Over Memorial Day weekend, AB-InBev encroached on on the craft beer scene of San Diego with the opening of their 10 Barrel Brewing Brewpub. There were many feelings about this coming from the local beer community, including a grassroots campaign to fly a banner over the grand opening. While that idea was controversial based on whether or not it was giving 10 Barrel Brewing free press or not, there was another campaign coming from three near by independent craft brewers in which 11 Barrel IPA was created. This was done by Monkey Paw Brew Pub, Resident Brewing and Half Door Brewing.
What we’ve learned from AB-InBev’s High End Division is that they so badly want to blend in with independent craft beer at any cost. On July 7th, 10 Barrel Brewing’s San Diego pub posted the announcement of 12 Barrels IPA as a jab at the protest from week’s prior. While this move was met with an eyeroll, 10 Barrel San Diego’s social media marketer, James Gomez today walked into the “lion’s den” so to speak, and asked if any participating breweries from the 11 Barrel IPA project would like to participate in an event dubbed Beer Wars, in which beer drinkers would pick the best beer out of a blind beer tasting, as if that was what this was all about.
I’m guessing 10 Barrel’s marketing did not consider that Beer Wars was a documentary released in 2009 shedding light on big beer’s deplorable tactics. If double tone deaf was a thing, this would be a great example of that. Either way, this is a continuation of AB-InBev’s sad approach to pander, grovel and muddy the waters between independent craft and mega-corp owned beer.
It’s doubtful the owners of Resident Brewing, Monkey Paw Brewing and Half Door Brewing would participate in this proposed endeavor, as it goes against the very statement these three breweries were trying to make in the first place. The fact that AB-InBev is greenlighting this promotional tactic is insane. Not only are the other brewers not likely to participate, but it opens them up to flaming comments online and blog posts like this.
For those keeping score at home, here are some of the other recent attempts by AB-InBev to further blur the lines between themselves and independent craft.