22 Comments

  1. Mike
    July 11, 2018 @ 6:09 am

    So tell me what’s wrong with this….your a brewer who’s created a product so popular that companies want to pay you astronomical amounts of money for it. Isn’t that the American dream? Creating something so many people want and desire? I love all beer, from treehouse to bud light. Beer is what you make it. Its personal. Either you like it or you dont and go about your day. These breweries need to stop crying about ab InBev and look within and start making their own moves to differentiate themselves from the big guys! When you point one finger there is 3 pointing back at you!!!

    Reply

    • Loop
      July 11, 2018 @ 3:01 pm

      Mike, your comment illustrates a lack of understanding for the more in depth issues at hand. “What’s wrong with this” is that all of the recent movement by ABI in the craft sector has been to undermine the legitimacy, availability and popularity of smaller craft breweries and their products. Many people still believe that ABI strictly wanted these acquisitions for their products. Incorrect. They bought these breweries for a whole host of nefarious reasons including further obfuscation of what is a ‘craft’ product, buying into these strong, existing craft distribution channels (thats the big one), secure existing relationships with producers of hops/yeast/fruit/barley to make it harder for others to get their contracts, and other reasons that will not, in the end, make beer higher quality, better tasting or more interesting for most people. I want to call you an ignorant dunce for your comment but the truth is that a lot of people don’t understand whats really going on here. Having said that, I do agree that craft breweries love to bitch and moan instead of making better products themselves. That doesn’t mean that ABI isn’t trying to undermine them every step of the way.

      Reply

  2. Joma
    July 10, 2018 @ 2:12 pm

    Here in Argentina ABI tried the same thing, by creating a “craft” brand. Yeah..between “”! Thank god, the real argentinian craft brewers teach us what a craft beer is !!

    Reply

  3. Alex
    July 10, 2018 @ 12:10 pm

    Hey, great piece. Thanks for drawing attention to these events and trends that you so rightly point out went under-noticed in the craft community. This is why we need great beer journalism. We also need great beer journalism to eschew sexism. “Basic bitches” is just that. Would you mind finding another way to describe this particular fragility of beer geeks? You could even just throw it in scare quotes to indicate that it’s not the perspective of you or The Full Pint (unless it is, and then we should talk!). I *think* I take your point — beer geekery has become a new, consumer-driven way to demonstrate masculinity — a pissing contest (all genders piss!), if you will — and that’s interesting enough to warrant it’s own think-piece, or at least a footnote clarifying your position.

    Reply

    • admin
      July 10, 2018 @ 12:40 pm

      Basic bitch is a comedic term, invented by women, to poke fun at middle aged women who think getting a Starbucks Frappucino is being fancy or upscale.

      This was used in the same vein, a self proclaimed craft beer connoisseur who buys massed produced barrel aged stout.

      Reply

      • BCBS Connoisseur
        July 11, 2018 @ 8:09 am

        Didn’t realize being a beer connoisseur and enjoying BCBS were mutually exclusive traits, but thanks for being a dick about it.

  4. Bill Stone
    July 10, 2018 @ 8:15 am

    I found the article interesting and helpful in identifying the influence of AB in the industry. The reason I drink craft brews, there are two. I find each craft brewery to be unique and usually a hidden treasure. Secondly I go for the taste/flavor that each owner is trying to bring out. Like my wine red and my beer dark.
    The first review was interesting to pour through. I’m not a purists but I do believe that there will always be a place for the unique craft brewing scene. Tampa is a great place to find them and we love the Chicago micro breweries as well. I am happy to patronize a Craft establishment when ever possible. There will always be the money trying to take away the Initiative from those who are in it for prosperity sake instead of the love of the BEER!
    Check out Broken Bat in Milwaukee’s 3rd Ward if you like baseball.

    Reply

  5. pat korn
    July 10, 2018 @ 7:45 am

    Dan
    I understand that your website is driven by click bait and at times sensationalism to drive that click bait. But as a long time SD brewer I have to call you out on your comments regarding Ballast Point and their sale a few years ago. To say that the people of San Diego and by extension that Brewers in SD were bitter or envious reflects badly on all of us and frankly it is just not true. Any competent minded person would see that Jack, Yuseff, Colby, et all; worked very hard over 20 years to get to a place to do whatever they wanted to do with their brewery. To continue to bash them three years down the line is unnecessary and boorish. Frankly this holier than thou attitude people have taken about breweries that choose to partner with ABI, Constellation, Hedge Funds is played out. Simply put, if you don’t agree with breweries selling than don’t buy their product. Good to day to you.

    Reply

    • Dan
      July 10, 2018 @ 9:11 am

      Hey Pat,
      Re: Clickbait and sensationalism – Sorry I’m actually good at what I do and drive traffic with articles people want to read.

      Re: Ballast Point – You would have to be living under a rock to not have felt many different negative emotions after Ballast Point sold to Constellation. Are you saying that didn’t happen or still isn’t a thing, especially in their hometown of San Diego. They are great guys who took great rewards, that’s never been disputed. This article merely pointed out that Nate Soroko never jumped on that hater bandwagon.

      Re: Industry fans and pundits are against ABI and Heineken due to their predatory business practices and their ability to squash options on the shelf and at bars and restaurants. It’s not as simple as just ignoring ABI brands when their foot soldiers and management are working around the clock to make sure they are the only beer in town.

      Hopefully you are still making that *awesome beer* you are so famous for in Georgia.

      Good Day to You!

      Reply

      • Jacob Nikos
        July 11, 2018 @ 3:44 pm

        No, Pat’s right. Saying that a person that has been working in this industry much longer than you is “living under a rock” is downright disrespectful.

        Wait, do you work in the industry even…?

      • Dan
        July 11, 2018 @ 3:49 pm

        Jacob, did the Ballast Point sale invoke negative emotions in San Diego, specifically peers in the industry?

        Re: Industry – We don’t work shifts at any breweries. Does that disqualify us from providing coverage and analysis?

  6. Eric Evans
    July 10, 2018 @ 4:14 am

    “The reality is that a vast majority of beer drinkers care about flavor, not ownership.” Really? Well if that was true (and it’s not) why do companies like AB InBev spend billions of dollars creating faux craft labels like “Shock Top Brewing ” and acquiring established craft breweries like Elysian, Devils Backbone, and Wicked Weed? Seems to me if beer drinkers only cared about “flavor” (as you claim) AB InBev would be free just to produce beers under their own flagship brand, no? The reality is craft beer fans DO care about ownership because they know the tactics of “big beer.” They aren’t interested in competing in a free market. They have one goal and that’s to crush their competition through acquisition and other strong-arm tactics. Craft beer fans don’t like to give their money to a multinational who uses their huge financial clout to lobby for anti-craft legislation, engages in shady business practices, markets and promotes an anti-craft message, and snaps up beloved local breweries ….all in an effort to crush the competition. It’s not capitalism. It’s cronyism.

    Reply

  7. Ronaldo Dutra Ferreira
    July 10, 2018 @ 3:42 am

    Good quality beers are not enough. Ethical commercial practices is not their specialty. AB Inbev uses their economic might to all its extent in order to destroy the competition. To compete in equal grounds is never an option for them. It is not just a matter of good beer…

    Reply

  8. Kevin Augustine
    July 9, 2018 @ 10:42 pm

    Sorry but you are wrong. Big beer only cares about maximum profits. PERIOD. I worked for a brewery for 27 years that then known as Interbrew bought. Craft style beer is more expensive to produce, than a regular massed produced lager, even for InBev. More than Bud etc.. so to maximize profits ,they cut corners, sometimes slowly over time, until the drinkers don’t or can’t tell. These craft breweries that were bought up are or wont be the same ingredients now and/ or sometime down the line. I’m not pissed that I no longer work for this brewery that Interbrew eventually closed the doors. Just stating facts of what they do that you don’t know about

    Reply

  9. Tim White
    July 9, 2018 @ 10:27 pm

    John – no disrespect to your opinion but I am 180 out from that. I wouldn’t think to speak for the “vast majority” of beer drinkers and I am far from a uber-geek beer nerd. Ownership does matter, because of ABI’s predatory distribution tactics, their overall business practices, and their derision for craft beer. I have so many good craft breweries where I live, putting out amazing craft beer (Norfolk, VA) that I don’t lack for choices to say nothing of breweries close to me (Richmond). I will give them my loyalty and my money first and then independent national breweries. That goes for bottle shops in the area as well. I’m sure the breweries being absorbed by ABI make good beer but it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll never know because I won’t drink their beer. It is personal to me and that’s my choice. Cheers!

    Reply

  10. John McGee
    July 9, 2018 @ 7:26 pm

    The reality is that a vast majority of beer drinkers care about flavor, not ownership.. It is the uber-geek beer nerds who want to keep craft beer the equivalent of the high school A/V club who get their manties in a bunch when a label is sold to “big beer”. A craft (whether it is beer, food, or artwork) is something that requires particular skill and results in something unique. Ownership does not diminish the skill or unique flavor of labels owned by “big beer”. That’s why the masses care more about flavor than ownership, which gives ABI the wins you wrote about. I would not be surprised to see “big beer” labels at this year’s GABF, because even so-called “craft beer geeks” know that “big beer” labels produce good quality beers.

    Reply

    • Brendan
      July 10, 2018 @ 4:40 am

      Gotta get your facts straight there John. Big Beer wasn’t banned from GABF, GABF prohibited non-independent Brewers from purchasing high visibility booths at GABF. And that tuke is still in effect for this year.
      The “masses” don’t care about flavor. The masses care about what’s cheap, that’s why Liquor stores feature signs advertising $6 12-packs, not “We’ve got Bourbon County!”.
      Craft beer drinkers DO care about quality AND independence. That’s why Big Beer does everything they can to hide their association with the craft brands they own and does stuff like purchase Rate Beer.
      Big Beer does produce some decent beer. But is it better than independent craft beer? For the most part, the answer to that is “No”.

      Reply

    • Justin Stubbs
      July 10, 2018 @ 5:00 am

      The quality of the beer isn’t in question. The intentions of the corporations trying to take money out of the pockets of the little guy does. I was recently at an ABInBev event at a venue which I will choose to keep to myself and a rep from one of their ‘Craft breweries was trying to buy food for guests.

      What’s wrong with this? First of all it’s highly illegal. They’re trying to buy customers which in the state of California is illegal in the beer world but since they have ties to Sacramento law makers it goes unchecked. This is a luxury that craft breweries literally can’t afford and that is pay to play.

      Liquor companies are allowed to run the card, breweries are not.

      Reply

    • steven Hudson
      July 10, 2018 @ 5:32 am

      No sorry, thats not true at all, the craft beer community actively knows the difference ebtween big ( crasp) beer and real (craft) beer. As a result, look at how many brewers and fans have cancelled invites to many large bre fests causing them to downsize or totally cancel.

      Big beer does not make good beer, as evidenced by the huge falling off of taste and quality in brands like ballast point, wicked weed, or Goose island. Their mainstream and even specialty offerings have fallen far short of sales projections and are bleeding red ink on big beers spreadsheets.

      The only product that has seemingly escaped this so far is Bourbon County yet you can now go to thousands of stores and pick up the last two years releases still at regular or below retail prices. This never happened in the past.

      As big beer mass produces, so quality fades and fails. The craft beer community is not interested in coorslight, michelob ultra or PBR.

      Those Faux beers will fall off just like craft beer pretenders, Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams have.

      Reply

      • Daniel Lawrence
        July 10, 2018 @ 5:18 pm

        Steven Hudson, I agreed with most of thay, but to call Sierra Nevada and Boston Brewing Company pretenders is not right. They were pioneers in the field who made it possible for other breweries to come along. They haven’t sold out, and they haven’t started shitting on their employees or their quality, and lumping them in with actual sellouts like Lagunitas and Goose Island is disingenuous at best.

    • Chris Morrison
      July 10, 2018 @ 5:57 am

      John, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are a troll for “big beer”. Otherwise you must be a complete moron if you truly believe that “a vast majority of beer drinkers care about flavor, not ownership..”. If that were true, how could you possibly explain the fact that the top selling beers are, and have been for years, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Lite, Budweiser, Michelob Ultra, etc.??? Those “beers” have a flavor profile of stale water, yet continue to be top selling year after year. Flavor is obviously not the motivating factor for their purchase.

      The *true* reality is that the vast majority of beer drinkers care about price, availability, and brand name/recognition/loyalty/allegiance/celebrity endorsement, with flavor a distant 4th. Don’t believe so? Try to get a die hard Bud Light drinker to even *try* another brand of beer. Forget it. The fact that Budweiser can be bought anywhere for little more than the cost of bottled water and is synonymous with the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and other celebrity endorsements is the reason it is among the top selling – not flavor.

      While it may be true that “big beer” labels are producing some good quality beers, it is only because they chose to *acquire* true craft brewers that were beginning to make a dent in their profits. Otherwise, why haven’t we seen the likes of AB-InBev create their own new brands of beers that aren’t American-style lagers? When has AB-InBev ever introduced a porter, or a stout, or even a friggin’ IPA?

      Reply

    • Kevin
      July 10, 2018 @ 9:12 am

      With so much great beer out there it is great that we can choose to support Independent Breweries that are not about mass production/profits and limiting resources and deceptive marketing tactics like ABI.

      To some beer is just beer. It isn’t just “uber-geek beer nerds” who care about that, but it they are the ones who realize on a bigger picture what large corporations are trying to accomplish in the craft beer market and in turn help to inform the public about the difference it makes in supporting Independent Brewers.

      If you want to support the WallMart of beer its a free country and you can do that. But realize that’s what ABI is with it’s tactics in the craft beer market. They aren’t the “buddy buddy” they claim to be for craft beer as their market share is dwindling and their Marquee Brands are taking small percentage hits which are actually equated into millions of dollars at times. It’s cheaper to buy up the competition to prop up their watered down beers which is exactly what their doing by purchasing breweries like 10 Barrel and Elysian.

      Support Independent Craft Beer!!!

      Reply

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