 43 inches. Richmond averages 44 inches.
     
    Spaceman_Jer likes this.
  14. Giantspace

    Giantspace Devotee (498) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I think it's against the law to drop prices so low as to put competitors out of business and then raise them back to high levels.

    Enjoy
     
  15. TriggerFingers

    TriggerFingers Disciple (359) Apr 29, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    I think your theory is sound, but agree with others that there a few wrinkles that need to be flushed out a little more: Pricing, Water, Location, Profit, etc. I will try to dovetail on to a few ideas posted thus far.


    Interesting thought. But I'd be willing to bet that if grocery stores were able to sell a six pack at that price, all it would take is one store chain trying to get people in the door, and others would have to follow suit. This week Elysian is $6, next week its Wicked Weed, etc. Or another idea is a publicly posted "maximum" price for their products. Its kind of the opposite of Weber does with their BBQ's. Weber has an absolute "minimum" price that kettles can be listed...so they are the same price everywhere. They never go on sale...same with the WSM's. ABI is so large that could conceivably do the opposite.


    Who says they need to take a loss? If ABI has a brewery that is losing profits, ABI makes sure that the shareholders aren't. They might be willing to take a slightly smaller profit overall now, if it means a huge overall profit later. All it takes is for a few board members to pitch a long-game scenario like this. Everyone still gets bonuses and the company turns a smaller short-term profit while they put all of the pieces to accomplish such a move into place. To quote Denzel from Training Day: "It's chess, it ain't checkas."

    I am going to disagree with you about the better beer "winning." It's an interesting thought, and I truly believe that some people will continue to buy the local craft beer at a higher cost. However, ABI doesn't need to make the BEST beer. They just need to make one that is GOOD ENOUGH for the average consumer. As long as the brand looks and tastes upscale, that's all it takes to get a huge swath of customers. Price will be a factor, but it won't be the only factor.
     
    Alexmc2, cjgiant, TongoRad and 2 others like this.
  16. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (391) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I'd be interested in knowing how many other breweries ABInbev has approached with purchase offers and been refused.
    I'm sure that for each of the 10 they have bought, there's another 10 or more that they have tried to buy. As you said, they're not only buying for the profits - a drop in the bright tank compared to that for Bud Light alone, but for branding and getting a foothold in Craft beer.
    Of course, if they wanted to, their brewers can easily put out beers comparable to almost anything a craft brewer can make, with little to no extra expenditures.
     
    keithmurray likes this.
  17. Ranbot

    Ranbot Devotee (428) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Capitalism can be cutthroat, but it can swing many ways. The more extreme a push in one direction then there tends to be an opening for someone to push in another direction, so AB-InBev could try to undercut everyone, but they will inevitably have challenges, like....
    Pricing is also a major factor in how good people perceive a product to be. Product price is one of the first pieces of marketing A noticeable drop in AB-InBev owned craft beer may increase sales some, but it will also cause people to think the product is lower quality and not worth their money, even if materials and process is unchanged. Just ask wine retailers about how many customers choose wines based on little besides the bottle price... pricing is a suggestion of quality.

    Also, as much as we may want to support local artisans if we're completely honest we also don't want to spend TOO MUCH for beer [or any product]. Some forces in the market to exert downward pressure, or at least stabilization, can be a good thing, and keeps everyone else honest. It's a balance of course, but with ~6,000 US brewers and imported beers I think there's enough competition out there to keep AB-InBev's ambitions in check.

    AB-InBev should love the relatively high craft beer prices too, because they beat all craft brewers on profit margins. They can buy their raw materials in bulk amounts a small craft brewer couldn't dream of and have very efficient world-wide distribution systems... they make way more profit on their craft beer brands. Is it a good idea to destroy that high profit business model in a risky attempt to turn craft beer into similar market as classic "domestic" beer where they compete purely on volume and slim profit margins?

    Even if they decided potential rewards of cornering the US beer market is worth the risk and difficulties above, and let's assume hypothetically they do achieve their goal of crushing all craft competition. Well, AB-InBev is already ~50% of the US beer market and had to make significant concessions to the DOJ in their merger with SABMiller. So, how much bigger could they realistically become before getting broken up as a monopoly?

    I'm no economist, but for the US market I think AB-InBev is basically at their peak market share and they know it. They can't grow any more by grabbing more of the market. Their best option for growth is to improve profit margins. Craft beer has nice profit margins so they are aggressively moving into craft beer, but they can't completely take over or depress price too much without risking killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
     
  18. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,910) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    How many they have approached and been rejected by is probably known only to ABInBev. But as do you I believe that the number of rejections is way more than 10. However, there are a few who have eventually gone public, even if only indirectly. For example, Dogfish Head was approached by ABInBev and rejected their exploratory invitation to have discussions. This is according to Caligione who mentioned it only when asked directly about it in an interview by some sort of reporter. (BTW, I also don't think it was entirely coincidental that not long after that DFH announced that they had sold 15% of the company to a venture capitalist firm that could bring marketing and other business efficencies to the table. That VC firm would then have a vested interest in helping to ensure future survival and growth of DFH as an independently owned company.)

    You know lots of people say ABInBev could make more flavorful beer if they wanted, but since the majority of their own breweries are equpped only for lager production I'm not so sure they could adapt so easily to large scale brewing of ales. Seems like in a fickle market place with lots of one-and-done consumers it might be a safer investment of resources to purchase existing success case facilities and support their growth with those resources. But without an accounting sheet in hand that's mostly speculation.
     
    cjgiant likes this.
  19. chimneyjim

    chimneyjim Aspirant (273) Jun 23, 2004 Oregon
    Subscriber

    Thanks for the clarification. Do those breweries use surface water?
     
  20. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,244) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Sierra Nevada has a well at the Mills River location. They have a lacation that has plenty of property.

    No info on the others.
     
    chimneyjim likes this.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,738) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I am of the opinion that ABI folks would say "no" to this question. It seems to me that they seek the profits that comes with craft beer. I have been buying Goose Island Sofie for quite some time (i.e., before the purchase by ABI and afterwards). I have not seen the price of this beer decrease.

    As far as I am concerned the assertions by several BAs that ABI will decrease prices of their beers from the High End division is pure speculation (e.g., a conspiracy theory).

    Cheers!
     
  22. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,450) Aug 29, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Very much so. It's called predatory pricing, and not only is it illegal (and usually pretty fucking obvious, making it more difficult to get away with), but it's incredibly risky, and a strategy that most competent business owners wouldn't do in today's modern market even if it weren't illegal.

    The other article which posits that ABI is engaged in some kind of long-term cloak and dagger attempt to shift the entire way consumers perceive the craft segment to their own "premium" brands is pretty wild. And it hinges on what is largely regarded as a pricing strategy no-no: lowing prices as a long-term, permanent strategy, rather than just as a temporary sale or discount.

    Here's the thing--for ABInBev's The High End craft brands to have a meaningful impact on overall craft industry pricing, they need a lot bigger volume relative to the rest of the segment. But the trick is that once they have that kind of volume to produce that kind of downward pressure, the brand equity of those craft brands they own will have a lot larger monetary value on the balance sheet, and so eroding their own brand equity as a backdoor way to buoy the brand equity of their "premium" brands (e.g. Bud Light) then comes with it's own significant financial cost. And there's absolutely no guarantee it would even work.

    ABInBev (and other Big Beer giants) are in a difficult position, but I don't see that position as being desperate enough to engage in such wildly theoretical and risky strategies. The Occam's Razor view of this whole thing is that ABI sees the increasing demand for craft brands, has the resources to buy into the industry and piggy-back on the existing equity of brands like Elysium, Wicked Weed, etc and grow the volumes of those breweries, and give consumers an option to drink craft that they own. It's simpler, far less risky, and has a reasonable chance of success because the segment of craft drinkers who refuse to buy ABI-owned products simply isn't big enough. If they produce good quality craft beer that people like, people will continue to drink it. Goose Island was the case study for this.
     
  23. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Devotee (479) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    If you charge a premium price for a pedestrian product in a competitive market, you will lose market share and be forced to adapt, regardless of the industry. AB might be the impetus for this reality playing out in the craft beer market, but it's always been inevitable. Craft brewers need to take a hard look at their margins and figure out if their current expansion plans make sense when the market price of a 4-pack of IPA moves from $15 to $12 to $8. Locally, I have Fort Hill Brewery offering a very good IPA at $8-9 a 6-pack. When others ask for $15-$20+ a 4-pack, it damn well better be a vastly superior product. To me, that gap is narrowing.
    And big guys like DFH, Stone, and Ballast Point continue to believe they can charge premium prices for their products in the mid-major category. I can envision a scenario where I never drink a DFH beer again except for beer fests. The quality doesn't match the price in this market. But hey, they installed a 1200 bbl fermenter yesterday and sold a piece to private equity, so they better hope I'm the only one of that mindset.
     
  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,738) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    This is the 'answer' right here.

    There really is no need for wild conspiracy theories like ABI is out to "destroy" craft brewing.

    Cheers to you for making a sane post!!!!!

    P.S. Ideally this will be the end of this thread but I doubt it since it seems to be popular on BA to bash ABI on a variety of topics.
     
    LambicPentameter likes this.
  25. DropD

    DropD Initiate (152) Dec 2, 2015 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    DFH is pretty cheap here. 60 minute goes for about 8-10 dollars a 6 pack. However, I used to buy Ballast Point pretty regularly, but the fact they charge about 15 dollars for a 6 pack has me walking right past their products the past year or so. Why pay 15 dollars for Sculpin when I can pay 10 or less for 60 minute? Ballast getting bought out by constellation didn't do anything for their pricing. people said it would be cheaper but that hasn't been the case at all.
     
  26. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,450) Aug 29, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Wait, what are you saying about my other posts?!? ;)
     
    McMatt7 and JackHorzempa like this.
  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,738) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    There is a little bit of insanity in all of us!?:oops:

    Cheers!
     
    McMatt7 and LambicPentameter like this.
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,738) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Another example that an independent craft brewery is bought out and prices have not decreased.

    I am more and more thinking the conspiracy theory of Megabrewers buying craft breweries in order to lower prices and "destroy" craft brewing is total BS.

    Cheers!
     
    StoutAtTheDevil and drtth like this.
  29. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Initiate (184) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    It's not as wild of a conspiracy theory that the big corporations are trying to destroy competition... Because the American public watched it for the at least half a century. The regular buyouts and competition killed most regional breweries/brands from the 1930-1940's until the 1970's.

    Why do you think the big breweries suddenly have changed?
     
  30. Leebo

    Leebo Initiate (120) Feb 7, 2013 Massachusetts

    There has to some meat to this, correct? Do you shop at walmart? I for one, do not.
     
  31. Leebo

    Leebo Initiate (120) Feb 7, 2013 Massachusetts

    Beg to differ. Heady Topper, Trillium, Tree House etc. Who wouldn't want those sales and cache?
     
  32. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,910) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    You have me puzzled. In the context of beer, if AB and ABInBev had been out to destroy craft from the very beginning, how on earth did craft brewers ever manage to grow, thrive and take both shelf space and market share from them? The growth of craft has been fueled by social changes that ABInBev has been powerless to prevent, so as others have said they are joining the show rather than continuing to fight a losing battle.

    As for your allusion to WalMart, I guess you believe that those Mom and Pop stores they allegedly destroyed in small town America were not already in the process of dying or going out of business as their offspring went to college and sought other employment beyond small town business so there was no "next generation" to take over the shops and stores. Again, there were major social factors at work that benefited Walmart much more than any highly aggressive and quite common business practices such as taking advantage of lower costs of doing business.
     
    #32 drtth, May 18, 2017
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
    Squire123 likes this.
  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,738) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I posted: "...the conspiracy theory of Megabrewers buying craft breweries in order to lower prices and "destroy" craft brewing is total BS."

    Until I see a systemic and consistent lowering of prices of beers from purchased independent craft breweries (e.g., Elysian, Wicked Weed,...) my position as stated above stands.

    Cheers!
     
    drtth likes this.
  34. Leebo

    Leebo Initiate (120) Feb 7, 2013 Massachusetts

    See, the need for greed, market share and the legal obligation for return on investment ( public Co's need to answer to shareholders)
     
  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,738) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Until it actually happens (re: ABI lowers the prices of Wicked Weed, Elysian,... beers) this aspect is pure speculation.

    Cheers!
     
  36. Leebo

    Leebo Initiate (120) Feb 7, 2013 Massachusetts

    Walmart, you're joking right? They are the largest private employer in the US. Sure they had a great business plan, predatory practices, really bad labor and workers pay issues, but hey, that's life right? But back to beer here. In bev does have a battle on its hands. One they plan to win. Buy joining the show. And winning. I think destroy is not the word. Controlling market share. That's the term. Not your small guys with just local range and consumers. But the Sam Adams drinkers, Blue Moon, Goose Island, oh wait, never mind.
     
  37. Leebo

    Leebo Initiate (120) Feb 7, 2013 Massachusetts

    Can't I just hate them in advance? Agreed, time will tell. Storm clouds brewing( yuk, yuk)
     
  38. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,910) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    No, I don't joke about someplace like Walmart where I don't shop because I have better places to find and buy what I want. Also notice I restricted my comment to the idea that them coming into small towns was what caused the death of certain types of small stores when those stores were already dying or already dead and didn't know it yet.

    Yes, their current new strategy may indeed to be to take on the larger craft breweries that are already nationally or mostly nationally distributed craft brewers, but that is a strategy that has only fairly recently, and was not their strategy back in the day when they were pretty oblivious to the social changes taking place in the market place that allowed craft brewers to thrive and grow. They were simply ignoring craft brewers while assuming they represented a passing fad that would soon go away as have so many other passing fads.
     
  39. Daveshek28

    Daveshek28 Initiate (109) Nov 10, 2015 New York
    Beer Trader

    May be a dumb question, may have been discussed in here (haven't read through everything yet), or may have been discussed in another thread- but is there any knowledge here/public knowledge of how many breweries ABI has tried to purchase, and whose turned them down?
     
  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,738) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Well, based upon the posts made by other BAs I would suggest that you have company here.

    Cheers!
     
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More