Monday, July 03, 2006

Topic of the Week: Can the macros do craft beer?

This topic has come up quite a few times. Devil's Hop Yard is one of those (um...yeah...I messed up the link on purpose) beers that I am suspicious of. I mean...come on...a beer from Anheuser Busch that has taste? What about all those years of training? I mean I thought beer was supposed to have rice in it {wince}?!!! What's this stuff called hops? I mean come on. I feel like an institutionalized beer drinker who just got out of Anheuser Busch macro jail and I don't know how to choose my beer anymore! Ok, enough of the sarcasm. Anybody taste this stuff? I don't want to come off as a craft beer geek who is scared of the big AB, but, I can't tell you that I'm not a little concerned. I really do think I've been conditioned to think AB sucks. Maybe they're really just misunderstood (oops more sarcasm). So what do you think? Is craft beer doomed? Is AB evil? Why does or doesn't this matter?

4 comments:

Chris said...

Their grand scheme is to make half-ass micros, then use their their stranglehold on the market to get them tap placement everywhere. Then macro drinkers will see these exotic new tap handles, try the beer, and swear off micros forever because they'll assume that all of them are crap.

OK, maybe that's not their plan, but it doesn't seem too far-fetched does it?

Adam said...

Honestly, I would say that's my worst fear. Why wouldn't they try to do that? It's kinda like Walmart coming in and putting the Mom & Pop's out of business.

That's my fear anyway. So how do we move past the fear and change this? What is it that is so important about micros anyway (devil's advocate).

jjk said...

Microbrews are important in the same way that 'Mom and Pop' stores are important: they're part of the local culture. Whenever I go somewhere new, I like to find a local pub and try a local brew (if any is available). It's the same as taking a drive (or a walk, or a bike ride) to enjoy the scenery of a new location.

Of course microbrews are different than 'Mom and Pop' shops too. When Walmart drives out some 'Mom and Pop ' shops, they're selling the same things the old shops used to, but only at a fraction of the price. However, some of the 'Mom and Pop' shops focused on high quality or specialty goods, and Walmart almost certainly won't sell that kind of stuff.

So, AB's move is dangerous in the sense that it might drive out the truly exceptional, corner-case type microbrews that would die with a lack of attention. I don't think that's particularly realistic, though, because the type of people keeping those brews alive aren't the type that will switch over to AB imitations.

Just my two cents.

Adam said...

JJK,

I hear ya. Something to think about, do the "type of people keeping those brews alive" really keep those brews alive. I guess I'm thinking that saturating the market with macro approximations will decrease the chance that a local brew will get discovered. They have the distribution channels. They are positioned to get better tap placement.