I love beer fests. Seeing brewers, owners and other staff just being completely jacked about their beer and seeing everyone being equally excited about drinking that beer is just way too awesome. But it also gives me this sense of urgency to really support those smaller breweries hiding out at these festivals and to really explore new beer things to fall in love with.
In the wake of Wicked Weed Brewing being bought up, Lagunitas’ full buy out by Heineken, and our access to hops being hindered, it’s been pretty interesting watching how people adjust, protest and shut down Big Beer.
The Big Bad Wolf who is Anheuser-Busch seems to be going after all our beloved beers, and now even our hops. Sure, businesses open to bring in revenue and, of course, they want to keep that train rolling. But when and how do they stop caring about the beer and start caring about how deep their pockets will get? Wicked Weed might have been one of the most controversial (in my SUPER professional opinion); they made damn good beer and had four successful locations around North Carolina and had collabs with some of the best.
You’re probably thinking, “why the hell is she bringing this up now??”- Well, now is the time to support your local breweries. I think Jester King Brewing did an amazing job explaining Big Beer and why they won’t support them; breweries under AB inBev might still make some good brews (okay, let me know if this is true… because I’m not sure), but the money that this big corporation brings in is used to hurt craft breweries (read the full press release from Jester King here).
While I’m so thankful for every beer opportunity I have been given, loved every owner, brewer, beertender, sales guy and supportive manager I have crossed paths with, it’s also taught me a lot about the ambitions and intentions of this industry.
I love all beer things- hopefully you know that by now… I’ve worked with people who absolutely want to share their beer passions with people… and also those people who only care about the $$$ and not about the consumer or even the people who work for them. And honestly, that breaks my heart! As I pointed out before, the point of a business is to bring in money (in some people’s opinions…), but it just sucks when someone almost takes advantage of an industry just to bring in the dough?
Let me clear a thing or two up; I don’t completely despise those who are in the business just for money, but I kind of get super bummed when breweries fully sell out to huge conglomerates like AB InBev. AB is known for being dicey and quick to try and nip craft beer in the bud… or whatever. Distributers have the option to renegotiate distribution ‘laws’, and for big macro breweries who have a bit more of a say (whether that’s money or something else), they can help sway a distributor to choose that macro brewery over a smaller brewery- leaving the little guys with not a lot of choices.
Also, local breweries like to support local companies! How great is it when breweries use hops from local farmers or get their supplies from a local shop? It’s pretty damn awesome to see the community supporting eachother and putting that energy, focus and love back into it!
Alright. Maybe I just needed a minute to bitch, and thank you if you made it this far. I guess what I want people to take out of this, or think about, is those breweries who live for their patrons; the breweries who stepped away from the big guys to follow their passion (Uhhem- Cloudburst’s Steve Luke leaving Elysian because of personal beliefs. You the real MVP).
Plus- small breweries (generally) make even more delicious beers. So use your power. Stand up for better beer.