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  1. Lagster
    May 13, 2019 @ 6:00 pm

    The quality and price wars have always been in-fashion, it’s just becoming more blatant in today’s high-marketing world, where over 50% of the brands you see are actually white-labels of another brands formula in a different can, with a different brand, a different pitch, and more hyped with a lower price point.

    A good example of that is Minhas Brewery.

    It’s funny, but the psychology of the design and brand of the can sometimes makes the same formula taste different. A lot of times, at least these days, all the new brands coming out, are just that, a cheaper brand of the same beer in a different can.

    The big brand doesn’t care, because they have the media exposure in higher tax bracketed markets to keep on moving forward, while the smaller brand white-labels leasing the formula cater to lower tax bracketed markets.

    It’s a win win for everyone.


  2. Julian Robertson
    September 18, 2018 @ 7:25 am

    Agreed with the above. Supporting brands like Founders for approaching macro prices for “beer flavored beer” should be lauded rather than derided. It’s an opportunity to convert beer drinkers to independent beer drinkers through brand recognition. That your local nano-brewery can’t compete because they can’t actually do lagering-at-scale, isn’t their problem. The Nano Brewery should recognize their limitation and focus on beers that they can do well. Similar to the sour movement: the push to pump out goses and sours has resulted in a muddled kettle-sour mess (+ insert your favorite fruit) that has destroyed the palates of thousands. Find a “craft” brewer that spends a year making a proper sour and you’ll find talent. Same with Lagers.

    It’s a cliche to say that “Lagers don’t hide mistakes like IPAs do”, but it’s also true. Spend too little time on your product and people will notice after its been sitting on a shelf for more than a month. The “race to the bottom” should not be something consumers dislike. It’s bringing products back into alignment with cost and value. The Delta in cost between National Bohemian or PBR at $2 a pint and Pivo Pils at $5 or $6 a pint is $3-4. But the Delta in quality is much much smaller than that. It might be cool to drink Independent, but if your goal is volume, or your goal is to save money, people will eventually pick the Macro. Now you introduce some barely-trained brewer who made a lager in 2 weeks, and you’re introducing consistency issues and quality issues for this higher price point. It’s not sustainable.

    Those that succeed at high quality, low cost beer will ultimately win. It’s Supply and Demand and the Free Market after all. The tiny breweries with untrained brewers should stick to what works in their neighborhood; as always, your mileage may vary.


  3. Gary
    May 14, 2018 @ 1:10 pm

    I agree that craft brewers are often muddying the waters by engaging in a ‘race to the bottom’ for price that jeopardizes the value earned by well brewed local craft. But I think brewers often engage in this practice (including gimmicky branding) because of market saturation and sometimes this move is out of desperation and perceived necessity.
    There is definitely room for well made craft pilsner / lager in every beer market but they should come with an expectation of a realistic cost margin for the brewer. An authentic pilsner is a challenge for a craft brewer to produce in terms of tank time and sourcing quality raw materials so the price should be reflective of that. If your aim is to make an adjunct laden, hop extract based American lager impostor then have at it, just don’t expect that will be a sustainable model of success-
    Branding is the hook to get the product looked at and a nostalgic look is certainly befitting of the style! Unsustainable pricing on kegs & cans do nothing for the health of the craft market- Once you sell with your pants around your ankles you can never pull them back up-


  4. William Hawkins
    March 26, 2018 @ 7:40 pm

    I’m all about the movement to lagers, but you neglect to reference any craft brewer, other than Sam Adams, that has been producing premium lagers in their offering for years. Elliot Ness by Great Lakes Brewing, Vienna Lager by Devils Backbone (unfornately no longer a craft brewer), Alaska Brewing, Heavy Seas, Coronado Brewing. I’m sure there are many. What I don’t get is creating a craft beer that tastes like a macro brew or worse, a lite beer. The beer drinkers I know are not looking to throw back a 15, 18, 24 pack of craft beers. They are looking for a few good ones.


  5. Jeff Thompson
    March 22, 2018 @ 2:24 pm

    I’m with ya man! How dare Founders put out a high quality product that’s also affordable?! That’s total BS!

    …until you go there and see what they do. They absolutely kill it and they’ve been killing it for years. The problem with Craft is you cannibalize the successful by shaming those who want to run a business instead of a garage party for their friends. I thought it was all about the beer…right?


  6. vic
    March 22, 2018 @ 11:50 am

    Couldn’t this angle also be seen as a part of craft’s strategy to bring over, from the dark side, on-the-fence macrobeer drinkers who just can’t stomach an IPA or a stout yet?
    Craft brewing has certainly distinguished itself from macro through innovation and the great variety of styles and flavors, but macro, of late, has been redoubling its efforts to attack craft through their many overt and covert means. Perhaps this is craft’s response.


    • [email protected]
      April 4, 2018 @ 2:23 pm

      I agree. I think they are now trying to pull the people over who might care but just like a simple ice cold summer time Lager. Me I like the hops and flavor but as we know most don’t so why not try to get more of that business. I saw 10 Barrel do it with their ” Pub Beer” a few years back when I was in Oregon and thought that was smart as heck. Why not go after everyone not just the people who like more flavored beers. As we all know that market is WAY larger than the craft one is. I think it’s a smart move for the few who do it first and are larger in size in volume. Smaller guys I think should stick to the awesome crafty cool stuff we have all loved.


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