The holidays are usually light in news, especially beer news. There are the releases of a few whales which consume people for a couple of days to a week and the rehashing of the merger as new details slowly slip out by intentional and unintentional leak. Anyway, I read a lot about creativity and about literary and art criticism. I’m batting around ideas on a blog post comparing brewing to other creative processes and how criticism and beer reviews are similar and different. A little preview, I am of the belief that when criticizing and reviewing art there is only text and no subtext. You can only review what the artist actually did, not what you think he may have been thinking as he did it. Since beer has only codified beer styles in the last 30 years, the idea of intentionality and breaking of conventions is recent in brewing. Therefore, only now has the idea of what is the brewer trying to do, become a part of beer review. This is still in the gestation period and will make more sense when I write it down and post it.
- The idiots with too much money and too little sense that buy one of these $1000 bottles with some beer in it should be punched in the face repeatedly and then have what’s left of their money taken and redistributed to people who will use it better.
- This has very little to do with beer, but I think craft beer and craft breweries will become more and more a part of our cultural zeitgeist and will appear in more pieces of cultural flotsam and jetsam in the next couple of years.
- Here is the first bit of news about the merger for the day. Grolsch among other European brands will be sold off probably to another large brewer or two.
- Here is the merger story where I think the biggest threat to US craft brewers lies: in distribution. So ABInbev is going to incentivize its distributors to have 98% of their sales be ABInbev products. That is where the size of the company matters, not in the number of labels and products, but in the ability to bigfoot distributors. Of course, there could be a silver lining. If states make their distribution laws fairer, specifically the ability to get out of bad contracts for brewers, then there could be a rise in smaller niche distributors. Remember, the majority of the new breweries coming online are small with distribution that only extends to surrounding counties at most. They don’t need statewide distribution houses to help them.
- Here is the Brewers Association response to the merger and all the talk of consolidation.