Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

June 6, 2011

Beer Issues:

Beating A Dead Goose

A few more thoughts and comments on the Goose Island sellout to A-B InBev.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
Contact Eddie»
Thought I’d opine a bit more on the Goose Island deal with A-B InBev that you should have heard about by now:

I’ve heard from more than one source that is far closer to the whole deal than me that things weren’t as amicable as A-B InBev and the Hall brothers made it seem in the press releases. The story goes that A-B was looking to crank up distribution of Goose Island beers in markets across the country, but the Chicago brewery couldn’t keep up with demand. At which point A-B offered them three choices:
1. Borrow $50 million and expand to meet demand.

2. Get sued by A-B for breach of contract.

3. Sell out to A-B.
Since options one and two would mean a good chance Goose Island would end up going out of business, the Hall brothers chose to sell out. Yeah, it’s complete hearsay, but it does make a lot of sense. And it makes me think back to 2006 when Goose Island accepted that initial proxy investment from A-B and how the Hall brothers then brayed on and on about how it wouldn’t have any negative impact on them and it was a win-win for everyone involved. And I remember there was an interview with the owner of Boulevard Brewing, who had recently turned down a similar offer from A-B. He said something to the effect of “They might not own you, but they control you.”

Some folks who are otherwise craft beer savvy haven’t heard about the Goose Island/A-B bullshit. I’ve talked to several people at craft beer events and during American Craft Beer Week who were shocked and saddened to hear about it. So make sure you bring it up every once in a while (or constantly, like I would, if I had friends) to friends, relatives, and acquaintances to make sure everyone knows about it. Something like this:

You, rummaging around your friend’s beer fridge: Why the fuck do you have this shit in here?

Your friend, looking panicked: I swear, that Corona isn’t mine. My mom was in town-

You: Not that. This Goose shit!

Your friend: But that’s Bourbon County Stout!

You, as you’re dumping it down the drain: Haven’t you been reading Beer Dorks? Anheuser-Busch bought Goose Island, so spending money on their beer is just putting the hurt on other craft brewers trying to get some, Hell, any space on beer trucks, retail shelves, and tap handles. Don’t buy their shit no more, dig?

You’re friend: What the fuck is Beer Dorks?

[Actually, dumping the beer at this point doesn’t make any sense: the beer’s already bought, so you might as well as go ahead and drink it. A better analogy would be if you were in line to buy beer at the liquor store and your friend came up with a six pack of Goose Island, but I’m too damn lazy to erase all that and rewrite it.]

It is just my imagination—because I am, after all, a paranoid asshole—but it seems that I’m already seeing more Goose Island stuff on the shelves in my area. One of the liquor stores I frequent (I like to pop in a few times a week to see if anything new/seasonal has come in, and to enjoy above-ground air conditioning) had a full shelf dedicated to Goose Island bombers, and I could’ve sworn there were only three, maybe four, tops, a week or two ago. Again, I’m sure it’s just my imagination, but it’s gonna suck when I wanna go grab a bomber of Three Floyds Dreadnaught or a sixer of Capital Blonde Doppelbock or some New Holland Dragon’s Milk and instead having to stare at nothing but Goose Island. Maybe my apocalyptic vision won’t play out—and I sure as shit hope it doesn’t, even though it means that I’ll be wrong for the first time EVER—but, still, nothing good is going to come of this for us consumers or real craft brewers. Just keep your head down and spread the word, folks.

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

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