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Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, Jul 7, 2017.
This is exactly what InBev wants, and you express the naivete they prey on so elequently.
You know what, I really don't care. As a CONSUMER I spend MY hard earned dollar as I want. I answer to NO ONE. No one tells me what company to shun. I buy what I like, I buy what makes me content. Mega, micro, local, whatever. In an odd sort of way I do miss the 70's when beer was just beer. Man, I miss my Schmidt's (from Philly). Pabst won't you please bring that back?
"...their lingering infestation acts as a bitter reminder of what they were and have become."
"...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."
I don't disagree with the premise of the argument in the article, I really don't.
But this writing is just over the top.
There are 10 now actually unless something's changed--the ones you mentioned plus Four Peaks (AZ), Devil's Backbone (VA) and Karbach (TX).
Wouldn't necessarily say that each of these breweries were on the global radar, or that ABI's spoils were 'crazy good' in their acquisition.
I've always considered myself a beer advocate, which is why I love this mag & site. But the whole tone of things in recent weeks with the BA seal and articles like this show the division that continues to tear the industry apart instead of building it up. Let's keep enjoying ALL beer, tell it's stories, and bring more people into this amazing culture
goose island, elysian and wicked weed. i'd consider that crazy good if their goal was to trick consumers to think they are drinking craft, which it is.
I hate the assumed definition of "Craft". It has come to be defined by some organization that decided being owned by big companies isn't OK. It seems like the brewers at GI who make prop and come up with one-off beers at the Fulton and (soon-to-reopen) Clybourn taprooms are practicing "craft".
Big companies buy little companies all the time. Not unique to beer. Sometimes it turns out for the better (I think Goose Island is an example), sometimes it doesn't. AB certainly does some crap things to hold its market position. Maybe the negative stuff outweighs my point above, but the positive still exists. See below.
Compare your options at a baseball game 15-20 years ago to today. They're better. Still expensive as hell, but also better.
I am really curious how GI has turned out for the better. After packaging changes, production issues, quality controls mishaps I feel the opposite. Now you add in the fact that InBev has control of one more door in the liquor store or two more taps at the ball park it seems if this continues there won't be any choice left.
I have never understood the sentiment expressed in this article. If big corporations have decided that the best way to win over consumers is to make better beer then I'm happy. Founders, Goose Island, and Lagunitas still make very good beer and now people at big corporate events that my little local brewery isn't going to serving anyways will be exposed to much better beer and hopefully start seeking out the local independent brewers in their free time.
Enthusiast often forget that broad distribution, consistency, and accessibility help bring people into their hobby. I see this a lot in the gaming community. Hard core games complain about games getting "dumbed down" and that people who are unwilling to build their own PC aren't "real gamers" forgetting that accessible games and consoles allow people to have fun without having a lot of prior knowledge.
That's a real jump in logic regarding someone trying goose island only to forego the new found beer and support local independent breweries.
No, it's not. Go back a re-read one of the many "what beer got you started in craft?" themed threads.
Yeah, it is. What percentage of beer drinkers are on BA? You're talking about a fraction of a fraction of a niche my friend.
No, it's not. (We could go on and on with this, you know...)
Since neither of us have proof, it's merely differing opinions. I will say I enjoy the banter with you as there's little name calling or belittling involved. Cheers!
Yeah, me too with you! Cheers!
Most of the people that are doing this shaming/bashing have absolutely no idea why they are doing it. They've simply been told that it's bad and that they should revolt against it.
Don't get me wrong, I'm ALL for shaming and bashing, but it NEEDS to be informed shaming and bashing, or it isn't effective.
Indeed. Not only is it ineffective, it may even produce exactly the opposite effect when it is uninformed and not based in reality. It is so much easier to ignore and/or laugh at attempts to bash when they are uninformed.
At the heart of the matter, I think that is my biggest issue with it.
Yes, it is.
While I will agree that making great beer is a craft, one must assume that every business mans' dream is building a quality product and selling it for a profit. When you get your business (craft brewery) to a certain point the offers are going to come in from bigger businesses. When faced with an offer a business owner simply cannot refuse why shouldn't the business sell their craft brewery and retire for the rest of their lives?
I think you are confusing the issue. I don't think anyone is mad at the people selling their company, but rather people are upset with the business practices of the buying company.
one of my favorite quotes of all time
totally thought this was an article about Zombie Dust at first
chalk me up as a guy that buys many different styles and brands of beer, and if I really like it I'll buy more
Brewery bashing is so lame as noobs bashing certain beer styles. Hate those Us Vs Them articles.
I couldn't care less who brews inconsistent, poor beer. If Mother Thereza of Calcuta, the Pope, of wtv brews sh**** beer... I still would not buy.
But if a big company delivers a fine solid beer, such as SN...I'm in.
I think for most BAs who refuse to buy beers from former craft breweries now owned by big corporations, this issue is primarily ABInBev and its aggressive marketing tactics to eliminate competition.
I will continue to buy and enjoy Laguntias, for example, because they make delicious beers and I'm not aware of Heineken using any of the unscrupulous methods that ABInBev employs.
I thought the editorial was one of the best so far and "Zombie beer" is a great name for the beer involved. I started drinking beer in the mid-sixties and saw the number of breweries and the choice in beer dwindle down to zilch by 1980. Trying to choose between Schlitz, Bud, Miller, Pabst, Old Milwaukee, etc. compared with todays choices makes me fine with people being in favor of craft beer and not in favor of all beer. I get really pissed when I pick up a new beer, check out the package and it appears craft and then get it home, look it up and find out it is a Coors or AB product. Its enough to drive a guy to drink. In fact I think that is what I'll do right now.
Stop it, you. Big Beer's involvement in the craft scene is nothing but bad. There are zero positive side effects that people who hop on the anti-ABI train don't necessarily fully understand.
To the contrary, this is actually pretty standard consumer behavior. Hell, it's standard human behavior.
People will often "test the waters" with something relatively familiar and approachable. And depending on how much they like that first foray, it will pique their curiosity to dive deeper into the rabbit hole.
Yes, BeerAdvocate is a small subset of the overall beer drinker population, but the way I see it, that so many BAs get their start with something approachable is more meaningful than the fact that not everyone who tries something approachable becomes a BA.
ABI knows that with their approach of going deeper into craft, they are growing the overall size of the craft market, not just stealing share from craft brewers. They also understand that, while craft beer is a threat to their market share, wine and liquor are bigger threats, because more of their market share is being lost to those alcoholic beverage categories than to craft beer.
I'd disagree with that. Just as all craft breweries aren't always doing things that promote craft beer over their own product, ABI isn't always just promoting their brands and leaving craft beer, as a whole, behind.
In other words, it doesn't make sense when people talk about ABI trying to destroy craft beer. If anything they want to do everything that they can to ensure its growth so that their craft breweries can, in turn, grow as well.
My apologies, as I forgot to use my sarcasm font. I agree there are benefits to Big Beer involvement in craft.
Harkening back to the story about the South African hops, the only reason those hop strains existed in the first place was because of SABMiller's investment in that country. Investment that actually helped foster a local brewing culture that didn't exist prior.
That fact got lost in craft beer's rush to use the story to demonize ABI as buying up all the hops to intentionally keep craft brewers from getting them.
I think the devil's advocate response would be that ABI wants to grow craft beer, but are perfectly content with their portfolio of craft beer being the only brands in the industry.
I just don't think that is a likely scenario, because there are aspects to craft beer as a market that ABI will never be able to penetrate--namely the hyper-local brewpubs and taprooms that don't necessarily compete for shelf space at grocery stores or tap handles at your local Applebee's/Buffalo Wild Wings/Chili's/TGIFriday's.
Agreed. This goes back to the "informed bashing" strategy that I've previously mentioned. Stuff like this puts many craft beer aficionados right up there with the most ridiculous conspiracy theorists of our day.
Again, agreed, but this might not be bad for craft beer consumers. Just independent craft breweries.
I would hazard a guess that a good many of the AB InBev, Miller Coors, SAB Miller bashers lived through the strangulation of beer diversity and the dumbing down of beer quality heralded by these brewers whose only concern is their share of throat. I can provide anyone interested with a long list of books and links to reviews of those books about how we ended up with less than 100 breweries. These books will convince you if given a chance, these clowns will do it again and again.
That said, when evaluating a beer, I evaluate it on the merits of the beer not on the manufacturer. When ordering a beer for personal enjoyment I order a craft beer as defined by the Brewer's Association. If the establishment I am in does not serve craft beer meeting that definition, I find one that does. If I am in a craft beer establishment and they are serving Vampire beer, i inform the owner and suggest, for example, that they replace their Blue Moon with Bell's Oberon. I spend my money with those who share my values about beer, not with those who want to dominate the world - well except for maybe BrewDog.
As you should.
This sounds WAY too much like work. When I'm out drinking, I just like to drink beer. Whether or not they have "vampire/zombie" beer on tap is something I care very little about. I can tell you that I probably won't be drinking those brands, but if I do find myself in a place that only has those brands, I'm not going to find another place after I've already arrived. I'm just going to drink the best beer that they have. Guess that's mostly because I almost always have an idea of what beers are on-tap before I go out, so if I look at a draught list online and I don't like how it looks, I'm probably not going to go to that bar.
Agreed. I'd also bet that ABI is paying much closer attention to the demographic stats these days now that they realize flavorful beers are not something down in the noise level and they recognize that they can neither afford to buy all the flavorful beer brewers/brewpubs and that there's a large segment of the market (not referring to BAs here) that they will never win over.
I think I disagree, and here's why. Most of the AAL bashers I see are not old enough to have lived through the periods when the hegemony of AAL dominance took over the marketplace. Also the reason those breweries came to dominate the market was because they were offering the choices that large numbers of beer drinkers preferred (and still prefer today). The gradual reduction in IBUs in AALs was not driven by cost reduction it was driven by things like focus groups etc. where test consumers were telling them which samples tasted they preferred and why.
Which is exactly the reason why Big Beer couldn't solve the craft puzzle in the beginning. Focus groups marginalize things so that the most people will like them. Craft beer isn't about what will appeal to the most people. It's about what will appeal to a certain percentage of people. That's why ABI got it right by buying craft breweries and leaving them alone instead of buying them and trying to change their beers so more people would like them.
What many people don't realize is that these brewers were not on a mission to "dumb down" beer "quality" but were responding to the market and were providing American beer drinkers with the beer flavor they preferred and were demanding.
AB and Miller did not grow to dominate the American beer market by evil intent. If you dive into the details of post prohibition brewing in the USA, AB and Miller were not the largest brewers for much of that time. They grew to dominate the American beer market by
1. Providing a product a large number of Americans wanted to buy
2. Smart business decisions and smart product choices, such as lower calorie beer
3. Business mistakes or poor business decisions by many of their competitors
4. Providing a product a large number of Americans wanted to buy
5. Providing a product a large number of Americans wanted to buy
(but, I'm starting to repeat myself! )
I must be misunderstanding what you are saying. The first sentence (I have bolded it) seems to be contrary the rest of that paragraph.
I had the same issue, but he seems to be making two separate points.
Point 1: Good beer is good beer, no matter who makes it.
Point 2: Even if ABI owned breweries make good beer, he won't drink it.
Ah! Yes, you're probably right. That makes sense.
AB was - #1 or #2 (behind Schlitz, for 5 years during the '50s) for most of the post-Repeal era. Right after WWII AB fell to #3 or 4 during years in the late 1940s, but the barrelages of the top 4 were all very close at the time - all within less than 1m bbl. of each other.
Miller was usually in the Top 10 or so (always behind Milwaukee rivals Pabst and Schlitz, and even Blatz for a years in the 50s, IIRC) - their rapid climb to #2 in the 70s was fueled by owner Phillip Morris' cigarette money and advertising know-how. They were gaining sales in the range of 5-6m bbl. a year (!) there in the latter half of that decade.
AB and Miller* have been #1-2 since 1977, so nearly half of the post-Repeal era.
*If one considers MillerCoors (now wholly-owned by Molson Coors) the successor to Miller Brewing Co., I guess.