Author Topic: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth  (Read 9186 times)

Offline hubie

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #90 on: December 17, 2012, 10:29:47 AM »
Its my understanding that ownership by a BMC does come with a price.  I'm not saying that it will immediately reduce quality, but if a brewery stumbles financially they can expect to receive guidance on how to reduce costs and increse the bottom line.

This happened to Pierre Celis:  http://www.beer-pages.com/stories/celis.htm.  And I don't think you have to stumble financially, you just need to not produce as much of a profit as analysts think you can.  I remember back in the early 00's there used to be Warner Brothers stores in the malls that would sell any and all things Looney Tunes.  When AOL merged with Time Warner, they closed all those stores to show investors that after the merger they were committed to cutting down the bottom line, even though those stores were profitable.  It sounds like the same thing was done after InBev bought Hoegaarden.  Correct me if I am wrong, but it wasn't as if Hoegaarden was losing money, but that they weren't making enough money and it looked good to Wall Street to close them.

Based on the article gymrat posted, http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14144.msg180088#msg180088, it is a pretty good bet that it will keep happening.

Offline bunderbunder

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #91 on: December 17, 2012, 10:35:55 AM »
They're saying "this is what craft brewing is" and they're defining it as small, independent, with no adjuncts to "lighten flavor," whatever that means.

I fear it means they've gotten so hung up on trying to define themselves in terms of what they aren't that they're in danger of losing sight of what they are.  There's a whole lot of great traditional beer that uses adjuncts to lighten the flavor.  I mean, at the very least it's kind of hard to ignore that great big elephant in the room named Belgium. 

Now maybe if they wanted to criticize the use of adjuncts purely as a cost-cutting measure in the interest of making cheap mass-market beer. But implying that it's anathema for one's explorations in adjusting the flavor of beer to stray outside the narrow lines of malted grain?  Might as well try passing the Reinhetisgebot off as a "beer quality law" while you're at it.

(Edit:  And a little more rant about their apparently strong conviction that using adjuncts in beer makes it somehow not "traditional."  I'm a budding beer history nerd, starting to get into recreating historical recipes.  Yesterday's brew was a first step in that direction - a mid 18th century Porter.  Heck yeah there was adjunct in there.  If it didn't have any adjunct, it wouldn't be what my great-great-great grandparents were drinking.)
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 10:49:21 AM by bunderbunder »

Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #92 on: December 17, 2012, 10:49:21 AM »
Its my understanding that ownership by a BMC does come with a price.  I'm not saying that it will immediately reduce quality, but if a brewery stumbles financially they can expect to receive guidance on how to reduce costs and increse the bottom line.

This happened to Pierre Celis:  http://www.beer-pages.com/stories/celis.htm.  And I don't think you have to stumble financially, you just need to not produce as much of a profit as analysts think you can.  I remember back in the early 00's there used to be Warner Brothers stores in the malls that would sell any and all things Looney Tunes.  When AOL merged with Time Warner, they closed all those stores to show investors that after the merger they were committed to cutting down the bottom line, even though those stores were profitable.  It sounds like the same thing was done after InBev bought Hoegaarden.  Correct me if I am wrong, but it wasn't as if Hoegaarden was losing money, but that they weren't making enough money and it looked good to Wall Street to close them.

Based on the article gymrat posted, http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14144.msg180088#msg180088, it is a pretty good bet that it will keep happening.

This idea by wall street f***tards that everything has to MAXIMIZE profits in every possible way, regardless of the consequences, or be destroyed bugs me.  A business that's making a profit, employing people, providing a service/product people want, paying taxes, and generally contributing to the economy is providing a valuable and tangible service to the community.  When some investor thinks they should eek out another 1% higher profit margin or be dismantled/conglomerized, they are doing nobody other than themselves any favors.  It's incredibly selfish to overlook the big picture in favor for a solely stockholder dividends/CEO bonuses view of life.  And inevitably, this viewpoint stymies quality in favor of mass produced dog-doo.  Yes, the Beck's example.  I used to like Beck's.  It was one of my go-to beers back in the dark days before the craft beer "revolution."  Beck's did noticeably change for the worse when it was taken over and moved to STL*.

*and I hate to say that about STL, because there's some excellent craft beer / beer culture in STL

Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #93 on: December 17, 2012, 10:54:44 AM »
They're saying "this is what craft brewing is" and they're defining it as small, independent, with no adjuncts to "lighten flavor," whatever that means.

I fear it means they've gotten so hung up on trying to define themselves in terms of what they aren't that they're in danger of losing sight of what they are.  There's a whole lot of great traditional beer that uses adjuncts to lighten the flavor.  I mean, at the very least it's kind of hard to ignore that great big elephant in the room named Belgium. 

Now maybe if they wanted to criticize the use of adjuncts purely as a cost-cutting measure in the interest of making cheap mass-market beer. But implying that it's anathema for one's explorations in adjusting the flavor of beer to stray outside the narrow lines of malted grain?  Might as well try passing the Reinhetisgebot off as a "beer quality law" while you're at it.

(Edit:  And a little more rant about their apparently strong conviction that using adjuncts in beer makes it somehow not "traditional."  I'm a budding beer history nerd, starting to get into recreating historical recipes.  Yesterday's brew was a first step in that direction - a mid 18th century Porter.  Heck yeah there was adjunct in there.  If it didn't have any adjunct, it wouldn't be what my great-great-great grandparents were drinking.)

I used six ounces of flaked corn in my last brew, a blonde ale.  Thus, I would like to present myself for flogging and chastizing/casting-out at this time.  Apparently I'm not a craft brewer anymore, or even worthy of continuing on in the human race.  At best I should be confined to a desert island and be forced to drink only BMC adjunct lagers from here on out.  ::)

Offline The Professor

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #94 on: December 17, 2012, 11:14:08 AM »
why do we even have to define a craft brewery. it is really the beer that seems to be in question.  american lager versus everything else.

Why indeed!  I'm still convinced that the "craft" definition itself  will ultimately fall by the wayside as good beer wins over new fans.   Beer should be judged on its own merits anyway, rather than an  increasingly tired marketing term or even the size of the manufacturer.  Even American lager is not all bad or evil...nor is the use of adjuncts;  after all, quite a few "craft" and pub brewers (the smart ones, anyway) are making their own versions of American lager (and using  adjuncts in those, as well as their other beers). 
 
There has been (for a while now, from what I've observed) a perception by the public that the "craft" segment of the industry projects a kind of arrogance.   If anything, the recently released  statement reinforces that perception.  Problem is, the arrogance all too often isn't justified (judging by some of the products hitting the shelves of late).  I totally  agree with the others who have opined that good beer is good beer...and good beer has always been and will continue to be different things to different people.  I love "craft" beer...if it is good.

I think that the BA statement was wrongheaded on multiple levels.  I understand that part of their function as a trade organization is to generate positive hype (and hype is what it is)...but unfortunately they have inadvertently shot themselves in the foot with the current brewhaha.

By the way, the band/major label analogy put forth earlier in the thread by joeysmokedporter is  gem!  Spot on!
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Offline bunderbunder

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #95 on: December 17, 2012, 11:33:57 AM »
For that matter, I still find it interesting that the cap on how much beer you could make and still qualify as a "craft brewery" suddenly got tripled when it seemed that a certain large publicly-traded company with a market cap of $1.8bn and a ubiquitous national brand was about to blow past that limit.

I realize the BA needs to have an identity.  But it still strikes me as being stuck in the amusing position of being a punk band that became popular.  I'll be interested to see how (or if) they manage to reconcile their mission of expanding sales and mass market appeal with their desire to maintain an image of representing the beer counterculture.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #96 on: December 17, 2012, 11:52:34 AM »
For that matter, I still find it interesting that the cap on how much beer you could make and still qualify as a "craft brewery" suddenly got tripled when it seemed that a certain large publicly-traded company with a market cap of $1.8bn and a ubiquitous national brand was about to blow past that limit.
Thats just inflation, indexed to healthcare costs.
I realize the BA needs to have an identity.  But it still strikes me as being stuck in the amusing position of being a punk band that became popular.  I'll be interested to see how (or if) they manage to reconcile their mission of expanding sales and mass market appeal with their desire to maintain an image of representing the beer counterculture.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #97 on: December 17, 2012, 12:14:32 PM »
The situation reminds me of the state of archery.  Once there was only archery, then along came the compound bow that was perceived as superior at which point the old style bows were somewhat ignored by the masses.  Then after awhile they made a comeback as "traditional archery" and now you have the wheelie boys and the trad gang that each feel superior to the other.  Unfortunately they haven't sorted it out any better than the breweries so theres no lesson here other than people like to categorize stuff for purposes of feeling superior.
Lennie
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Offline gogreen437

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Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #98 on: December 17, 2012, 01:17:26 PM »
 This all seems rather silly.  Not the "Craft versus Crafty" but the reaction to it.  I read the whole article and they never once accused major brewers of breaking into our homes, messing the place up and generally being evil, no good human beings.  They simply pointed out that there are consumers out there who like to buy products from small independent producers (I am one of them) and the way certain products are marketed (Shock Top and Blue Moon) are deceptive and do not make it clear to the consumer who is producing them.  It is a call for transparency so the consumer can make an informed decision.  I don't believe they ever once said Blue Moon or Shock Top were awful beers (though Shock Top is not very good).

As for August Schell's response, it was in poor taste to include them on the domestic non craft list.  But, they do acknowledge on the list that they are small and independent.  It is an attempt at transparency for those who wish to know.  I get that good beer can be made that isn't small or independent.  I don't care.  I prefer to spend my dollars on beer that is, because beer is more to me than a product.  It has a story and it is about the people who make it.  As such, I would like to know who is making my beer.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 01:20:22 PM by gogreen437 »