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What four brewers would mark the end of craft beer if they ever sold out?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Lone_Freighter, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Poo-Bah (6,243) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    Though I haven't been on BeerAdvocate long enough, some of you know I have been been around long enough in other beer forums and my thoughts on beers and brewers. With this in mind, I started thinking recently with as many buyouts as there have been, what brewers would you think if they sold out to a bigger brewer or higher corporation, would you think this would bring an end to beer?

    Off the top of my head, with the prowess of Perennial (MO), Fremont (WA), Stone (CA) and The Alchemist (VT), yes, those are my four brewers who I would think if they sold out would make a lot of people think "something is definitely going on." But these are just my thoughts, I'm curious about the rest of you?

    What are your "four?" Or maybe "three" or possibly "five?" Let's not limit this. Honestly, I don't care about a number of breweries but let's look at breweries that have been around long enough to influence the market enough that would make a lot of people think that something is "definitely going on" that would make the beer market suspect to its fragility of possibly crashing sooner or later.
    Roguer, PapaGoose03 and Premo88 like this.
  2. Wiffler27

    Wiffler27 Meyvn (1,268) Aug 16, 2009 New Jersey

    Stone and Tree House spring to mind immediately

    but I could make a list of 10+
  3. BirdsandHops

    BirdsandHops Poo-Bah (2,381) Apr 14, 2008 North Carolina

    Sierra Nevada to be purchased by EA
  4. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Poo-Bah (6,243) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    That's why I asked. Keep going, list 'em, man. I 'm curious to know what others would think.
  5. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,285) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Lagunitas, Goose Island, Ballast Point, and Founders :wink:
  6. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Poo-Bah (6,243) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    Lol, haha, so you're say it's over, then.
  7. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,759) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    An interesting idea to explore but being a bit of a contrarian, I actually don't think there are any four craft breweries that satisfy the criteria or that would create the effect of major disruption of the demand for flavorful beer. The horse called "changed public tastes" left the barn long ago.

    So Stone, Sierra Nevada, Bell's and Duvel Moortgat (or any 4 other craft breweries) could all vanish suddenly from the face of the earth or be absorbed/acquired by one of the Big Three/Four and there would still be a demand for flavorful beer and lots of local/regional breweries to satisfiy the demand.

    There might be the same kind of "the sky is falling" response for some that existed when ABInBev bought their High End breweries, but that would also subside and eventually go away. Meanwhile the rest of the flavorful beer makers will get on with their business.
  8. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Champion (841) Nov 4, 2015 New York

    Nobody's indispensable , so the premise is off-base. If somebody important sold , then others would take their place, for those customers who would care.
  9. Pstone530

    Pstone530 Initiate (59) Mar 15, 2018 California

    I believe the end of craft beer is impossible no matter who gets snatched up by the big guys. Considering how many new local craft breweries are opening up every single day, craft beer will never die!
  10. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,553) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Exactly- this is an extension of a bottom-up societal change over the past 3 decades or so. I get why the BA would portray it as a top-down phenomenon, with themselves being at the head and preventing the "bad guys" from taking it all away from you (!!), but that's truly not where we are or how we got here.
  11. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,285) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    If the premise is that some number of large independent craft breweries being bought by "big beer" foretells the beginning of the end for craft as a whole, then I guess so. But I'm not buying that premise because there are way too many variables to consider. If "big beer" were buying major craft breweries monthly and doing things detrimental to the entire craft industry, then I'd get worried. All kinds of discussion could ensue regarding what's detrimental and whether it's happening, but I'll sleep good tonight knowing I'll still be having good craft tomorrow, next month, and next year
    5thOhio, drtth and TongoRad like this.
  12. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,397) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    To me, favourites of mine who haven't already sold a portion already, and there are a few, doesn't signal the end of Craft beer by any stretch of my imagination. Shrugs.
    PapaGoose03 and TongoRad like this.
  13. rozzom

    rozzom Crusader (783) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Surprised Hill Farmstead didn’t get an auto-mention
    DJturnstile, eppCOS and Ryanwithacomb like this.
  14. Junior

    Junior Zealot (539) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    To make me think that something is going on, just a few. Sierra Nevada, Bell’s, Stone, 3Floyds, Alchemist, Toppling Goliath, New Glarus.

    To make me think that the end of craft beer is upon us, it would take most of those and several others. And then, we would probably just see a redefinition of craft beer.
    ericwo and Milktoast75 like this.
  15. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (78) Mar 15, 2014 California

    Craft beer is akin to a hydra, from homebrew to gypsy brewers to corporate beer powerhouse, you absorb one or cut one off and more sprout out from the absence.
  16. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,285) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    It wouldn't surprise me if stone sold. Or surly. Or about 90 percent of breweries. If Sierra nevada or new Belgium sold I would shit bricks.
  17. Mindcrime1000

    Mindcrime1000 Defender (601) Apr 30, 2016 South Dakota

  18. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (78) Mar 15, 2014 California

    The 4 Horsemen of the Craft beer Apocalypse: Hazy, Brut, Milkshake, and Pastry Stout :wink::wink:
  19. HopsAreDaMan

    HopsAreDaMan Defender (638) Jul 28, 2015 Missouri

    I know it's just one brewer, but if Sierra Nevada ever sold it would be almost as big a blow to me as when Tom Petty died suddenly from an accidental drug overdose--that really sucked since IMJ he helped define modern American rock and roll. Yet even if SN did get bought out, as others have mentioned, craft beer would continue to move right along.
  20. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Poo-Bah (6,243) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    Oh yeah, I hear ya. But that's why I said it doesn't have to be "four." I said "four" because that's what came to my mind but wanted it left open to whatever number of breweries that someone could come up with that would signify a suspicion of possible things to come.
    HopsAreDaMan likes this.
  21. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Poo-Bah (6,243) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    They just bought out Sufferfest (sp?), a gluten free brewer, but still a brewer nonetheless, I don't see Sierra Nevada selling out, just my opinion.
    scootercrabb and HopsAreDaMan like this.
  22. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,759) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Well then I'd guess it would talke about half of the over 7,000 in the US to be bought for there to be a reason to worry....:slight_smile:
    5thOhio and JackHorzempa like this.
  23. HopsAreDaMan

    HopsAreDaMan Defender (638) Jul 28, 2015 Missouri

    I don't think so either. Ken went on record as saying he plans to leave the business to his kids.

    Still, there's what Tony always said and what Tony ended up doing ...
  24. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Poo-Bah (6,243) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    This would DEFINITELY be the end, then, right :grin:
    5thOhio and HopsAreDaMan like this.
  25. HopsAreDaMan

    HopsAreDaMan Defender (638) Jul 28, 2015 Missouri

    Ok, that made me laugh out loud. I'm a little embarrassed to say it, but I don't think I have ever had a beer from them.
    Lone_Freighter likes this.
  26. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,746) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    Zero. Beer was around before "craft", and i will be around well after. No brewery, or even group of breweries, is bigger than the beverage itself.
    JodiB, Foyle, VoodooBear and 7 others like this.
  27. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Poo-Bah (6,243) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    Yeah, I would shit bricks too. Forgive me if I started a shitstorm on here. I only wanted opinions from others what they thought if certain brewers got bought out if they would "trigger" certain people to think the end has come. Me, eh, I prolly think about this shit too much and prolly should just get back to reviewing beers. Time to shut my trap. Sorry to all if I came across the wrong way.
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  28. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Poo-Bah (6,243) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    Would a better title of this thread be "What Brewers That Sell Out Would Trigger An End To Craft Beer?" I'm just looking for opinions to what people think.
  29. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Poo-Bah (6,243) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    "Nobody's indespensable?" So 3 Disciples Brewing in Sebastopol, CA is off base, right? Are these guys important?

    I'm just here in Vermont, man.
    5thOhio likes this.
  30. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (78) Mar 15, 2014 California

    Or which breweries would be the infinity stones ABInbev Thanos would need to wipe out half of craft beer
  31. Rajaholick

    Rajaholick Initiate (144) Jan 9, 2011 Minnesota

    Bell's and Sierra Nevada for sure. Bell's packaging now has a statement about being family owned etc and Sierra Nevada is just synonymous with craft beer.
    Stone given how vocal they have been about craft beer independence.
    Dogfish head for all the reasons above and because along with the other 3 breweries I mentioned was one of the breweries that got me into craft beer way back when. If any of these "sold out" it would be a blow.

    All this being said, if any of these did sell, I would just drown my sorrow in more craft beer including ones made by these breweries just like I did when founders sold a stake in their brewery.
  32. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Poo-Bah (6,243) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    Thank you for actually answering my thread and not try to argue or interchange my thoughts to what others think I'm trying to say in their minds. Too many people are over thinking a simple question I asked.
  33. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (511) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Stone Brewing already sold a piece to private equity.

    Rumor on the street is that Shaun Hill doesn’t even drink beer anymore. He’s always hated being in the spotlight, I could see him selling the whole thing and taking on a new project that fits with his current artistic interests.
    beertunes and SFACRKnight like this.
  34. Ronmarley1

    Ronmarley1 Initiate (89) Jan 20, 2014 Ohio

    Glad to see Stone mentioned here. They get quite a bit of hate on BA. They’ll always have a place in my fridge, going back to the early 2000’s and my first sip of Arrogant Bastard. OG Ruination is tops in my book.
  35. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,654) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    In all seriousness, I think GI would have made many people's lists in the 2000s ...

    I don't think any craft brewery selling would "end" craft. But for me, if a Sierra Nevada sold, or Revolution Brewing, or Pipeworks, or say UCBC, I would personally, be very disappointed and saddened.
  36. stevepat

    stevepat Devotee (498) Mar 12, 2013 California

    Stone, Sierra, New Belgium, Bell's. The distressing thing to me would be the thought that the leadership of these dominate brands no longer thought it was worth it. I would wonder what they were seeing
  37. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,067) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Noooo! Say it ain't so!!!
    5thOhio likes this.
  38. islay

    islay Aspirant (237) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    I had to check the date on this post. The "Big Beer" craft brewery buyout boom is long over. It's been about two years since AB InBev's last brewery purchase. Sure, there's been some consolidation as well as some private equity purchases here and there, but, for the most part, serious investors are looking askance at breweries as an investment option. The industry has changed massively in recent years as consumers are shifting their purchasing ever more local and toward numerous tiny breweries. That trend has dampened the growth prospects of the large, regional to national players that used to be buyout targets and has in turn significantly depressed their valuations. The apparent failure from a profitability perspective of high-profile acquisitions -- such as most of AB InBev's old High End lineup and Constellation Brands' massive money-flush on Ballast Point -- has further curbed enthusiasm. In addition, the industry is concerned about the dual prospects of a broad recession and, even more worrisome, a shift in consumer preferences away from craft beer. The next wave of brewery "sellouts" may well be of failing businesses to vulture capitalists, a la Green Flash.

    Therefore, I don't think you need to worry much about your favorite brewery selling out anymore. Worry instead about your favorite brewery selling enough beer to continue as a going concern. Or don't worry at all, as others have pointed out, as there are tons of other options.
  39. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (162) Oct 6, 2004 California

    I completely understand some of the responses to the effect of no one single brewery being a death knell for craft. I would like to believe you are right.

    However, if someone like Sierra Nevada ever sold out...man, it would sure be a shock. It really would make me question the ability of large-scale craft beer to maintain staying cultural presence, as opposed to just cyclically cresting into (and out of) it.

    As to the Stone comments: 10 years ago it would have blown my mind if they sold out. Now I would not even be mildly surprised.
  40. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 Aspirant (276) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    I don't see Stone, Sierra Nevada, or New Belgium selling out because they never have in the past.

    Their excitement factor is not what it was at the beginning of the decade.
    Mindcrime1000 likes this.