So if you have seen any of the latest Craft Beer related news lately you may have seen some hub-bub both from the Macro side of the aisle and from the Independent (formerly referred to as Craft) side of the aisle.
It all has to do with the newly created seal (see below) put out by the Brewers Association which can be used to differentiate between beers created by small independent brewers and those owned by the macro beer companies.
If you have been paying attention at all then you know that the Macros (which I will use to refer to AB InBev, Molson/Coors, Heineken International, Constellation Brands, and Pabst Brewing Company) have been trying to purchase Craft Breweries (and succeeding) on the sly to stop their bleeding loss of market share. At one point these Macros owned 99% of the world market share and pretty much 100% of the American market share. But in the last 20 or so years that share has fallen to 75-80% thanks to the renaissance of Craft Beer.
This trend is also starting gain a foothold in Europe and Asia as well, potentially leading to more losses for the Macros. To try and win back those they have lost to the Craft Beer movement, the Macros have started a campaign of purchasing craft breweries to add to their brand lines. AB InBev has actually called their craft brand line their High End line (visit their website if you don’t believe me). Of the 18 brands listed there Breckenridge, Goose Island, Leffe, Shock Top and Wicked Weed were all indepenedent brewers until recently. Molson/Coors purchased Terrapin Brewing, Constellation Brands purchased Ballast Point and Heineken International has recently purchased Lagunitas Brewing. All of these were known successful Brewing companies with a good following. These purchases are meant to enhance their already burgeoning portfolio of brands (see list of brands in link below).
FYI – This list is created with information pulled directly from the websites of these Macros.
The Brewer’s Association has decided to fight back to differentiate their brands from those controlled by the Macros by creating the above seal which Independent Brewers can place on their products so their will be easily identifiable to those folks who care about who they are buying their beer from.
The Macros have responded saying that these seals have nothing to do with beer quality and are misleading to the customer.
If the Macros were making quality beer to begin with then why have they lost such a huge chunk of market share? If the Macros were making quality product to begin with then why are their bolstering their brands by buying craft breweries? And why do they use bullying tactics with their distribution channels to keep Independent Craft Breweries from being able to reach more customers?
Budweiser, which is no longer an American owned brewing company, has once again this summer changed their labels to the brand name “America” to reinforce the idea that they are still the King of Beers. Kaaachhhkk!! Sorry something caught in my throat. Budweiser is about as American as the $5 tee-shirts made by children in Asian sweatshops.
Don’t get me wrong… this is still America and you are free to choose whatever beer you like. If any of the beers listed on the Macro list in the link above are your go-to beer then enjoy it to your hearts content. But don’t try to tell me that slapping the name “America” on a beer that, in my opinion, tastes like horse piss will make it any better.
And if you really want to be patriotic, then why not actually switch, or at least try drinking, a beer made by an American owned company and generating profits that benefit not only American workers but the communities they live in, your locally owned Independent Craft Brewer.
The United States was founded on the idea of freedom. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Taxation without representation (okay – I’m finding that one hard to swallow sometimes too), are all basic tenets of the Constitution. I am sure that if some of the Founding Fathers were here today they would easily prefer the beer available at your local brewery than the watered down product mass-produced and filling the shelves at your local store or distributor.
Let freedom ring and hoist a glass to flavor and the right to choose it!!