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. ktr5010

    ktr5010 Disciple (367) Dec 12, 2014 Illinois
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    I'll echo that I don't think that if a certain set of breweries were bought/sold to "Big Beer" that it would be some big signal or end of craft brew times. I think there are breweries I'd be surprised by based off of my perception. Revolution is tops for me. Don't know a ton about Fremont but they're up there too along with Bell's. As I look up breweries that I think are wholly independently owned, I'm continually surprised that many of them are partially owned or fully owned by another bigger brewery. It reminds me a little bit of the tech industry where small startups seem like they're only in it to get bought up by Google, Apple, Amazon, or Facebook.
     
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,179) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Are you referring to branding here? Like Budweiser IPA?

    Cheers!
     
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  3. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,798) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
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    Exactly. More like Tomahawk IPA which Budweiser made, and I thought was excellent.
     
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,179) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Jim, I would guess that the beer geek segment of the craft beer market would absolutely refuse to drink 'craft' beer which is branded BMC. I always figured this was part of the BMC strategy to purchase craft breweries vs. producing craft beer on their own.

    Do you think a sufficient portion of the beer geek segment would buy a Budweiser IPA or a Miller IPA?

    Cheers!

    P.S. I always thought it was clever of AB to purchase breweries like Goose Island and then produce those beers more efficiently at AB breweries.
     
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  5. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (982) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Rome will burn.
     
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  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,179) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    LOL!:grin:

    Well, it hasn't started burning yet and AB has been brewing Goose Island beers at two of their breweries for years now.

    Cheers!
     
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  7. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,624) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
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    There's a brewery on every corner these days. I don't think 4 (or even 10) high profile brewery acquisitions would make that big of a difference.
     
  8. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,798) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
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    Haha! The Christians started it! It's always those damned Christians! Round them up and we're going to need more lions as well.
     
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  9. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (836) Jan 22, 2011 New York
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    Not that this helps you, but what I found pretty cool was that I could buy 2.5 week old Barrier Money on Foodkick the other day
     
  10. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (982) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Rome was in England long before the HRE and Jesus. The pagans scared them seriously but it didn't last. They left and came back transformed. The Romans built amazing roads and always morphed into the currency of belief, sooner or later, whether they believed it or not. This story is as old as it stays new.
     
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  11. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,798) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
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    I think you've got it pretty right Jack. Some will turn up their noses, but there are also kids who've never seen the micro/macro battle and don't give a shit. There are also other people who don't care either way or don't know any better - Blue Moon is a great example of that.

    Shiner, Saranac, and several other regionals have been producing tons of "craft" labels lately, and even Yuengling has expanded in that direction. Even foreign brands are expanding their line-ups with more interesting beers!

    I believe it's only a matter of time before Bud-Miller-Coors and whomever actually owns them, Diagio, InBev, whatever, decides it's time to begin. And I think that's been the plan all along, they've been doing the buyouts and biding their time until the time is right.

    So back to the original question... I don't think it matters how many buy-outs there are, it won't hurt the craft movement, and it won't change my opinion of the craft movement - anything is better than what we had in the late 70's and early 80's.
     
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  12. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,893) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    Here's my take on it, distribution footprint has nothing to do with how the sellout of the particular brewery would impact the "craft beer world". While its true that some of the breweries that would have the greatest impact, have large or even national footprints, I think the bigger factor would be their reputation in the craft beer world. Thats why a place like Alchemist selling would reverberate throughout the craft beer world in spite of their very limited footprint.
    my favorite Budweiser
     
  13. beardown2489

    beardown2489 Disciple (386) Oct 5, 2012 Illinois

    Sierra Nevada
    New Glarus
    Bells
    Allagash

    If any of those 4 end up selling, craft beer is in big big trouble.


    The 5th would have been Stone but actually can imagine stone selling out now.
     
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  14. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (927) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I doubt the Alchemist is large enough to be worth taking over.
     
  15. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,893) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    Maybe not, but I think that a place like that selling would carry as much of a reverberation as say Bells.
     
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  16. jbertsch

    jbertsch Meyvn (1,157) Dec 14, 2008 Massachusetts

    What does "the end of craft beer" even mean? Can someone paint me this picture?
     
  17. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (836) Jan 22, 2011 New York
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    Yeah that was my point when I said Hill Farmstead earlier.

    I mean if Stone sold out would anyone really give that much of a shit?
     
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  18. islay

    islay Aspirant (293) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota
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    AB InBev has a from-scratch "craft" brand, even if you don't count Shock Top as one, called Veza Sur. As you mentioned, the "Big Beer" companies have periodically attempted to market less mainstream, more craft-friendly styles under big, familiar brand names, but none of those efforts really took off. I agree with @JackHorzempa that the purchases of craft breweries were a superior method to capture that segment of the market. I get a strong impression, however, that AB InBev is disappointed in the performance of most, possibly all, of the craft beer brands it acquired. The craft beer segment increasingly is shifting toward the very small and very local, and it's hard to see that sort of operation as being investible for a large multinational corporation, especially given the ownership restrictions in breweries in many states (some allow an ownership stake in no more than one brewery, some prohibit taprooms or growler sales if any of the owners produces more than a certain number of barrels per year, etc., so AB InBev can't just grab a healthy chunk of hundreds of small breweries around the country). I perceive that the large beverage companies are turning away from fighting or bringing into the fold craft beer and toward the likes of hard seltzer and other novel or revived sorts of beverages that have a chance to be the next big thing as craft beer demand plateaues and then quite possibly wanes.
     
  19. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (982) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    That is so. Maybe Stone going into Berlin was like the Germans going east into Russia? On the other hand I did have a Stone old-fashioned IPA the other day that was as good as ever.
     
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  20. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (836) Jan 22, 2011 New York
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    Have you watched / read The Road? That’s the sort of scenario we’d be dealing with.
     
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  21. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (927) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Would there be reverberations if they sold to Ken Grossman and Sierra Nevada? Or someother larger "craft" brewery,
     
  22. BayAreaJoe

    BayAreaJoe Meyvn (1,020) Nov 23, 2017 California
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    I just don't see how 4 or 5 breweries, no matter who they are, selling out or even going away would do anything to make the craft beer "market" crash or end.
     
  23. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,893) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    Agree totally with your point.
    *whispers* They already did, just not to someone anyone gives a shit about.
    Good question. I think the reverberations would be fleeting and much more subdued in that scenario than if it was sold to a BMC controlled group. We've seen before that ABI is the one that really gets people's blood up, with MC having a lesser impact and so on and so forth.
     
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  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,179) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I suppose we have to take a wait and see approach here.

    It seems to me that the only real growth portion of the craft beer segment right now are small, local breweries. There is absolutely no way that the megabreweries can 'play' here. The larger, distributing craft portion is hyper-competitive right now. I wonder if it is prudent for the BMC type companies to do more here.

    Needless to say but the only constant is change and maybe in the future the craft beer market will 'evolve' such that beers like Budweiser IPA and Miller IPA will sell well?

    Cheers!
     
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  25. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,624) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
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    I'm of the opinion that the people that really, really care about ownership are a vocal minority. Basically people that frequent this site and the major beer Facebook groups.
    The people that go nuts prior to BCBS release day and go on and on about Blue Moon being a fake craft beer.
    I feel like most consumers treat packaged beers just like they treat cereals, frozen pizza, candy bars, bread, yogurt, etc. It's not that they aren't aware that large companies make many of these things - they don't really care.
     
  26. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    *psst* not yet...., just a rumor....
     
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  27. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,866) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Been going on since the 1980s-90s:
    Coors had previously released its Geo.Killian line, Winterfest and Herman Joseph in the 1980s.
     
  28. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (289) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    This list of brands reminded me of a commercial I came across once.
    Makes one wonder what came out of that intended project.
     
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  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,866) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    That "modern" bottle of Blatz in '86 wouldn't have come out of Heileman's Val Blatz "microbrewery" but via some other Heileman "macro-sized" brewery - that new Milwaukee plant was draught-only in the beginning. It got put on the sales block during Heileman's period of collapse and, after a rumored sale to (IIRC?) Red Hook, it was eventually purchased by Leinenkugel (already a Miller subsidiary at the time). Leinenkugel/Miller eventually added a bottling line. (It's on Tenth Street in Milwaukee, whence comes half the name of MC's "Tenth and Blake" division.)

    Heileman got the Blatz label at fire-sale prices - Pabst merged with neighboring Blatz in the late 1950s, but the DoJ objected on anti-trust grounds and, eventually, they sold it to Heileman sometime in the mid-60s. Even into the 1980s, Blatz was selling over 1M bbl/yr for Heileman.
     
    #109 jesskidden, Mar 12, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  30. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,798) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
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    I recall those, particularly the Miller Reserve line which had push-back even back then. I wasn't fond of the Amber but I did like the Stout, and I think one other. I felt at the time that they were trying to compete with Boston Beer.

    And let's not forget, Miller bought into Celis back then and then destroyed them. I was quite pissed as the Celis Grand Cru was one of my favorite beers at the time. I later brewed my own version and had Pierre try it. He said it was a great European style beer but I think he was just being nice.

    The thing to note is that all of the beers you noted were basically copies of imported beers. What we're looking at now is something completely different. And in fact, thinking about that, and how popular IPAs are right now, I'm even more surprised that not one of them has thrown their hat into the ring. Don't hold your breath for a Budweiser strawberry-chocolate-vanilla milkshake beer though!
     
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  31. BirdsandHops

    BirdsandHops Poo-Bah (2,610) Apr 14, 2008 North Carolina
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    No, they would just cancel all beers planned by Sierra Nevada then would release a single beer instead. Well, they would release the wort as the base product and then sell a Gold Edition for twice as much that came with wort fermented with yeast. Of course, if you wanted a wort both fermented and dry-hopped, you would have to go for the Platinum Edition that would be a little more expensive. And for the ultimate beer nerds, you could dish out for the Collector's Ultimate Edition that was aged in a bourbon barrel. Of course, if you just bought enough of the wort, you could eventually earn the yeast, hops, and barrel separately to ferment, dry-hop, and barrel-age your own beer to provide a sense of pride and accomplishment.

    After the beer didn't sell, Sierra Nevada would be shut down.
     
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  32. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (982) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Yes, I agree. But the debate and opinion oriented nature of a public forum makes even very mundane topics fun, if not exciting. I thought the original premise of the post to be to be specious. Sometimes I blow hard, so I get it.
     
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  33. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (289) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    It was an interesting idea I guess to build sales of niche beers via draft beer, but sounds like it was all a bit too late to get off the ground. Interesting also that they built a new brewery, maybe this tells us something about how path dependent the large US breweries had become with their equipment, the size of that equipment and the processes and scheduling which were built around them. Perhaps it was easier to build a new small brewery than to fit the production inside one the existing ones, at least I imagine that to be the driving factor. Makes me think of Coors and their AC Golden division in some ways with the separate brewhouse of small niche brands, although that is of course housed inside the Coors brewery itself (and some production may have been scaled up into production in the main brewery, which I'm guessing would have been the plan for Heileman/Blatz also, if they could build enough sales).
     
  34. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (887) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania
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    Hey now, let's be fair... you could always get those extras later as DLC (Draft-loadable Content). :wink:
     
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  35. b11

    b11 Disciple (389) Jun 27, 2012 New York
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    None of the above.

    I'm certain that the sale of any known craft brewery, highly regarded or not, to some corporation, would make no difference to any individual's allegiance to craft brewery in general.
     
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  36. lr300

    lr300 Disciple (372) Feb 10, 2014 Puerto Rico
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    Side Project, SN, Dogfish, Russian River
     
  37. thehoppytourist

    thehoppytourist Initiate (15) Mar 8, 2019 Maryland
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    Not sure if it's been said already, but I think consolidation from the bottom would be good for the craft industry. The market is getting, or is already, saturated, but there's an opportunity for the best breweries to scale up by adding locations as supply and demand restabilizes. If I were a brewery eyeing expansion with additional equipment or signing on with a distributor, I may look into biding my time and increasing cash/backlog, to acquire the equipment and leasing space in a friendly market (see OH expansion into the super middling DC market)
     
  38. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (529) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    From a local perspective, what would be a significant blow would be Revolution, 3 floyds, Half Acre, and Pipeworks. But, we managed to survive GI selling up, and out and got over the gut punch of that fairly quickly because there were already several markets for beer consumers already developing that already and for whom already were not pouring GI product in their glass.
    So, I don't necessarily see the impact as being much more than a temporary OMW thing.
    What would likely be the interesting outcome of the sell up is the number of breweries that would start as an outcome of such a thing, and the "quality" of brewers moving into significant positions around the city and area taking the relative freedom of no longer being part of a larger more corporately structured organization and running with it.
     
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  39. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Zealot (505) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia
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    It's just important to note that the boy and man in the Raad scenario described will have neckbeards.
     
  40. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Devotee (497) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    I guess it depends on your definition of what encompasses "the craft beer world."

    If I told my craft beer friends that Alchemist sold out to AB-InBev the majority would give me a blank stare and say "What's Alchemist?" The rest would say, "Oh yeah...I think I've heard of it..."