The Craft Beer Illusionists…

Much like Donald Trump, who identifies a marketing opportunity and capitalizes upon it, ultimately making a monster of it,
InBev has feverishly been working to beat the (and if you can’t beat ’em buy ’em,) craft beer market…and no, I don’t like pumpkin beers nor handlebar mustaches.

Anheuser-Busch InBev is currently in merger talks with their long time business nemesis SABMiller. If this amalgamation happens, the effects will not be not only detrimental to Miller and Budweiser drinkers but also to the craft beer drinkers alike.

Whereas Europeans, especially Germans, have been for years touting Budweiser as the king of beers their palates have suddenly opened to the craft beers that are now a habitue of their tap rooms. Hence Heineken buying 50% of Lagunitas so to
(supposedly)  sell Lagunitas to the Germans.

With craft beer taking a 17%+ bite in the American market, and Europeans following in these American based avant-garde beer trends InBev and other corn/rice based cheap ass beer purveyors have long been waking up. They’ve bought Goose Island and Blue Moon, Red Hook, Shock Top, Pyramid, Leinenkugel, Third Shift, Kona, and the list goes on. In addition, Guinness just announced, a hair late to the game, that they are going to make an IPA.

With a hop shortage that has been ongoing since 2013, coupled with a drought on the west coast that ultimately jeopardizes the American hops that made (and make) craft beer pinnacle, in addition to the hop contracts that even the biggest brewers in the craft market can’t get until 2019 if they sign now, I fear the end is (very much) near for (somewhat) decent priced quality beers. Everything after the coming beer Armageddon is mere illusion.

13 comments on “The Craft Beer Illusionists…
  1. Growing my own hops (just 3 vines, only in their second year so production is small) and brewing my own beer seemed like a time wasting hobby.

    Oddly it’s quickly becoming a money saving hobby. Once the hop plants are fully online I’ll be able to make a decent IPA for less than $1/bottle most likely (supplies cost only, I don’t care to account for water, electricity and equipment normalized out over the entire set of beers.)
    Originally that was at best on par with what I could get a decent craft beer 6pack for the store at. Now it’s becoming a huge savings.

    • I’m considering it, but I’m not sure where. I’ve thought about running one along a chain link fence in my yard, but I’m afraid it’ll drift into my neighbor’s flowerbed.

      The side of my house is probably decent too, but I’d need to mount ropes on the 2 story soffit, and I don’t really like ladders.

      We can actually grow decent hops in MO, the weather works for it, maybe I just need to convert my entire yard into a hope farm 😛

  2. Why 2013? I recall talking to a brewer (Mo’s in Beaver, KS) in 2008 about some so-called hop shortage. Guy claimed it’d been goin’ on for a year or more back then.

    Anyway, yeah, the big guys have been buying up the little guys for quite a while now. It stinks (and the quality inevitably drops quite a bit) but that’s the way it goes.

  3. I live in the hop capital of the world, and people are putting in new plantings everywhere. So there won’t be a shortage for long. Free market, as usual.

    I wept the first time I tasted a Red Hook ESB after Anheiser Busch bought them out. (They were one of the first sellouts.) OMG it sucked ass. They took a perfectly balanced, beautiful bitter and made it swill like all the rest.

    • I used to drink Red Hook when I lived in California a long time ago. It was reliable, and damned good. I haven’t had it in quite some time, but now I will have to try it just for old time’s sake, and for fuel for the fire that rages in me when formerly wonderful products are ruined by success.

      But….”Schumpeter spoke of creative destruction….” Maybe the loss of old reliables opens the door for new?

    • It’s worth noting that for the most part AB learned from “Budhook.” and tries to tinker less with the craft breweries now when they buy them.
      For the most part they buy it, keep it 90% the same but tweak distribution and apply the economy of scale that only they can do.
      Goose Island survived pretty well I would argue.
      And I get can it in grocery stores now!

  4. There are few people that I dislike more than liberals– they are beer snobs.

    [This is a beer post. You’re in time out for awhile. And while Malor might indeed be an insufferable scold…check the Commenters Bill Of Rights on the main page. CBD]

    • Hops also hide any imperfections in beer. IMHO, it’s been harder for me to pull off a light ale than a bitter or IPA.
      Mistakes in the latter are covered up by hops, mistakes in the former are right up front on display.

    • I have been looking for good, lighter beers that don’t have that insane hop punch and aren’t 8% alcohol. They are much more difficult to find than these hop monsters.

      Although….a really well made IPA or double is a thing of beauty. When the brewer can balance the hops with other flavors I will drink as much of it as I can find!

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