Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

September 6, 2016

Beer Diary:


Craft brewer sellouts become as tone-deaf and underhanded as their new overlords.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
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At first I didn’t think I needed to talk about this, since a couple of weeks ago the fabulous folks at A Full Pint brilliantly mocked the recent spate of “news stories” cropping up in which former craft breweries recently purchased by AB-InBev are bemoaning how they no longer get the respect of true beer lovers even though after selling out everyone is crapping rainbows and unicorns at their shiny, now well-funded brewing facility.

But after re-reading “Breckenridge Brewery owner opens up about life under Anheuser-Busch” in the Denver Business Journal, I have a few things about this “article” to point out. And I’m using quotes to refer to this piece because it’s basically a press-release—I’m surprised the Journal even bothered to attach a reporter’s name to the byline.

The “article” is aimed squarely at craft beer drinkers who are on the fence about AB-InBev gobbling up craft breweries. In it, Breckenridge President/Chief Sellout Todd Usry drops this little quote:

“We’ve never innovated more than we do now. We’ve literally turned Breckenridge into an R&D brewery.”

Craft beer fans rejoice! Breckenridge is innovating like crazy now! How can that be a bad thing? This is absolutely typical of AB-InBev’s utter idiocy when it comes to understanding the craft beer phenomenon. Innovation doesn’t make a craft brewery. The owners spouting out words like “passion” and “community” every other sentence doesn’t make a craft brewery. Brewing flavorful, interesting beers in relatively small batches doesn’t make a craft brewery. In fact, I can’t tell you what makes a craft brewery. But you can’t manufacture it or buy it or fake it. And AB-InBev will never understand that.

The other point I want to make about the “article” in question is over a mention about safety. Here’s the paragraph:

“Breckenridge received an immediate boost in safety and environmental measures from its new owners, [Usry] said. It has a full-time safety manager now and a set of processes and procedures that guard its workers better than ever.”

This is obviously a cheap appeal to people’s emotions, because everyone can agree that safety and the environment are important, and how can we be angry at them selling out if that leads to a safer workplace? But there’s a hidden meaning in there, too, that’s as shitty as it is subtle. It’s basically saying that independent craft breweries aren’t safe places to work, which is complete horseshit. But I’d expect nothing less from an underhanded shit conglomerate like AB-InBev. As always, fuck them, and fuck every brewery that sells out to them.