The Beer Industry’s Red-Headed Stepchild

What a nice Fourth of July weekend!  Very relaxing.  I even got a little time to myself to sit and think.

One thing I found myself thinking about is the dilemma that some beer-makers must be facing.  I say beer-makers, because these are the craft beer wings of Big Beer (I can’t wholly get behind “brewers”, mainly because of the way Big Beer seems to have removed the love of brewing and replaced it with an efficient machine).  They’re hated by everyone.

Think about it for a second.  I love craft beer.  And due to that, I find myself pushing for small breweries and their delicious, imperfect beers.  I’ll search out a beer from a small brewery before any macro-brew, any day of the week.  I have disdain for Big Beer and the way they carry themselves: constantly trying to muscle out the smaller guys and maintaining a near monopoly on the beer industry.  This disdain for Big Beer extends down to all of their beers.  I don’t just dislike Budweiser, I dislike everything AB-InBev makes (I’m talking to you, Shock Top).  Silver Bullet? You’re on the shit-list too.  And yes, that includes you, Blue Moon.  If you’re reading this, I’m sure you feel the same way.

Normally I’m all for blind hatred, but this seems like a bit of an injustice.  I’m all for hating on Budweiser, Coors Light, Miller Genuine Draft, and the like, but maybe we should be giving Blue Moon, Shock Top, (even Goose Island now) and others a bit of a break.  After all, they are the red-headed stepchildren of the beer industry.

Companies like AB-InBev and MillerCoors would love to have a bit of the income from the craft beer industry (who wouldn’t), but it goes completely against every fiber of their being.  They’re well-oiled machines.  Quick, perfect, never slowing, never caring, calculated and efficient… like a well-trained assassin.  Craft beer is well cared for, loved and nurtured, slowly lifted to new heights and ever-changing… nothing like an assassin.  Big Beer fundamentally hates craft beer.  They have to.  This idea leads to the craft beer wing of Big Beer getting screwed.

The craft beer wing has to follow all of Big Beer’s rules, and that goes against nearly everything craft beer stands for.  Big Beer wants beer made quickly, craft beer wants slow fermentation.  Big Beer wants low costs, craft beer wants genuine ingredients.  Big Beer wants standard recipes, craft beer wants to experiment.  This big disconnect leaves the craft beer wing out flapping in the wind.

Hated by their parent company, and hated by the craft beer community.  It sounds like an after-school special.

So, I’ve decided I’m going to ease up a bit on those Brewed-by-Big-Beer craft beers (only a little).  Next time I see someone drinking a Shock Top I won’t make fun of them… aloud.

After all, you have to drink what you like.  If you think Shock Top is better than Oberon, I have no right to tell you it isn’t (though I will anyway).  Enjoy your macro-craft-beer!

-Tonzi

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