Tag Archives: abinbev acquisitions

One Beer Article You Need To Read And Why, 10/2/16

Today’s article for the 500 Words is a great blog post from Modern Times founder and CEO Jacob McKean.  He finally got fed up by all the p.r. misinformation Anheuser-Busch puts out about its craft beer acquisition and took apart a Serious Eats article piece by piece.

McKean debunks two main things that are common to all the articles written from the AB perspective about its acquisitions.  First, that AB is some kind of benevolent beer Daddy Warbucks out to help poor struggling brewers by providing them with enough money to expand out of their garages.  Second, that the money will brewers improve quality and distribution by giving them greater access to capital.

Both are equal lines of bullshit ignoring the fact that if they were just honest most people would shrug and move on.  AB (and Miller Coors and Constellation and etc) is buying breweries to squelch competition and these brewery owners are selling because they are being offered more money than they ever thought they would make brewing beer.

I understand why AB has to pretend that they are extending their largess to the wretched poor, but the brewers who sell?  Why are they participating in this lie?

For breweries like Golden Road and 10 Barrel, why perpetuate the AB story? Maybe they need to believe it.  However, in Golden Road’s case everyone in the craft beer world already believed that brewery was created solely to be sold after a few years, so keeping up the story is curious.

Personally, I don’t care what you do with your business whether it is a brewery or a lemonade stand.  I greatly prefer independent and locally owned breweries in the purchases I make for the bar, but I also want to provide good liquid in the glass for my customers.  That means occasionally I will buy something from a craft brand owned by a large beer company.  However, here is the problem for those companies I don’t have to 98% of the time. The only brand that falls into that category that we buy regularly is Ballast Point, but after the dreadful Watermelon Dorado this past year, that may be about to end.  Other than that, I can think of only one other keg in the last year that would fall into that category.

All I want is for those involved in these purchase to not lie about why they bought and why they sold.  We are adults.  We get it. This is a business.  Again, I understand that AB is trying to keep the government’s anti-trust lawyers off their back.  For the brewers who sell, that was your statement and to pretend otherwise is an insult to everyone reading and listening.

I’ll let McKean’s last line by mine here, “Here’s the truth: selling to a macro-brewer is the fastest, simplest way to turn equity in a craft brewery into cash. That’s the only reason to sell to them. Anyone who claims otherwise is full of shit.”

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 4/19/16

Tuesday and it is going to over 80 degrees today.  I predict a busy afternoon and evening for me.  Onto the Five Articles.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 1/7/16

Thursday has arrived.  As an aside, my Directv has stopped working.  I have a repair scheduled for Saturday morning.  Here’s the thing, if and when ESPN figures out a way to make money with an online streaming service I will dump Directv in the time it takes for me to sign up and give ESPN my money.  I don’t worry about missing the NFL or the NBA because once ESPN goes, they won’t be far behind.  Anyway, on to the Five Articles.

  • Another case of a state changing laws to make the operation of craft breweries easier. Legislators love creating something that makes tax revenue and makes people happy.
  • Laws can also curb craft beer. Indiana has to have a lot of people working in its legislature whose job is to read laws and statutes to let their bosses know what those laws and statutes actually say.  How did none of them know that the way the law is written prohibits many breweries from selling growlers?
  • Here is another story about state laws “curbing” craft beer growth. I understand that Olde Mecklenburg has a fundamental objection to selling their beer through a distributor.  I also believe the state of NC should raise the cap on how many barrels a brewer can sell without a distributor.  I also think there does need to be a cap on how much brewers can sell without a distributor.  I also just wish everyone involved with this should dial back the rhetoric and find a solution.
  • I was in Asheville this weekend (yes, I have a blog post coming on that) and I went by Burial Beer. As luck would have it, I happened to sit down beside the taproom manager at the bar.  We talked a little bit and I mentioned we were interested in getting their beers in Craft.  Off-handily he mentioned that they were getting ready to expand so that they can start distributing further out from Asheville.  I didn’t expect to read an article about an almost $2 million expansion.
  • Here is a look at AB-Inbev acquisitions from an English perspective. This is actually a nice sober look at the effects of selling to one of the big brewers. There will be changes no matter what the press releases say.  The infrastructure may allow you to distribute to a wider audience, but that means you have to make more beer.  Does that affect the taste?  Does that affect the creation of new recipes?  Does your beer translate to a wider audience? If it doesn’t, will your brewers be pressured to change the recipes to get it to translate? Of course, if someone offers you a $1 billion for your company, you are stupid not to take it.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 12/23/15

I keep getting emails telling me about last minute gift ideas for Christmas.  If you haven’t completed you Christmas shopping yet, you are not going to be able to buy anything really worth a crap.  Unless your ABInbev, in which case you’ll just keep buying as many ripe for the picking breweries as possible.

  • Let’s just get it out of the way, Breckenridge Brewing has been purchased by AB which makes it 3 new purchases in 5 days. As these purchases happen I have 2 thoughts.  The first is AB is simply buying breweries that were already in a mood to sell.  They are not going out there and doing hostile takeovers or anything.  They are doing their research and finding willing partners.  The second thought is a quote from Almost Famous: “If you think Mick Jagger will be out there trying to be a rock star at age 50, you are sadly, sadly mistaken.” That quote comes from a character who still thinks of rock and roll as a calling, an artistic endeavor outside the dirty bounds of business.  He was sadly, sadly mistaken.  Rock and roll is a part of the music business.  Mick is still going up on stage because he loves it and someone pays him lots of money to do it.  Brewing and craft beer are in some ways a calling.  However, craft beer is a part of the beer business.  That means if the owners of a brewery want to sell and someone comes along and offers them twice what they invested, they are probably going to sell.  To make you feel better, think of it this way: for all the brewers that AB has bought recently, how many new breweries have started up?
  • Ah, the sexy, sexy news about excise tax reform for brewers. Read that hot stuff right here.
  • I too am one of those people who refuse to stand in line to buy a bottle of beer. When I was younger I stood and slept in line for concert tickets and UNC/Dook tickets.  I’m old now, I’m not standing line for a damn thing.  Especially a bottle of beer.  Of course, as a person who works in a bar/beer retail shop, I pull my bottles out of the box and stash them away as soon as they are delivered.
  • The more I read, the more shocked I’ve become at how many states limit beer sales in grocery stores. As backwards as NC alcohol laws are, we’ve been able to buy beer of almost any strength in grocery stores for a long time.
  • One thing I learned when I really followed politics was that if someone is ranting about a law or an agency regulation was to go read the law or regulation myself to see if their rantings were based in reality. With the new FDA nutritional information requirements for beer, I forgot to do that. Here is a good breakdown of the new regulation from Queen City Drinks (the other Queen City: Cincinnati).

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 12/19/15

As Christmas approaches, you would think the news would slow down, but no.  Craft beer Twitter got a big hit yesterday in the middle of the morning as some New Belgium news dropped.  Then AB continued its buying spree.

  • “Hey, our beer sucks, but look at the shiny new can!” I will say again, if this company would spend as much money on making the beer it actually owns better instead of on shiny new things that have nothing to do with the beer, they wouldn’t have to go around buying brewers that actually make good beer.
  • Cicerone.org presents its 11th Master Cicerone. At some point in the next say 5 years, this is one my goals.  First, I want to get Cicerone certified by the end of this year.  I’m not worried about the written and practical parts of the exam (I am going to start studying in earnest in 13 days) as much as I’m worried about the tasting session.  Developing my palate has been a lot of what I’ve been doing this past year. Wish me luck.
  • I was sitting and relaxing with a cup of coffee before heading into Craft for the day when on my Twitter timeline dropped a link to a Reuters report that New Belgium is looking to find a buyer after getting a valuation of $1 billion. I don’t know what that means.  Are they going to sell or are they looking for outside investors?  What it does show is that it is a brewer in a hugely transitional point in its history.
  • Meanwhile, AB continues picking off low hanging fruit. I always love when the people selling say, “This will change nothing.  We will continue to make the same high-quality beer we always have.” AB didn’t buy you for you to keep doing things the way you always have.  They bought you to bring you into the Borg Collective.  You have been assimilated.  Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow, but you will become part of the whole.
  • First, it’s about college football. Second, it’s about craft beer.  Third it has my alma mater sitting at #3.  There was no way this was not going to get linked in the Five Articles.