There is a lot to like about this Monday. You are awake and alive being the primary one. Also, there are some interesting things to read in the beer world. Here are my five favorites from this morning.
- Let’s start with the Evil Empire (I’m using this phrase for a reason which will be evident in the next bullet) or Anheuser-Busch Inbev as it is more commonly called. CNBC breaks down a lot of the strategy A-B has been using in its recent craft beer purchases. From a purely business standpoint what they are doing makes a great deal of sense. Also from a business standpoint, I think mergers of smaller regional brewers will occur at a greater rate in the next few years.
- Speaking of A-B and its role as the Evil Empire of beer, here is a great post about A-B’s existential role in the beer world. This combines most of my favorite geekery. First, beer. Second, philosophy. Third, literary theory. Fourth, Star Wars. One of the reasons the original Star Wars trilogy has such staying power is that it adheres so closely to Joseph Campbell’s story telling theories. Not just how we tell stories, but why. The things we carry with us to show others, our favorite bands, our favorite movies, our favorite beers, are used to give the world a deeper understanding of who we are. The stories we tell others about ourselves are powerful. They are second only to the stories we tell ourselves. We craft beer people need A-B as the thing against which we define ourselves.
- I am beginning to think the biggest impediment to craft beer growth is wholesaler and distributor resistance to change. This post from a conservative think tank in Michigan examines the current regulations in Michigan and how they can be tweaked to help craft beer grow in the state. Almost every law being written to help craft brewers in some ways shaves off a little of the leverage distributors have historically held. The system until now has been a beneficial partnership for the distributors as they have helped grow craft beer. However, the partnership has in many ways been weighted too far to their side. As brewers gain more strength they are trying to exert more influence for their own means. Distributors are not about to give up that power easily.
- Iowa farmers are now starting to plant hops. As we hurtle towards a hop shortage caused by drought and demand, the news that more farmers around the country are starting to experiment with planting hop bines is very welcome. I also like the idea of hops and malt being locally sourced for brewers. It makes the beer fresher and if the brewer is good, better tasting.
- Now for some frippery: Beer Choir. There isn’t much explanation I can give. The name kind of says it all. There are a lot of interesting and silly things popping up around craft beer that keeps pushing it towards being more than just a trend, but towards becoming a lifestyle.