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Craft brewer sells out to InBev

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Comments

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx :KAPPA: Redwood City, CA Icrontian

    I read somewhere that South Africa produced more acres of hops last year than Michigan, Indiana, and New York combined. We're not talking about an insignificant number of resources here, and many of those varieties cannot be found outside of SA. So what we're talking about is a situation where local breweries will no longer be able to brew some of their products if they relied on those previously contracted hops from SA. Southern Passion hop in particular has seen a lot of use and success in independent products. Those beers won't be able to be brewed with this turn of events. This actively hurts indie breweries using that product.

    Keep in mind, a lot of these contracts weren't directly from the SAB hop farms. Excess hops not used by big breweries end up with brokers of sorts, going out to independent and smaller hop distributors then on to microbreweries. Most of the hops you'll buy at homebrew shops come from this, and most nano/micro breweries will experiment on new hop styles obtained through these distributors.

    Ultimately, I don't understand the indignation here over Ryan and I explaining why we won't allow our dollars to go to these anti-competitive companies. If this kind of behavior was happening in, say, the software world, would you not care? Would it still be "corporations being corporations"? Wholefoods put Ye Olde Butchershop out of business and that wasn't ok then.

    No, ABI/Millers/Heineken are not going away because we boycott them. But that's not the point, nor is it the goal. My beer dollars will continue to support the little guy.

    RyanMM
  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited May 2017

    @UPSLynx said:
    Ultimately, I don't understand the indignation here over Ryan and I explaining why we won't allow our dollars to go to these anti-competitive companies.

    No one's indignant over that. I sure as hell do the same. I think most of us do.

    It's the crying foul over things that aren't fouls that's got me raising an eyebrow. If you start hitting the underdog Kool Aid a little too hard suddenly everything is unfair and look how big and mean business is. No shit? Righteous indignation about companies leveraging their competitive advantages is where I get off the bandwagon.

    @UPSLynx said:
    If this kind of behavior was happening in, say, the software world, would you not care? Would it still be "corporations being corporations"? Wholefoods put Ye Olde Butchershop out of business and that wasn't ok then.

    This happens constantly in the software world. Being beat to shit by companies 1000x our size is basically my life. Oh, sweet feature, assholes with millions of dollars in investor capital powering them. Real magic how that all works when you don't have to worry about revenue huh? :crazy: If anything it's worse in software because of this magic bubble where people think it's OK to burn money without a plan.

  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited May 2017

    If the craft brewers' association wanted to put together a strategic plan to, say, buy 11% of Heineken so as to vote against their current board and install friendly directors, I'd be like, "hell yeah, kick 'em in the nuts". Or hell, buy out a hop farm or 50 and tell ABI to go fuck itself. Nice!

    If they wanna whine in a Facebook post that the megacorp owns the hop fields they wanted for IPA variation #7952... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    BuddyJprimesuspectCB
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian

    When does competitive become anti-competitive?

    Nobody faults you for supporting small business. But I do take issue with the narrative that there's a war between a big, evil corporation and the small, noble, wholesome craft brewer who struggles under oppression every day. Because the way these stories read to me is a big business is making smart moves to stay relevant in a changing industry and naive small brewers get upset when they learn businesses can't be treated like a hobby and nobody is going to cut you any slack when you're fighting for a piece of a $23.5B TAM.

    Linc
  • RyanMMRyanMM Ferndale, MI Icrontian

    @Linc said:
    leveraging their competitive advantages

    Whereas I assert they are "exerting undue influence on the market with their monopoly power."

    Wherefore art thou, Teddy Roosevelt, with your stick of righteous anti-trust destruction?

  • RyanMMRyanMM Ferndale, MI Icrontian

    @Linc said:
    If the craft brewers' association wanted to put together a strategic plan to, say, buy 11% of Heineken so as to vote against their current board and install friendly directors, I'd be like, "hell yeah, kick 'em in the nuts". Or hell, buy out a hop farm or 50 and tell ABI to go fuck itself. Nice!

    If they wanna whine in a Facebook post that the megacorp owns the hop fields they wanted for IPA variation #7952... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Small brewers try stuff like this but are having trouble getting financing because the banks are too busy making money profiteering on foreclosures and shit.

  • The dream of a millennial dude owning a craft brewery is akin to millennial ladies all wanting their own cupcake bakery several years back. It's a tricky investment for a bank because most regions have reached saturation. There are going to be winners and losers over the next few years. Here in the Mid Atlantic beer has been a boom market. It seems like a new craft brewery pops up every couple months, and I'm not just talking restaurants that brew their own beer, I'm talking facilities with distribution and dreams of owning a slice of the craft beer pie. Honestly, most of it is pretty good, and most of them have a decent branding and marketing plan to differentiate themselves, still..... Something has to give, the bubble is going to burst eventually. If I were loaning money, I'm not sure MD/PA/VA/DE needs another craft brew facility.

    If I had a successful craft brand, when I say successful, I don't mean Sam Adams, they can do their own thing, they have made it and are not in any danger of going under, but think an emerging brand, like here in MD we have this small company, Union Brewing that makes a session IPA called Duckpin that is branded well and quite nice... If I owned Union Brewing and a corporate brewery made me an attractive offer to set my family up good, I think the smart money would be to get out.... Honestly, so many of these great brands are going to go under in the next few years, there are just too many of them, the market is saturated, mankind only needs so many session IPA's to choose from.

    BuddyJ
  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian

    I don't think it's extraordinarily difficult (relative to the normal ridic difficulty of starting a business) to create a successful brewpub that distributes growlers, packs & cases locally and maybe has a few friendly bars nearby with 1 or more of their beers on tap.

    Competing with conglomerates for shelf space at Whole Foods or Meijer is next-level competition and a huge risk because of the expansion required to serve that size of a market reliably. That's where I think you get into bubble risks.

    Detroit has 3 brewpubs on 1 block in Midtown and all 3 are thriving. Two of them have been there since the early 90s. There's still a lot of room in this sector precisely because folks wanna walk to places like this, which, historically, is exactly how bars & pubs always worked prior to the suburbanization of America 60 years ago.

    If you're content to own your corner of the world, there's a lot of market left to grab. If you wanna play with the big dogs, you better be ready to bite back.

    Cliff_ForsterBuddyJRyanMMUPSLynx
  • I agree, places that brew their own for a local crowd, if they have something else to offer, decent food, music, sports on TV, whatever, (My dream is an 80's retro style arcade and craft brew together)... Those kind of places can continue to pop up as long as there are enough people locally to support it. The challenge is distribution at the liquor store. Guys are still going to buy their 12 packs of Miller and Corona, there are too few of us that care about supporting our local brewery to support more than a few of them. I also can see a little trend of the corporate breweries starting to figure out how to market against it, and the message is becoming more effective. See, for awhile they were trying to convince the market that they were somehow doing the same thing all the cool local kids were, like Bud would run an add showing their brew-master looking at the wort, people know that is bullshit, now... They are firing off shots in a way that says, yeah, beer, it's not for pretentious snobby kids, it's for men, real men who like beer. It's effective in a way, you see that Miller Lite slide across the bar and hit some massive working mans hand and in a way 99% of men relate to that better than some hop region obsessed hipster kid with a dream. Corporate brew is in no danger, in fact most think of Blue Moon or Fat Tire as craft, and they are fine products, but... Miller Coors. I think there is room for a couple more Sam Adams stories, those will happen in the next few years, but not more than a couple of them, others will die or sell out, that's just business.

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