The Friday before Christmas means many, many Christmas parties. We had 4 at once last night. If you’ve been to Craft, you know it’s not that big. Anyway on to the Five Articles. It is the end of year and writers are looking back at the year in beer.
- A view of Queen City Q’s stance against AB from the west coast. This what AB didn’t understand. First, they didn’t understand their “incentive” program would see the light of day. Second, they didn’t understand that many retailers are not beholden to their brands. Finally, somehow, they still don’t understand the antipathy the craft beer world has for them. Yes, they have bought craft brands, but they have not allowed any of the ideas that fuel the craft world to enter their way of thinking. They have the same belief many do: We exist and have for a long time, therefore, we will always exist. History is full of businesses and governments that seemed ubiquitous and unkillable. They were all wrong.
- Distribution and distribution rights are not sexy. Multi-billion dollar mergers and big excise tax bills that bring people to Washington, DC are sexy. They get you on CSPAN and news networks. However, it is distribution where the biggest issues that brewers face are located. Fighting AB and keeping them from buying or bribing distributors and chain restaurants/grocery stores is where the action is. That should be the focus of brewers and their state guilds as well as the Brewers Association during this next year.
- This is where the fights have to take place. On the state level in state legislatures and state courts. Yes, they are treating beer wholesalers unfairly in Indiana. That doesn’t mean the law is illegal. It means you have to change the law at the legislative level which is often difficult since in many states some of the most powerful politicians and/or lobbyists are alcohol distributors.
- One of the better end of year beer series is the First Drafts Blog end of year interviews with Colorado brewery folks. There are around 20 of these. This is the one from Ro Guenzel of Great Divide. It is always interesting to read how beer people view beer.
- The fact that this has to have a disclaimer at the beginning telling us that it is a satire is a statement on how bitchy we beer geeks can be.