Zombie Beer Brands

Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, Jul 7, 2017.

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  1. BeerAdvocate

    BeerAdvocate Admin (16,842) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Society

    Something that’s not discussed often enough about the impact of independent (indie) brewers selling out to megacorps is where we as consumers see it the most: on menus and shelves.

    Read the full article: Zombie Beer Brands
     
  2. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,919) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    Just an observation: you guys seem to have made a transformation from "Respect Beer" to "Craft Beer as a Movement". IIRC, it wasn't that long ago (about when I joined, I guess) that you would make it a point to stand for beer, all beer. Maybe my memory is faulty.

    To the point of your article, though, I think you underestimate (or at least don't mention) the threat to "big craft" (e.g. Sierra Nevada, BBC, etc.) represented by the locavore / local taproom business model, independent of the High End beers from AB-Inbev.

    While your article doesn't name names, do you include in your "zombie" class others like Lagunitas and Founders who are also owned by macro brewers at a percentage above the Brewers Association's limit?

    Personally, I've never enlisted in the Movement, since I am more concerned with taste and variety than with ownership.

    Having said that, though, in my database of beers I've purchased since about 2012 (when I started keeping records), nearly 50% are from within a 100 mi radius of my home, and over 60% are from within 300 miles. And this is without any conscious motive to "buy local" as a part of a movement. I just buy what interests me.

    But, since I rarely stop by a taproom, and buy nearly all of my beer from liquor stores, pushing "local" (in quotes, since IDK if 300 miles is truly "local") beer off the shelves is a concern.

    But, so far, the brands that are seemingly being pushed into smaller shelf space occupancy in the store I frequent the most are the "big craft" brands, not the "local" brands.
     
    #2 MNAle, Jul 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  3. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (519) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado
    Trader

    I think this problem manifests itself most clearly in the following venues: Chain restaurants, (chain) bars, sporting venues, concert venues.

    You look at the beer list for most of these places- they have BMC products sometimes completely. They might have Blue Moon, Shock Top, Goose Island, all really generic faux-craft beers. It gives the illusion of choice without actually having much or any choice. It appeals to the "masses" and might even give them the idea they are drinking craft beer, but completely leaves the beer enthusiasts in the cold.

    Meanwhile some of the small local independent places are still featuring good local or even "hyper-local" beers.

    And what is causing this lack of choice? The promise of more profitability from the BMC players.
     
  4. KevSal

    KevSal Meyvn (1,063) Oct 17, 2010 California
    Trader

    90% of the people on this site are chasing AB beers on black friday
     
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  5. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (519) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado
    Trader

    I'd just like to point out that you made that number up and I'd be surprised if it was accurate.
     
  6. notnice_75

    notnice_75 Initiate (0) Apr 7, 2017 Iowa

    Did you know that 68.44% of all statistics are made up on the spot? Nonetheless, I think KevSal's point is that a significant number of Beer Advocates are merrily quaffing Bourbon County when the holidays come around...
     
  7. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (10,034) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Anheiser Busch? Doubtful. :wink:
     
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  8. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,919) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    Too bad you didn't say "99%". I've always wanted to be in the 1% :grinning:
     
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  9. KevSal

    KevSal Meyvn (1,063) Oct 17, 2010 California
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  10. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,807) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Not the NYC contingent.

    But only because there's no actual 'chasing' required :wink:
     
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  11. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Zealot (522) Dec 19, 2006 California
    Deactivated

    Well said. I'm getting a bit tired of the bashing that's taking place on this site every time a brewery is bought -- people rushing to very publicly call out the brewery and encourage others to stop purchasing their products. Seems to be a popular thing in today's culture: We want to be "anti-shaming" -- yet if a brewery makes one perceived misstep, their detractors very vociferously shame the people that made the decision to sell. If you don't like what direction the company is going in, then don't give them your business -- but stop trying to rally the troops to support your disdain.
     
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  12. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (519) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado
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  13. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Zealot (522) Dec 19, 2006 California
    Deactivated

    From the article: "Unfortunately, our utopia was breached years ago and we’ve allowed it to fester into a pandemic as we’ve high-fived each other on the craft brewing train. There’s still time to stop the zombie beer brand apocalypse. But we can’t be complacent. Support independent brewers by encouraging your local bars, restaurants, and stores to become zombie-free zones."

    Let's unpack the intent behind this sentiment -- that we are to educate the proprietors of our favorite local bars, restaurants, and stores. I'm not the type of person to tell the owner, beer buyer, or manager, etc., at my local watering holes that he or she should stop carrying certain brands. I would, however, inquire with them as to whether they might be carrying/tapping certain independent beers that I like in the future, which I suppose is a form of encouraging them to be "zombie-free." But the idea that I'm going to rattle off about how they're proliferating the "zombie beer brand apocalypse" and that they should stop purchasing certain brands is preposterous; and frankly would make someone come off like a real asshole. I understand that referencing myself and what I would do is anecdotal and there may very well be lots of people on this site that feel differently about this topic.
     
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  14. KevSal

    KevSal Meyvn (1,063) Oct 17, 2010 California
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  15. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,140) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Read this: https://www.beeradvocate.com/articles/10514/why-we-beer-smack/ and then read past Smacks. You'll see that we're been just as, if not more, critical of small brewers and the industry in general.
     
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  16. drtth

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

    The problem is that such estimates are so subject to cognitive biases of more than one kind that they are pretty much useless when it comes to actually estimating real numbers.
     
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  17. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,140) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    I remember grossly exaggerating my first percentage in order to help provide more weight to my point. :wink:
     
  18. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Zealot (522) Dec 19, 2006 California
    Deactivated

    Fair enough. The "Smack" articles do embody your overall philosophy. I appreciate what The Bros. and fellow BA'ers are trying to do here -- which I believe is to advocate for beer: Independent beer that caters to the consumers' tastes and various, often changing, whims. I'm a bit cynical in the sense that I feel there is fairly little we can actually do to fight the tide of "Big Beer" acquiring breweries. For me, I vote with my feet. I support the "big craft" guys that I love such as Sierra Nevada, the middle guys that I love such as Modern Times, and the really small guys that I love such as Russian River -- because I want all of them to stay in business. After reading some of the "Smack" articles, I get that the point is to stop pussyfooting around the issues.
     
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  19. KevSal

    KevSal Meyvn (1,063) Oct 17, 2010 California
    Trader

    the original comment was made in jest. but in thinking about it more and more I don't think its too far off. AB has done a crazy good job acquiring brands that people love unfortunately and don't have a clue. Elysian is one brand that comes to mind, especially on how anti-bud they were before. i bet large amounts of Space Dust are being consumed by folks who have no clue they are drinking AB.
    i see a shit ton of ISOs for Vanilla Rye too, i wont put out an exaggerated number, but i can bet a large amount of "ISO:list" contains VR :wink:
     
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  20. Buck89

    Buck89 Poo-Bah (3,148) Feb 7, 2015 Tennessee
    Society Trader

    I share your sentiments, and your three examples are likely my three favorite breweries outside of my local ones.
     
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  21. Soneast

    Soneast Champion (834) May 9, 2008 Wisconsin

    Seems accurate. As evidenced by all the ABInbev defenders on this sight. Talk about Stockholm Syndrome.
     
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  22. KevSal

    KevSal Meyvn (1,063) Oct 17, 2010 California
    Trader

    i feel like a lot of the older members here are trying to support local as much as possible, but a large portion of the newer members on here just dont care.

    i used to go to the black friday releases myself too. i didnt stop because its now owned by inbev, i stopped because theres WAYY too many people lining up and people started lining up at 3am. how many people have eliminated goose island completely? honestly? is it a lot more than 10%??
     
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  23. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Meyvn (1,028) Nov 4, 2015 New York

    & so does (or did), BA, if that counts as "support". (Btw, I had a Bud:confused:, a Negra Modelo (1st time) & a Stella(1st time) for the AAL thing a few weeks ago.)
    " Some argue this is not craft beer anymore due to change of ownership—we say “bollocks” to that. BCS has cult status and deservedly so. A slow sipper due to the size, and closing in on perfection makes it very easy to sip!! Cheers to Goose Island for its continuation and expansion within their barrel program."
    - BA
    :wink:
     
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  24. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,140) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    And a lot has changed with Goose Island, its beers, us, and the industry in the over 5 and a half years since the review in question occurred. We've admittedly struggled with the whole "craft beer" thing, too.
     
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  25. NYR-Zuuuuc

    NYR-Zuuuuc Disciple (335) Jan 1, 2013 Connecticut

    "Most statistics found on the internet are wildly inaccurate."
    -Abe Lincoln
     
  26. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,430) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    Oh I am and I have. With humor though and usually in response to a question after first making sure I've dismounted and stepped away from my high horse.
     
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  27. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (2,310) Jun 18, 2010 New York
    Society

    Isn't this is much as an issue with the 3 tier distribution model as it is with corporations acquiring craft brands? When the big brands control distribution, the result is going to be more tap handles devoted to their offerings. A good craft beer bar has to work with many suppliers to have a well curated draft and bottle list.
     
  28. DrumKid003

    DrumKid003 Aspirant (245) Aug 10, 2013 Oklahoma

    I will continue to support "megacorp" beers that use to be independent because they're cheaper than some of the local brewers who are asking $14-$16 for a 4-pack of 16oz. cans.
     
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  29. KevSal

    KevSal Meyvn (1,063) Oct 17, 2010 California
    Trader

    yea i read this too, and i think a lot of beer drinkers are in the same mindset. honestly bcbs is still damn good, you can't argue that

    really good honest response! i like the fact that your keeping that 2013 review because that's exactly how you felt at the time

    bottom line is it really sucks that big bought goose island :slight_frown:. that's the toughest one to let go if you plan to steer clear of bmc. i like drinking good beer, which unfortunately includes bcbs every year. good news is most of my money goes to SARA, the bruery (well i guess they are heading down that path :/) but most recently fieldwork! they opened a brewery 7 min from my work. dammit they make good beer.
     
  30. drtth

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

    Need to keep in mind that the vast majority of the subset of all BAs who post in these forums can't see the twinkle in your eye when you say things intended in jest.
     
  31. JayORear

    JayORear Meyvn (1,206) Feb 22, 2012 New York
    Society Trader

    This is a piece that really would have benefited from concrete examples. I guess I understand the sentiment to not name names, but without examples, it feels very inside baseball and opaque. I can't help but feel someone like @ModernTimesJacob would have gone straight for the jugular and named a dozen "zombie" beers.
     
  32. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,140) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    It had nothing to do with not wanting to name names. We only have so many words to work with in print. Also, in Draw and Hold the Line we specifically called out AB InBev and mentioned that we'll be naming names soon.
     
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  33. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,430) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    I can't help it, just the words "zombie beer" make me laugh.
     
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  34. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,486) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Trader

    Anymore over half the beer on shelves at my local bottle shop is on my do not buy list. I remember a time when I didn't have much choice, and now I would rather intentionally abstain from buying big beer rather than not caring and ending up back in the old days...
     
  35. DonicBoom

    DonicBoom Initiate (64) Mar 26, 2015 Virginia

    Yeah, especially when some of them taste very much alive and are made with the same care and craftsmanship as when they were independently owned. The article makes no distinction between a generic crafty beer appealing to the lowest common denominator and a BCBS. Apparently, they are equally shunned and dismissed as soulless.
     
  36. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,486) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Trader

    Why should there be a distinction? Bully style business practices are tolerable if you're buying a BA stout but not a witbier? Please....
     
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  37. KevSal

    KevSal Meyvn (1,063) Oct 17, 2010 California
    Trader

    off the top of my head in the US from inbev:

    10 barrel
    elysian
    goose island
    wicked weed :slight_frown:
    golden road
    breckenridge
    blue point
     
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  38. DonicBoom

    DonicBoom Initiate (64) Mar 26, 2015 Virginia

    The distinction is not about style but about quality and craftsmenship. A consensus world-class rendition of virtually any style has more soul than a sub-par product, regardless of what you may divine about the souls of the producers.

    I was not referencing allegations of bullying because I do not see them in the article. It talks about megcorps "locking out indie brewers." Granted, that sometimes may involve bullying, so there's a potential subtext. But the article only cites megacorps adding crafty options to their portfolio.
     
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  39. KindaFondaGoozah

    KindaFondaGoozah Aspirant (212) Jan 1, 2013 Wisconsin

    Paraphrasing the late Samuel Clemens (a great skeptic and fun to read) "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics." He cribbed it from Benjamin Disraeli, so that muddies the waters...:wink:
     
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  40. Stockatron

    Stockatron Initiate (191) Apr 13, 2017 Australia

    Think of it this way- the real craft beer breweries are making the entire beer scene better. Yes, once the big beer money buys a small craft brewery the beer is instantly not as good as it was, but that beer is still better than the big beer companies current beers. I dont know as many detailed stories from the US as I do from Australia but the cashed out craft brewers moved on to another interesting project soon afterwards anyway. In some ways the drinkers are benefiting from the capital expenditure of big beer in this way, though it still hurts when a favourite gets zombied.
     
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