Tag Archives: abinbev shenanigans

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, 5/18/16

I keep dropping away for a reason.  I am in the midst of deciding how I want to change this blog, how to do the other writing that interests me, and how to do more freelance writing I other spaces.  First, I will keep the Five Articles.  It is a good way to warm up for the day and it is a great way to keep up on all the news that goes on in this industry I love.  I also plan to do more reviews.  I want to post at least 3 reviews a week starting in June.  I am going to gain around 5 hours a week starting May 30 by cutting my commute by 30 minutes each way.  Also coming soon will be a couple of posts that I have been working on for a couple of weeks.  Not because they have been difficult to write, but because I really want them to be more than just blog posts. One, in particular, is something of a manifesto or statement of purpose of what I want this space to be and what I think American craft beer writing should aspire to develop into.

  • Things that are not surprising for a $1000, Alex. This $150,000 fine is just the cost of doing business for AB. They’ll pay this and move on to the next scheme.  With every story about ABInBev, I always feel the need to point out that it isn’t a brewer.  It is a company that sells beer and tries to make the beer as profitable as possible by making it as cheaply as possible, selling it for as much as possible, and selling it in as many places as possible and everything they do is to that end.
  • Professor Charles Bamforth speaking truth. Bamforth is literally a professor of beer and has written a library full of books on the science of brewing.  However, my favorite of his is Beer Is Proof God Loves Us which is more of a beer autobiography.
  • The people who write headlines should actually read the articles and understand them before they make up a headline. This article and this headline have a very tenuous connection.  That isn’t saying that the headline missed the deep and important meaning of the article because I can’t quite figure out what the article’s point is, but whatever it is the headline is terribly misleading.
  • The explosion of canning has taken firm hold of North Carolina brewers. Since I pour my beers into a glass most of the time anyway I have no opinion on cans except to say that they are easier to store and carry.
  • There is a fine line between advocating for good beer and caring about what you drink and belittling those who don’t hold beer in the same light. I always try to be inclusive and bring people towards beer.  Now, I do take notes, but I am kind of a professional.  As for people who stop drinking a beer once it is bought by a bigger brewer or beer company, I say it is about the liquid.  Once the liquid turns bad, then I stop drinking it.  That has happened with smaller brewers who for whatever reason changed their recipes as well as brewers bought up by a huge corporation.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 5/9/16

Normally, the Five Articles aren’t really work.  There is usually a good bullpen of stories that I just go through, read, and link.  Today was actually like work.  Here are five articles.