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The Beer Log: WTF is AB InBev thinking?! | The Craft Beer Channel

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Having seen AB InBev's response to the Brewer's Association's Independence seal, Jonny had to ask you guys what the f*** they were thinking. The High End/AB InBev video: https://vimeo.com/223773287 The BA video:https://www.brewersassociation.org/business-tools/marketing-advertising/independent-craft-brewer-seal/ Put your thoughts about the seal and AB Inbev's strategy below! Buy our new book, Beer School, today: USA (Amazon): http://tinyurl.com/zbjx4sn UK (Amazon): http://tinyurl.com/zksjmdf UK with beer (Beer Merchants): http://tinyurl.com/j4vmps6 Europe (Beer Merchants): http://tinyurl.com/jy6fr2y Check out our partners at http://www.beermerchants.com Twitter – @beerchannel Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/thecraftbeerchannel Instagram – @jonnygarrett @mrbradevans Remember to drink responsibly(ish) and not be that guy...
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Text Comments (243)
So guys - two questions! (a) Would the seal influence your buying decisions? (b) What is AB InBev trying to achieve here? We have our thoughts but what are yours?
Nicholas Gill (1 year ago)
The Craft Beer Channel A non-ABI seal would certainly make me sit up and take note. Response makes me think of Pete Brown's book Three Sheets to the Wind where ABI's approach to doing business constantly puts the company in a hugely negative light - sadly more f the same here, although no litigation yet(?) so I guess that's a plus.
true, any further division isn't helpful. But for example, down the road from me is a very good bottleshop. It sells Camden and beavertown on the same shelf, and meantime and Brooklyn big bottles next to 3 Fonteinen and Boon. To most people, they would never know which is indie and which is macro. Or indeed which is craft, true craft, CAMRA compliant and macro.... Jesus it gets complicated.
Steve Wheeler (1 year ago)
I just cant think of a situation where I've had a choice between Camden or a Verdant  for example. If I'm drinking Camden it means I'm in a pub where the only other choices are other InBev or Heineken beers. If the bar sells Cloudwater then they wont be selling Meantime. I also worry that people will use the label as a sign of quality, rather than an indication of the corporate structure, then there is the grey area's of part ownership. I cant comment on the situation in America, only how I see things in the UK, ultimately I don't care as I'm just the consumer and as a beer geek it would only be telling me what I already know. Just feels a little unnecessary to me. People have already split themselves into groups are you craft or camra, now we're going to be new craft or true craft, I just like beer.
I'd love to agree, but in America there is a real blur of indie and macro beer and in the UK it is getting harder to tell – Camden, Meantime etc being put next to much smaller brewers. I think also, outside our beery world, people might not even be aware of the issues let alone who is on what side!
Steve Wheeler (1 year ago)
I have issues with the seal beyond the way it looks (which is pretty terrible) I feel like the consumer isn't that silly that they need this, if the beer is sold in your local supermarket its not going to be craft. If you have a trusted bottleshop they are only going to stock independents. Most people that know their beer, know who's been bought out anyway. Also macro beers can still be amazing and a lot of independent craft breweries have terrible small pack issues and produce bang average beers. I think the whole 'craft' revolution is about the consumer becoming more informed people have their ears to the ground and know who is who and what is good and what isn't, more labelling isn't the answer. I haven't watched the inBev video yet though, I'll probably come back kicking and screaming after that!
TB_303 Lee (4 months ago)
I think the answer is money that's why no quality no real recipe not brewed in the same country they just say brewed in the eu
dicktophone (9 months ago)
I think the logo is poorly designed and thought out, but it is making an attempt at something relevant. I like the idea, hate the execution. As for the ABI video, my god that sounds like a death rattle. Just grasping at straws at every turn. Wine and spirits are the enemy? Yes beer is losing ground to them, but craft beer is growing day by day. It's only the big brands in beer that are diminishing in sales numbers. Utterly pathetic
The Craft Beer Channel (9 months ago)
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamen. It's classic diversion. A Trump tactic.
Ralph Ferrett (11 months ago)
I'd like an easy to understand kitemark that let you know it wasn't an astroturf craft for the breweries. I think it ought to be small an unobtrusive mind.
Bernardus12 (11 months ago)
It's kind of funny, because all of the small independent breweries are drinking big beer anyway so why does this matter, it's kind of contradictory if you think about it.
Bernardus12 (11 months ago)
The Craft Beer Channel gotcha
The Craft Beer Channel (11 months ago)
Bernardus12 haha well I am not sure that omnipollo should be the basis for any reasoned thinking. They are essentially trolls when it comes to their online presence - they love to send up anyone taking themselves too seriously. We have visited hundreds of breweries and worked with even more and generally brewers see the macro beers as bad for the industry and as a rule we should boycot. That doesn't mean they ALWAYS do though.
Bernardus12 (11 months ago)
The Craft Beer Channel besides there's no such thing as a part-time craft beer advocate.
Bernardus12 (11 months ago)
The Craft Beer Channel yes they are. If you go to Omnipollo's Instagram page right now you will see in recent posts they walk into their brewery carrying a shit load of cases of Miller high life, and singing its praises. Not only that but I've seen the owners of local breweries constantly buying Bud Light and Coors
The Craft Beer Channel (11 months ago)
+Bernardus12 are they?! That's not our experience. Sure some occasionally do but only out of desperation.
Dusten Harward (1 year ago)
I will be looking for that logo. I refuse to drink anything made by AB/Inbev. This seal would influence my buying decisions. I think Ab/Inbev is trying to diffuse the conversation so that they don't look so bad by pointing the finger at everyone else. Wicked Weed used to be one of my favorites, I was last in their brewery about two months before the big sellout announcement and their quality was just not there any more. Their flavors had changed and i noticed it before knowing they had sold out.
Emmanuel Boldrin (1 year ago)
As a brazilian I can add: AB Inbev is notoriously corrupt. paying loads of money to our incredibly corrupt politicians to give them "tax exemption" and alot other "favors". The competition is impossible, while a good independent craft beer cost around US$6 (yes, craft beer here is really really expensive for our purchasing power... I mean, really expensive) a Goose Island Sofie for example cost around US$3... There is only one thing that justifies becaming a Craft Brewer here in Brazil: passion, and we are very passionate about our beer!
I don't doubt it! You got any links for us to read? Love to watch the evidence rack up!
OakvilleKGB (1 year ago)
Too many comments to read, but does The High End video look scripted to anyone else? (a) The seal hasn't and won't influence my buying decisions because I research before purchasing but I feel that many people starting into craft beer are looking to support local and trying to get away from supporting ABI so I understand the general idea of it but feel that it would have been more productive to impose a seal upon ABI instead of the other 5k+ micro breweries. (b) I think they are just trying to fit in and change the landscape of the argument; turning it away from them trying to ruin the craft beer industry to it being BEER vs. OTHER BEVERAGES.
JackFr0st5 (1 year ago)
(a) At the fringe, yes. Regularly, no. If I'm deciding between a couple beers and I'm not sure which I want (and for some reason I'm not just getting both) then sure I'll go with the one labeled as independent. But really I care more about NOT buy AB InBev or similarly owned beers than I am about differentiating my choices between the subsets therein. (b) I honestly have no idea.
David Ayraud (1 year ago)
A) Will it influence my buying decisions? Yes. I support independent craft brewers. Period. If they are purchased by large corporations I generally try to avoid their products, regardless of whether quality remains, etc... AB InBev's practices against other breweries has been so distasteful that I try very hard to avoid their products, even their high quality products. Now, I happen to spend a lot of time researching a brewery before I buy their product in an attempt to make sure it's a locally owned independent brewery, so the seal is a fantastic idea to me because it will save me a lot of effort. However, I know that some independent breweries may not adopt the seal. That won't prevent me from buying their product, but if I walk into a taproom the odds are I'll purchase a pint of one with the seal while I check out my other options. So yes, I'm much more likely to purchase a product with the seal. B) What is AB InBev trying to achieve here? I don't think they were trying to achieve anything. I think the seal scares them. If it is sufficiently adopted by breweries and consumers look for the seal, think about the impact that has on AB InBev's "High End" division? They have spent millions and millions of dollars buying themselves into the craft beer market and have acquired enough craft breweries so that it becomes almost too much work for the average consumer to try to figure out if the beer they are looking at is secretly owned by AB InBev. With the seal, if consumers actively look for it and AB InBev breweries are prohibited from using it, it significantly and immediately diminishes the value of all these AB InBev owned breweries. The new millionaires that own these breweries realize that the friends, co-brewers, consumers and communities that they left for AB InBev will now be able to see that the absence of the seal is itself is a big scarlet letter that lets us all see they are cheating on us.
Welsh Toro (1 year ago)
It's quite interesting. According to the BA site almost 2,000 breweries have adopted the label already so they obviously perceive some benefit. It's not a very well designed label and it wouldn't make any difference to my buying choices but I think there are consumers that would appreciate it. I thought the InBev response was pathetic. They obviously think that logo might impact on consumers or why else would they put out the video? Who do they think watches a video like that anyway? I only looked at it because it's linked to your video. As for the suggestion of losing ground to wine and spirits they should look closer to those industries. I drink good quality beer, wine and spirits, particularly whisky. Most wine people I know are not the slightest bit interested in beer or whisky. Dito, beer people and whisky people. The issue in all three markets (unless like InBev you believe there's only one market - Booze) is quality. Most U.K pubs have a distressing limited range of low end spirit on sale. You might have an entry level Malt whisky but that's it and it's the same for rum and brandy. Cheap blended whisky, crummy brandy and rum along with nondescript gin and vodka. That selection is marginally improved in supermarket shelves. Wine in most bars and pubs is pretty awful too. Compared to wine and spirits most bars, pubs and supermarkets have a reasonable selection of beer available. There's not enough shelf space for everyone and that's why you do your marketing. You are not going to sell many bottles of beer that cost more than £5 in a U.K shop or £10 in a pub. Same for wine over £30 or whisky over £75 a bottle. That's the realm of the specialist consumer and enthusiast. There's no general competition with those industries. The competition is good beer against poor and indifferent beer. Buying up quality brewery or distilleries by giant drinks corporations is part of the beverages world. There are very few whisky distilleries that could expand or even survive with it. I love small independent businesses but I'm not going to beat them up if they want to upscale and get a bigger market. If the founders of those businesses make a pile of cash in the process, good luck to them. A lot of beer enthusiasts get very upset about this. I think the InBev response is wrong and they should concentrate on selling their own products. Sorry for the over lengthy waffle and thanks for starting the debate.
Eric’s Home brewing (1 year ago)
AB InBev is buying up craft brewers to control the market. The only way to combat the slow hostel take over by AB InBev is don't buy there products. The Brewers association needs to change the logo for sure, and yes I would buy beer that is labeled independent way before beer made by AB InBev. Those former independent breweries Sold Out to there Craft for money plane and simple. They make a video about how there product is no different from before. Well the beer may be the same but the people that own it are different now.
Paul Ibberson (1 year ago)
I'd certainly look for the logo!
Jesse Ojava (1 year ago)
I don't care about any seal. I'll buy any beer I like. One of our generic beer (which is now even produced by carlsberg) is one of my favorite to match with the swedish cuisine. It is the Carnegie Porter ofcourse.
The Grist (1 year ago)
I like the sentiment behind the label. However, in application, I agree, it seems a little more hassle than its worth to implement it on a label especially if it doesn't bode with the artwork. I personally received a packet from the BA with some stickers and put them up at our brewery but would definitely think twice about putting them on a label. AB'S response was in poor taste. Moral of the story; Support your local brewery! Cheers!
amen - whatever we think of the label that's still got to be the message
Greg Koch (1 year ago)
Yes, my jaw dropped a bit myself when I saw that video. The duplicitous insincerity literally dripped from the screen. Have you seen this absolutely hilarious vid that was posted in response to ABinBev's? https://www.facebook.com/reaverbeach/videos/1714327015261312/ I couldn't seem to find it on YouTube, but it's worth going to FB to view. I am in favor of the Brewers Association's Indie Craft Beer seal, but I suppose that would come as little surprise. Anything that makes it easy for beer fans to be in the know, the better it is for people. Don't care? Then no worries, you can ignore it. Care like I do and like most people do? Great, the info is clearly at hand. Yes, I agree with some that the the BA's Indie logo could use a little improvement, but with anything like this you can expect a natural progression and refinement. We've already started the process of adding it to our packaging, and people will see that in the marketplace in coming weeks and months. Cheers and thanks for the conversation!
Hey Greg, thanks for commenting! Loved the lemonade dude in that vid you linked to. We're all for the seal and I think what the comments on this video have shown it's that it will work for those who aren't so into beer that they know the provenance of all they drink and they are the most important people to reach with this message. The High End saying it is the BA telling people want to drink is pure misdirection. Like everything in the world, giving people enough information to make a choice has to be the way forward. We have a seal in the UK and it has been left largely unused by brewers, which presents its own issues but hopefully some good will come of the BAs move. I just wish it had looked better to be a badge of pride!
Greg Koch (1 year ago)
My jaw dropped a bit myself when I saw that video. The duplicitous insincerity literally dripped from the screen. Have you seen this absolutely hilarious vid that was posted in response to ABinBev's? https://www.facebook.com/reaverbeach/videos/1714327015261312/ I couldn't seem to find it on YouTube, but it's worth going to FB to view. I am in favor of the Brewers Association's Indie Craft Beer seal, but I suppose that would come as little surprise. Anything that makes it easy for beer fans to be in the know, the better it is for people. Don't care? Then no worries, you can ignore it. Care like I do and like most people do? Great, the info is clearly at hand. Yes, I agree with some that the the BA's Indie logo could use a little improvement, but with anything like this you can expect a natural progression and refinement. We've already started the process of adding it to our packaging, and people will see that in the marketplace in coming weeks and months. Cheers and thanks for the conversation!
Darwin's Beer Reviews (1 year ago)
1. Doesn't matter to me. I buy whatever tastes great to me. 2. The AB video was a bit weird. Seemed like AB had guns pointed to their heads to shoot a response.
haha it did feel a bit like they were under duress - but some were smarmy as hell. You don't seem to review many AB brands though, is that choice or purely because they don't produce stuff that interests you?
Alison Grasso (1 year ago)
First, I wanna say thanks for this great and informative video! This is a really interesting discussion. Second, to answer question (a), the label probably wouldn't do much for my purchasing choices, and I think you make a good point that the logo looks corporate. It looks like something AB inbev would put on THEIR beer to make an uneducated consumer THINK it was craft. Anyone who is a discerning, conscientious, craft beer-lover probably knows when they're buying something that is or is not independently owned/produced, without a logo to say so. And that's why I think (b) AB Inbev is simply trying to promote themselves and retain their less discerning demographic of beer buyers. They probably realize that anyone who is interested in this discussion/debate is already lost to them as a consumer, but they can retain people who are unaware, don't care, or still think that their acquired breweries constitute the original "craft" they began as.
Richard Lindsay (1 year ago)
The logo is appalling but surely if you're into amazing, independent craft you've done your research beforehand? You know which breweries are making incredible beer and you buy those. You don't need a logo to tell you what to buy. That AB video is hilarious. Embarrassing sellouts the lot of them
Yonatan Schkolnik (1 year ago)
Can we talk for second about RATEBEER SELLING OUT?? I was blown away by that move, by the selling of the hard work that all the contributors put in for years. How are we supposed to trust a rating site owned by InBev?? The founders of RateBeer, assured that the personal data will always be protected and that with the new funding they can expand their services for the greater good, NOT WORTH IT TO ME.
well this was an interesting one. No one is sure quite what AB InBev wanted from the deal – they could get the data already – but giving them more now does seem counterproductive. To be fair to the Rate Beer guys, they worked very hard to literally not money and I get why they sold a share...just can't fathom why they sold it to who they did. We have only ever used it as a resource and probably will continue to unless AB InBev meddling becomes obvious.
Julian Riley (1 year ago)
Really like your channel. Love this topic. First time comment-er (smile). Now, I'm actually a wannabe craft brewery. Just starting out, so I've still got the doe-eyed view of wanting to make it and drinking beers with friends at neighborhood joints. Luckily, my neighborhood is Harlem, NYC and the great NYC area is chock-full of fun cool spots to drink. With cool people (bias). 1. I don't think the Indy Beer Badge is a big deal. Or necessary. Sorry. And I'm a member of the BA who I think are FANTASTIC and I get why they are doing this. But as a consumer, the badge designation will not make a difference to me. And as a brewer, we sell our brand based on much more than a seal of approval. As a consumer and as a manufacturer it has to be about the beer. Do I like it? Do you make great stuff? Then, connect with people. That's what selling is all about. Connectivity: both in product and brand voice/habits/characteristics. 2. The ABI "response" was/is overdoing it. Shotgun to kill a fly. Literally. There will be a slow backlash. Not overt, but people will begin to look down on them as bullies. Rather subconsciously I think. To your point in the video, it's all about choice. I don't care if you sellout to a big macro. I don't care if your brand is corny, even if your beer isn't the best. Sobeit. Free markets and all that. But to bully, and intimidate, and try to squash your competition by overt pissy actions is the real enemy. Just sell YOUR beer. Hit your ball long and straight as the analogy goes. The scorched Earth route is a lose-lose, and may be part of the reason spirits (and wines) are gaining momentum. Just my 2 cents. Thanks!!
ddrab14 (1 year ago)
Would be great if you mentioned the UK equivalent which SIBA launched at the same time as well, personally I think it's logo is even weaker so it'll be interesting to see how many take it up. I like the idea of it but agree that branding is so important to brewers that it is difficult to think many of those with quality branding are going to want to put it on there labels. http://www.siba.co.uk/2017/07/10/independent-brewers-say-consumers-deserve-know-behind-craft-beer/
Tim"s Brew"s (1 year ago)
I bye beer I like to drink I don't care who owns it...............CHEERS
ALISTAIR COWAN (1 year ago)
I hope it works! Macro beer is the enemy, and if this works it will save craftbeer and stop brewers from selling out to bigger macro brewers.
fair play chap!
ALISTAIR COWAN (1 year ago)
I still drink it from time to time, quality control, but I support craft brewers on a regular basis.
So you don't drink any of the guys who have sold at all?
Robert Levine (1 year ago)
I like the craft industry mark, more as a indicator of support among craft brewers than it is a mark of great craft beer. I think solidarity among craft brewers is important, as the need for an exit strategy matures for these brewers and they have to look at options other than being bought out by InBev. Or Heineken. Or Duval. Or Constellation. Look at what Victory did and other independent craft brewers are doing with ESOPs.
Indeed, or keeping it a family brewery if you can! There are plenty of those in the UK but they are rarely looked to as inspiration like they should.
Grant Audrins (1 year ago)
As a fan of craft beer, I'm confident in my knowledge to know if the beer I'm drinking is craft or macro owned craft. The label is not a bad idea, but I don't think I'd look for it. Like seeing a heart foundation sticker on an apple. I haven't seen the video from the macro breweries defending themselves and don't know how I would unless I looked for it. Do you have a link for it?
In in the description box!
James McCarthy (1 year ago)
I can't fault the people who sell their brand to ABI and the like to get their payday, but I do know the beer the former local craft breweries sells does change. Blue Point and Goose Island are not as good as they once were. Could be my taste, then again...
James McCarthy (1 year ago)
Indeed. I finally saw the video you discussed and those guys seemed to belittle the seal. It's not a great seal and it has it's problems, but for some people buying from a true local craft brewer is important to them. Maybe they're a little sad they no longer qualify as an indie and are now part of a big conglomerate! :) Cheers!!
+James McCarthy there will be changes for sure - new suppliers etc. Generally I think consistency goes up but perhaps the recipes get safer. We don't judge the sellers too harshly either - but when they come out and criticise those who haven't that is out of line
James McCarthy (1 year ago)
Lagunitas also, it lost its bite before I knew Heineken bought it.
Beer Baron (1 year ago)
Totally crap logo needs to be better but good idea only true Craft brewers should be able to use it so at least you know it is a small independent brewer and not a pretentious craft sellout Don't get me wrong I will still drink both types of beer but I need to know the background of the beer and the overuse of the word Craft by big or sellout brewers
this is a good point. It's not necessarily there to stop people buying big beer, it's just there so they can make an informed choice.
Finlay Cox (1 year ago)
I really don't know what InBev are trying to achieve with the beer vs. wine and sprits arguement. But there is one thing I kind of agree with - the beer speaks for itself. I like to support independent brewers if they have a good product, but companies like AB InBev have the capital to provide a beer option that isn't macro lager at bars throughout the US and Europe - I think in general, this is good. I think it's also evident that a good product can lead to success - Beavertown, Northern Monk, Magic Rock and others have proved very successful, as have brewers being innovative with traditional styles such as Thornbridge and Buxton. These breweries don't require that BA label to be successful, because they have beers that people want to drink. Breweries like Weird Beard too, who still have smaller production numbers and so forth rely on a reputation of quality, not independence to grow. Some of the smallest breweries, Black Bar and Three Blind Mice being local to me, have success in sales because they have a good product. I don't think it's fair to criticise brewers for treating their brewery as a business - if AB InBev want increase their sales of their version of 'craft' beers, I think it's a good sign, as long as they don't monopolize that market, and at this point in time, I'm not sure they could!
sadly they do though. There is a lot of influence and interference in beer distribution that goes on and stops craft beer getting to the market easily. So even if you product could do the talking, it's often lucky to get a chance! In the UK it is the same. Why take a permanent craft line when Goose Island will pay £10,000 just to be on the bar. I get that wine and spirits are a threat to Budweiser, but not to craft beer which is drunk by people who generally love all kinds of flavour and are not at all brand loyal. So they are preaching to the wrong crowd.
RMAN94 (1 year ago)
Go ahead and watch the AB InBev video and answer me this.. Who talks the most shit? A) David Buhler B) Walt Dickinson C) Andy Ingram Walt Dickinson takes it for me. Plus he sounds like Kermit the frog
I AM SO GLAD SOMEONE ELSE MADE THE KERMIT CONNECTION
makiboo (1 year ago)
I felt completely identified since I'm starting a brewing business in Mexico City. There's tons of restaurants that claim to sell craft beer when it's just another brand bought by AB Inbev so a logo like that would help. Also something I hate about most of the people in this business is... How to say it... Always hipster guys selling beer in jeans talking crap about the beer monopoly Instead of focusing on growing the business, learning finance and selling techniques in conjunction with excellent and delicious beer. Just my two cents.
+makiboo ha. We don't really have that issue in the UK - the hipsters in jeans make the youtube videos instead.
Jason Frizell (1 year ago)
Goat horn - alcoholic faith
Chris Green (1 year ago)
Having a logo would help - but it doesn't matter to me. I love craft beer and I do my research, that's part of the fun of the whole thing, so 90% of the time I know what's independent and what's not.
TheTrueCelt (1 year ago)
It totally matters to me! I care to support my local craft brewers! Cheers! Craft brewers need to stick together!
Will Conn (1 year ago)
I'm not a huge fan of the logo, but I can see how it would be helpful in terms of sales to people who are not necessarily craft beer aficionados but want to feel good about supporting small businesses. Personally, I don't care either way about the logo. I care about buying local. Supporting my local economy means I'm supporting the people and infrastructure that affect me the most. There are over 20 breweries in my city and over 300 in my state. There are fantastic beers all over the place and within arms reach. I don't need (or want) to buy from a craft brewer on the other side of the country nor from AB InBev.
Are all 20 breweries independent?
Robert Kwolek (1 year ago)
I think a label is a good idea, though as with anything I'd do my research to make sure it stands for the right things. Regarding InBev, not that I was buying their products anyway, but this makes it even less likely and just reaffirms how important it is for true craft to survive and prosper.
Mark Cooke (1 year ago)
a) no it wouldn't influence my decision, I trust my beer shop to get good craft breweries in b) AB InBev probably think all craft breweries will put the horrendous stamp on, meaning their 'craft' breweries won't have it, and therefore singlehandedly costing them their entire profit and bring their whole business crashing down...
that would nice wouldn't it? Shame that won't happen!
SUPAPORN Haseley (1 year ago)
What a load of old cobblers! How can they look at themselves in the mirror in the morning after being TOLD what to say by "the man" and crap publicaly on their erstwhile brothers in arms? Human turds.
MrMinisquid (1 year ago)
Just my thoughts on this issue: First thanks for bringing it to my attention - I actually had no idea about the bottle label idea or the AB inBev response so that was face palming-ly (new adjective) funny. a) Yes - I like to support local small business owners who are trying to put all their efforts into a product they truly believe in. Whatever is said about companies that are bought out the quality INEVITABLY drops; the overriding companies are interested in profit margins to keep their shareholders happy. If that means brewing beer with fewer hops and less malt to increase profits then they will. The fact is that the number of craft breweries out there is booming and so it is increasingly difficult to tell who has been sold out and which breweries are masquerading as craft too. It's helpful to know where your beer comes from. However there is a caveat - Brewdog. A brewery that claims independence yet has taken investment to the sum of £100million from TSG partners for a large share in their company. Whilst not a 'take-over' it represents somewhat of a half-way house. Is it truly independent? I'd argue not. One thing is clear though it's beers have dropped in quality too. B) what are they trying to achieve? MONEY. MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY. Oh and more MONEY. As previously stated they are profit driven. They want this idea to fail as they're worried it will truly start to identify those brewers that have been bought out. The video was laughable though. A bunch of guys being told what to say by corporate - the fact that two mentioned the spirit industry was not serendipity. They basically want people to stop poking holes in their system of taking over small businesses so they can compete against other drinks. Also FYI the musket imagery was hilarious! Having had some of the beers from the breweries in that video I can say one thing clearly - I agree with their conclusion. Good tasting beer wins out; but it certainly doesn't come from them. Now that I can see how passionate you are about this guys I ask something now of you - I've often called you out on promoting breweries owned by big business (pilsner urquell) on this site against protests to the contrary of it tasting good. I'd argue there now exists a wealth of fab indie beer out there with which to fill the channel so can we have no more advertising for the big guys and focus on the little guys. Can't wait for the De La Senne interview - love their stouterik! Sorry for the essay!
+MrMinisquid hey man. Not sure I agree the quality drops but the recipes are definitely changed to suit new breweries and perhaps tastes. Whether they cut costs or not I don't know but I think can guarantee they will at some point. Agreed on the video, it was a clumsy attempt to change the conversation - using the wrong voices, timing and reasoning. So amazed it was approved. As for the beers we put on the channel we hold the same opinion we always have. We want to tell great stories and most of the time that comes from small independents but we don't exclude the bigger guys either - the first whisky aged stout, the first pilsner, Oktoberfest etc. These are vital stories to tell as a beer channel. If it causes controversy all the better, these conversations need to be had. That said, would be tell the budweiser story? No, because the beer is shit. What we will never do, however, is accept advertising from macrobrewers. When it comes to our finance and business practice we are fiercely independent. Hope that makes sense...
TheFlatulentCow (1 year ago)
This might well get Michael Jackson (RIP) turning in his grave! For me however this just seems like a US based issue with a bunch of bought out brewers towing the ABI narrative. We've as good as, if not better breweries/beers over here. I did note that they put the video out on a platform that you can't thumb down...
To some extent sure, but at least the USA has a powerful body protecting them. CAMRA has done great work but refuses to help keg breweries and SIBA is nowhere near as powerful. So when we have a similar conversation it's going to be much harder to be heard.
unepommeverte17 (1 year ago)
I like the idea of a logo because I like beer, I like craft beer, I like trying new craft beer, but I don't have the time, energy, or desire to do "homework" on what has and hasn't been bought out or what is or isn't a big shitty company trying to look like craft beer. That being said, I do completely understand if no one actually wants to use that logo because it doesn't look super good and, as you mentioned, it'd cost money to change the existing design. I just wish it was easier to tell once I'm already at the store, since every time I go to the local small grocery store they have a couple new beers from breweries I don't recognize. Mostly unrelated story that I want to share with beer people: I live near Sacramento (CA) and there seems to be a crapton of breweries there. Last night I went to a casual pizza place for dinner, but it was closer to the opposite side of the city from where I normally am, and they had like 4-5 taps and a small but decent bottle selection. They had some kind of deal so I was looking at the taps trying to figure out what they had, because I couldn't find any sort of list anywhere (it's not like it was a bar, just a pizza place with some beer.) And of course these are normal taps that only really say the brewery and not which beer it is (although I had a pretty good guess on the Angry Orchard one lol.) So I asked the person at the register, which is also where the taps were, and she had NO IDEA. I pointed at one tap I recognized (Track 7) and asked what it was and she looked at me weird and said "it's Track 7" and I was yelling in my head at that point like yeah no shit it's Track 7 but WHICH ONE. I ended up just picking that one, hoping it was the one beer of theirs I knew (it wasn't. and it wasn't really my type of beer but oh well) but it was kind of disappointing because there was one on the end I didn't recognize the name of at all and I could have found something new but I didn't want to end up with something I could barely stand to drink :/
well that's a shocking bit of service! I'd expect that in the UK where often the punter knows more than the staffer, but in Sacramento that surprises me a lot...
diyhomebrewguy (1 year ago)
Glad to see a new post! It would be interesting to see the symbol on bottles, but as someone who has worked at a label company I know small businesses struggle to afford the first plates made for the label. If a brand new brewery had to re-do all there labels it would near brake them. And of course we all know InBev will find some loop hole to get that branding on some of their "craft beer". It's best just to try and keep track of whats going on. Videos like this are a great way to spread information.
cheers! And yeah InBev would find a way to counter...like Foster's put "handcrafted" on all their cans now.
(b) I don't think corporations are as careful when it comes to media as they used to be. I don't think this video will hurt them or help them in the long run, and I don't think this is going to change anyone's mind either way. I also don't think anyone was made to say the things they said here, I think all of these sellouts relished a chance to rationalize their decision to a large audience (see elysian guy, what's more punk than not being punk argument). But all in all this does seem to be a pointless move. Don't get me wrong, I never thought highly of any of these breweries after they sold out, but at least to a point, without seeing them, I could imagine that they might have had their reasons, however complicated they might've been, but with faces to put to names, that benefit of the doubt was swept away in my mind, leaving me, angry, insulted, and hating them far more than I did before.
Agreed. A switch in morals followed by hypocrisy about it never looks good.
(a) Short answer yes, I'm about as militant as they come in regards to big vs. little beer. That being said, It would not cause me to buy a beer, just because it had the label, but it would be helpful in making sure I know that a beer is not macro owned. There is plenty of shitty craft beer, and there is plenty of beer that doesn't interest me, and I'm not going to buy it just because it's independent. On the flip side, there are plenty of great beers produced by breweries owned by macro, I'm not going to buy those on principle, doesn't matter how good they are. Overall the label is a good thing as a consumer education tool.
I found the video to be ludicrous and offensive. It was the sound of sellouts trying to deal with being hypocrites by desperately grabbing at straws to defend their sale to ABInBev. It was the sound of people who know that they are wrong, and in many cases seem to legitimately feel guilty about the sale (though they would never admit that), fighting against the truth of the situation so hard, because admitting that they care more about money than they do the community that birthed them, would mean they would have to admit that they are now funded by blood money, and shit product. Their fate is no longer their own, and deep down they know that, even if they are scared to admit it. Oh and to the Elysian guy...Punk is dead.
It's also admitting they couldn't make the craft model work and needed the help of a less-than-savoury company to help grow them.
Phil Richards (1 year ago)
I'm not that fussed about any stamp of approval or whatever. If it's not done right then it has the potential to cause other problems. I would think a clear concise list (or spreadsheet) of who owns what would be best, put it online and wham sorted(ish). I'm not too sure about the second question, but yeah it seems like a classic misdirection tactic to me. Also quick heads up for you about King street Bristol news- the Volley now has a rooftop terrace. It's possibly my favourite place to be in the world, when the sun is shining anyhow!
woah! Well I hope to be able to come back to Bristol before the sun goes into hibernation for winter....
Drake Gilliland (1 year ago)
Why is the bottle upside down? So they want good beer dumped?
ras124 (1 year ago)
good call
But with the bigger guys founding brewpubs all over the shop you can't even be sure about the local one any more. Ok that might be a bit alarmist.
Drake Gilliland (1 year ago)
The Craft Beer Channel that's just what we need! And you don't need a logo for everyone to have, seems to defeat the purposing of being independent. Just drink the beer brewed down the street. I'm walking distance from two amazing locally owned breweries, one of which was named one of the best in the world by Esquire or some such thing.
+Drake Gilliland haha we have wondered that. THINK OF THE SEDIMENT BRO. IT'S GONNA BE ALL UP IN YO GLASS FOOL.
Caleb Thom (1 year ago)
1) I like the idea of the label. I do care about buying independent, and I do care about buying local, so what could the problem possibly be with making that a little easier for me? Since it’s not required for anyone, I don’t see why it’s a problem. 2) who is that video even made for? They don’t really try to convince me to not care, they just tell me I don’t care. They don’t provide any arguments against breweries using it, they just tell those breweries to stop talking about being small and fight wine and spirits for... reasons... What on earth is the point of making that?
+Caleb Thom haha thatsbwhat we asked!
Zack Gascoigne (1 year ago)
Will some of you lovely people from Merica' FedEx me over any of the following... Treehouse, Trillium, Russian River, Alchemist, Maine IPA's it would be much appreciated. We can't get it over here in the UK and it stresses my life!!
+Zack Gascoigne dude. Great as those beers are we have Verdant, Cloudwater, Beavertown eta who make beer just as good. Then Lervig, Stigbergets, omnipollo and amager from scandi who do the same with no trading needed! Either drink them...or trade them for similar in the U.S.!
Hardyards brewers 1 (1 year ago)
I think a "label" would be good, that way you can look on the shelf and straight away know it's from an independent or stand alone brewery. Even here in NZ there are some beers that look like craft beers but are more macro (owned by yellow fizzy type $$$ making companies) and the uneducated think they are craft...... and as for wine and spirts being the ENEMY!! I don't think they are, I think it's a case of a big company trying to sway a flock of sheep... just don't be a sheep and you will be fine 😎😎
+Hardyards brewers 1 yeah it does feel like they are distracting from the issue. Most beer lovers love good wine and spirits and support those industries too. It's the factories of bland product that create the issue and perpetuate it.
+Hardyards brewers 1 We are clesrly on the same beer. I mean page.
Race Frazier (1 year ago)
I agree Inbev is a business always looking to cut losses and maximize profits. Buying breweries is their slice of The Craft Beer pie. Craft beer is raising the bar in quality and becoming more localized. Inbev wants to distribute in mass more beer out the better. They don't care if it's craft or not
+Race Frazier agrees. They have to create profit because the rest of the business is bloated. It's not a good way to create good product.
SuicidalCelery (1 year ago)
Yea love the videos
Alex the Brewmage (1 year ago)
I'm a beer sales manager in the US and I have a massive problem with AB jamming their product wherever they go.
Alex the Brewmage (1 year ago)
It's hard to counteract over here because of "Legacy" drinkers. Especially the older generations tend to keep drinking the same beer like BL or Bud, but then on the other side there is virtually no loyalty in craft beer which makes it so exciting to work with in sales. Luckily AB is not as established outside the US as it is over here.
+Alex the Foodmage quite right. Similar happens here in the uk
shane finn (1 year ago)
a logo for legitimate independent breweries is a great idea cuts out the homework for consumers. pity the logo sucks. The AB/inbev video is 4 minutes of cringe. The last line was a beauty! check out the good beer hunting podcast /interview with Wicked Weed founder for more of the same inbev sponsored cringe.
+shane finn I thought the GBH interview was interesting. Clearly Luke believes very different things to Walt and would never have sold if it was solely his company. The position he's found himself in is tricky.
Kevin O'Donnell (1 year ago)
I like it for more casual/newer craft beer fans than myself. I know who's independent and who isn't but I wouldn't have a couple of years ago when I first took an interest.
ricoranger2 (1 year ago)
a) No, the logo would not influence my decision when buying a beer. Just about the only thing I agreed with in the ABinbev propaganda video was when the man said "to be truly Indy don't put a logo on your bottle". The logo isn't a sign of quality just, it just shows that they are part of this kind of Union of brewers. (Plenty of crap tasting craft beers and a few quite nice macro beers). b) that film was so cringy it was unreal! "Wine and spirits are the real enemy"?! WTF! Two of the Brewers speeches were so similar it was obvious they had been briefed by the PR team and told "slightly change the words". I totally understand small breweries need investment to grow but doing it this way is sleeping with the enemy that I'm sure they ALL would have slagged off at some point. I bet one of the macros offered Brewdog a fortune to sell but at least this investment company has allowed them to retain control. Blimey I never comment on videos?! And breathe...
ricoranger2 (1 year ago)
The Craft Beer Channel agreed. It helps that a lot of the brilliant Belgian breweries are run by monks and money means nothing to them. Lol As Jonny and Brad come from a creative background I bet that craft beer logo makes their skin crawl?
+ricoranger2 haha well thanks for commenting on our vid! investment is vital but we strongly believe there are better ways to find it than to join the people who help destroy good beer in the first place - ask any Belgian what they think of macro brewers. They have been through what the USA is going through now and believe me, it hurt their industry.
Dominic Benson (1 year ago)
Yeah the Inbev video is pretty horrendous. Personally I do try to buy independently as much as possible. Points around jobs and wider industry growth made in that video are all good ones, but often very difficult to demonstrate the major beneficiaries of that growth and it is often not the folk employed by the big companies. I'm not a fan of that logo, however assurance that the beer you buy is independent is surely a good thing, albeit might need a different way of doing it. Different standard but I quite like the Belgian Family Brewers logo on bottles of things like Chimay.
+Dominic Benson you mean the trappist logo or the family brewers one? about good but technically ab inbev can show up at the Belgian family brewers events. Crazy I know.
DK (1 year ago)
I think having a logo like the independent craft is a good idea but it could be done better then that. None of AB marketing tactics work on me. I have no interest in their products or anyone who supports them.
+DK1NG it's valid to ask if any debates around the logo would have happened if it looked awesome...
Mike Rogers (1 year ago)
I'm confused as to who the seal on the bottles is really for. Craft beer enthusiasts already know who is independent and who isn't. People who dip their toes into craft beer, but are fine drinking macro beer too, don't care who is independent. That just leaves the small amount of 'new' craft beer nerds who eventually just end up doing the research on their own. The seal is an awful idea, made worse by the fact that it looks like a rough draft of a first idea someone's high school student came up with. Regarding the second question, my general thoughts on sell-out breweries vs. true craft breweries are difficult. I often don't wade into this argument because I am very real with myself regarding buyouts. If and when I start a brewery and it turns out to be a booming success and AB InBev come at me with a large sum of money, I am unlikely to turn it down. The chance to be financially well off for the rest of my life, but more importantly, be able to pay some of that stability forward towards employees of my hypothetical brewery is too much to pass up. I think the debate needs to come down to one question: Would you take or turn down a buyout offer if you owned a successful brewery? I think a large, overwhelming majority would.
Mike Rogers (1 year ago)
I'm glad that you recognize that it's a grey area. So many people treat this discussion like politics; you have to choose a side. I work for a brewery that's less than a year old in Michigan and from talking to numerous people in the industry, the people who care most about what brewery owns what are the customers. With in the industry, people don't really care that much. In fact, we just had a major issue with Shorts Brewing in Michigan selling 20% to Lagunitas (read: Heineken) and people are FLIPPING out. However, Founders is partially owned by a Spanish macro and people don't say a single word about it at all. I find people to be a bit too contradictory when it comes to i this issue; caring regarding one brewery, but not caring when it comes to another. Why is it just AB InBev? What about private equity firms who have one objective: Making money. Those could be dangerous entities as well, admittedly, not as dangerous as AB InBev. But, yes, definitely a grey issue, and you presented it in a good manner, which is why I thoroughly enjoy this channel. (*cough* start a patreon or something so i can support you more than just from views and a subscription *cough*).
+Mike Rogers haha well that's the big question! Is it about the beer or the people!? Both so valid. Our view is ultimately the independent beer will benefit the people so sales are bad. But we still drink pu and others. It's not black and white. It makes bad tv but every moral issue is grey. As for the seal I think there is a bigger number of people who don't know ab from indie but they learn. So the seal only helps to start with - you're right.
Jonathan Williams (1 year ago)
There is so much great beer out there, I choose to support the independent brewers. I don't need a label, but I have no issue with it. My regular beers I know are independent. When I want to try a new beer...I Google the brewery to find out the owner, then I go to BeerAdvocate to see if it's any good. Then I choose to buy or not. Case in point...Ballast Point used to be my favorite brewery...they sold out (not to AB at least) so I prefer to support the smaller independent brewers now instead...but I will still buy their beer if it is the best available at the time. Sculpin Grapefruit is still Sculpin Grapefruit after-all :) As far as what is AB InBev trying to accomplish...they're in a tough spot. They buy these craft breweries because of their perceived value, knowing that the second they do that value will drop when many of their patrons will abandon them for their treachery. This is just smoke trying to get them back. It won't work. Screw AB InBev and everyone they buy.
+Jonathan Williams this.
+Jonathan Williams Thing is it helps their worth so they won't mind! We try not to judge the people selling but for some to come out and criticise those who didn't was pretty shocking to me.
Jonathan Williams (1 year ago)
Right...can't blame anyone for selling. It is a business after-all. But call it what it is. To say that they're all in it together and to make some sort of common enemy boogeyman out of wine and spirits is completely disingenuous. They are not in anything together. AB InBev wants to control the market and take shelf space and means of production (hops) away from any competition.
+Jonathan Williams Thing is it helps their worth so they won't mind! We try not to judge the people selling but for some to come out and criticise those who didn't was pretty shocking to me.
Marius Wolf (1 year ago)
Honestly, I think they have a point. Basically all this logo says is "This isn't brewed by AB InBev". So what? A good beer made by a brewery owned by InBev is still a good beer, right? If supporting small businesses is a major priority for you you can still just look at the label and check if InBev is involved. If they allow breweries easier and cheaper access to raw material, marketing infrastructure and increased output while maintaining quality I call this a win. If quality decreases to an unsatisfactory level I'll notice and stop buying. That being said the seal might subconciously influence me. Which would be a shame because that might mean I miss out on a nice drink I would have enjoyed.
Marius Wolf (1 year ago)
Thanks I'll check it out. Seems like making this the topic for a video wouldn't be the worst idea. Just sayin' ;)
+John Zoidberg that's a vid in its self! Best bet is google "pay to play inbev." There are some interesting stories there.
Marius Wolf (1 year ago)
The unity against wine and spirits thing was a load of BS, no doubt about that. It's always hard for small businesses to compete with big players and giving your competitors a reasonably hard time is common practice for all kinds of businesses. I'm not familiar with what exactly InBev did so I can't really comment on how boycott-worthy I think they are. I'd like to read up on that though so if you happen to have a source or two on hand I'd appreciate that.
+John Zoidberg I was trying to avoid the ethics of sell outs a bit but sadly it's not as clear cut as good beer is good beer. The macro brewers often use shady means of making it hard for small brewers to make it to market so them calling for unity against wine is pretty hypocritical. But I take the point - if you are just looking for quality the seal could def be misleading.
Jack Henderson (1 year ago)
Tbh no i wouldn't actively only drink beer with this stamp bc, inevitably there will be some great beer which doesn't "earn" this label- because if the beer is good why does a label matter. However on the other hand I think it is a positive step to ensure that the consumer is still able to recognise and support small buisness, but I don't think this is the best way to do it.
Jack Henderson (1 year ago)
The Craft Beer Channel tbh I'm not sure.. maybe.. I guess when I'm going to the shop and buying some beer I'm not looking to see how small or how big the company is- I more think about how much I'm going to enjoy the beer or the style. But yeah I guess I would if I knew I was supporting independent craft
+Jack Henderson yeah im don't really expect people to only drink beer with the seal on as that will be VERY tough but would you ever choose it over a beer you weren't sure of the provenance of?
Drew Mariano (1 year ago)
I'm just happy you guys are back! I love loooooove the humor in this video I literally LOL'd. So inspiring, thanks guys for the great time, great question to think about!!!!!
Drew Mariano (1 year ago)
The Craft Beer Channel absolutely! No worries, waiting patiently for all the goods to come!!! Oh man I can only imagine but y'all killing it as always! Cheers!!!
haha, thanks! Hopefully back to stay for a while! Things have been nuts recently.
jct (1 year ago)
Rule 101 of warfare:1'st divide your enemy and then only will you be able to win the war.
+jct I get you. Devalues all premium beer if they right among themselves.
jct (1 year ago)
Because some will will go for the money carrot and others will stay loyal to the craft.
So why are they calling for unity?!
MagnusBruce (1 year ago)
It doesn't matter to me especially. If a beer is good then it's good. Doesn't matter if it's made by a brewery run by one guy and his dog, or a massive macro brewery. I'd *prefer* to support small businesses, but when drinking beer my main concern is primarily whether I'm enjoying what I'm drinking. It would be nice to know that a beer I'm drinking is by an independent brewery, but I don't particularly need a label to tell me this. I can, after all, google the names of breweries I'm not familiar with. I guess it's a similar thing with CAMRA labels on bottles. I don't think it is on my favourite beers (namely Old Tom, Old Peculier and Sneck Lifter) but that doesn't mean these beers aren't good (or great, in my opinion). Maybe the CAMRA label is on the bottle. I don't know. The point is that we have a system in place and I completely ignore it already. So adding a system for craft beer wouldn't affect my choices.
MagnusBruce (1 year ago)
Even then, I'm not overly bothered. A good beer is a good beer, regardless of who made it. Being independent craft does not preclude being bad, and being macro does not preclude being good.
Sometimes it is tricky to know though, especially with Belgian breweries which famously are confusing about their ownership!
Joshua Elliff (1 year ago)
Interesting interview with Luke Dickinson (Wicked Weed) on GBH this week (if you can get past the pretentiousness). I'm not gonna judge someone, especially where money is involved, but they do seem like a brewery that always wanted to build and sell. Which is fair enough in a capitalist economy, I guess.
40/11 brew (1 year ago)
If I love a certain beer I'll buy it logo or not .....
SLM3573 (1 year ago)
a - to some degree yes, as James Watt put in his blog reply to the takeovers that whilst most of these craft brewers are "promised" nothing will change these conglomerates operate on huge volumes at low cost and eventually it will come that these smaller brewers who have been snapped up will be forced to compromise on location/ingredients/process. I have also heard anecdotally that some of the head brewers of these breweries who were bought out have moved on after being forced into exactly this, I cant remember which ones. b - I dont really know, deflection most like, to me craft brewing has always been about never compromising on ingredients/process to ensure the beer produced is the highest quality. There is also the community aspect of local small brewers. Both of these are lost once the big boys take over
Isaac F. (1 year ago)
The seal will only work if ever craft brewery uses it. If they don't then someone actually looking for it might think the beer they picked up is AB Inbev or Heineken or something and not real craft/microbrew.
Indeed that is our biggest concern. Though many breweries have said they don't need it because no one would ever think they weren't a local business. However, with the lagunitas brewpubs and such that might not be the case forever.
SkepticTank (1 year ago)
Coming from the perspective of someone who brews beer and currently works in a bureaucratic environment, this label seems like a nightmare for the craft beer brewer themselves. Over regulated industry on the craft brewery level takes away many aspects that make it feel "small" and local. These labels in my opinion seem damaging to the craft beer industry. Also, this line of work is already regulated enough. We don't need another step for the craft brewer having to take just to make beer.
To be fair it's hopefully not going to affect their ability to make beer. If they are a member of the BA they can use it because they have hit the requirements. But I take your point - and it could be extended to the drinker too. What's the difference between craft, artisan, independent etc...
bigstupidgrin (1 year ago)
a) It might. If I have time I usually look up new-to-me breweries on my phone before or after buying something new. This would speed up the process, although it's going to cloud the situation if some/most people don't adopt it. b) It's really tone-deaf of them, that's for sure. I thought the idea was to be stealthy; buy up craft brewers and we accidentally buy what's now AB beer (or don't care because it's our favorite). I don't think I've ever wanted a beer; then changed my mind to wine or spirits. Do many people think like that?
I think it happens to some extent, but different drinks are for different occasions even if beer is invading the dinner table a bit.
atomkinder67 (1 year ago)
The InBev video is pretty cringeworthy. Much less that the former small-timers have something to say, but trying to create a market division between wine/spirits and beer? That's ridiculous. I'm going to choose which one I want to drink based on the one I want to drink at the moment, not over some market share garbage. What worries me as well is fighting a label of independence. If InBev wasn't trying to influence distribution directly I wouldn't care as much, but that they have been proven to be doing so makes me far more wary of the motivations behind resisting a label explicitly excluding their properties. It is an attempt to argue against simple labeling such that the consumer is now informed without having to dig deeper into ownership concerns. No one who doesn't care will notice the label or pay it any heed, and people who do are likely to do their research anyway and see this as an attempt to obfuscate market knowledge on purpose, ESPECIALLY if they see that video. Poor marketing. And don't tell me what's "punk," that's just pure asshattery.
Indeed - if AB InBev truly believed quality and unity was king they wouldn't have released a video like that. Or the Superbowl advert. They dislike it because it informs the consumer of something they can't control...
wes008 (1 year ago)
1. I don't think the logo is necessary, but I don't think it's an inherently bad idea either. If you want to take part in it, you can, and you can give customers that assurance that you are truly independent (the trick is getting the word out to consumers about what the emblem signifies). I'm a quality-first person. However, if I'm looking at two similar beers on the shelf, and I like them both, I go for the craft option, even if it's a little more expensive. The art, trade, and craft of brewing is important to me, and I want to support those dedicated to the craft. 2. Even though I don't think every independent brewery has to jump onboard with the Brewer's Associations logo, and I am willing to buy some macros if they're high-quality, that video is atrocious. From AB Inbvev mocking beer "snobs," to getting their craft buyouts together to denounce a logo signifying the idea of being independent, they have made it clear that they are a corporation that cares about sales and image more than drinks. And is the idea that wine and spirits are crushing beer true? I think more and more people are drinking wine, but that's just because more and more people are drinking. Craft beer is absolutely manic right now. AB Inbev may be threatened by wine and spirits, because for those who just want to get smashed, wine and spirits may be a better option than light beer, but I think craft breweries are on an all-time high.
It did strike me as odd that these high-quality, exciting brewers were worried about competition for sectors that benefit them FAR more than the people they have just partnered with. Seems like a disconnect. Wine and spirits won't hurt such high end beers.
Christopher Booth (1 year ago)
The AB/InBev video makes me want to vomit. It shows that macro beer is pulling out all the stops to make sure craft brewing gets squashed. Obviously, InBev was just holding a mic to these guys' faces and telling them what to say. If anything they sounded almost worried about what the BA is suggesting.
There does seem to be a bit of fear to it, even though the seal probably won't be taken on. But it does focus the conversation back on ownership which is the last thing they want.
Zoltán Zsíros (1 year ago)
I hate these "we are the real ones" seals and marketing things. Here in Hungary even craft breweries are in opposite groups saying "we are the real craft brewers". And we are not a big market. Brew quality beer and let the consumer decide which is good for him/her.
Zoltán Zsíros (1 year ago)
Nope. In the first years of the "revolution" there was some unity, but now the small independent "craft" breweries are fighting for the same market. Common people drink common beer, hard to change habits/preferences. And the prices of "craft beers" are high so definitively a limited market in this country. Altough some big breweries started to being open minded and there are some new flavours from the big ones and "craft beers" popped up in supermarkets too so there is some changes in consumer habits. New breweries are opened by investors with big expectations while other small breweries are limited to their funds. Everybody tries to be especial while there is no standard quality and above that there is no respect to each other.
So there isn't much unity within the independent brewing scene?
nvzn (1 year ago)
fuck ab inbev
succinct, accurate.
Onemanandabeer (1 year ago)
a) Not one bit, but then i generally know what i am buying and where it comes from, I understand the reasons for it and in some ways see it as a good thing, but have to agree, it is ugly, imagine that slapped on the back of a Fieldwork Brewing can! b) I really don't know what to say or think about that video... Watching it reminded me back to a few videos you released earlier this year, Russian River and Bear Republic... I am pretty sure they do not feel threatened by the Wine Industry, they brew their beers 'deep in Wine Country' and from what i remember work quite closely together in supplying ingredients and barrels! As for Spirits, everyone is aware of the rise in 'craft' Gin recently, but most of the 'craft' brewers we love, are part of that scene anyway, and the more Gin and Beer i can get in my local, the better!
well luckily there's now beer nearly or equally as good everywhere!
Onemanandabeer (1 year ago)
It does look dated, but everyone knows it. I'll have to take your word that it's stellar, unluckily for me, i'm still yet to try it! :(
Indeed - those guys BENEFITTED from the wine lovers and industry. The dude from Bear Republic said they were accepted quicker because people's palates were so good, and some of their best customers were the vineyards! I shudder to think of that logo on some of the beautiful beers produced. That said, Pliny bottles are ugly as sin already. Lucky the liquid is stellar.
(a) - It would influence my buying decisions, but I do agree that the logo is ugly as hell and could be better. I think it'll be more beneficial for those making their first forays into the craft beer world and might reduce the number of people tricked by faux-craft in the beginning. (b) - By trying to make the BA seem childish and petty, they're attempting to stop the conversation. To my eyes though, they just seem sore that the BA have started taking steps against them. Trying to switch the debate from craft vs big beer to beer vs everything else just looks sad. It shows how little grasp they have on the type of people craft beer drinkers are.
Indeed. So many of the people I know who are into craft beer also love wine, gin, whisky etc. so I'm bloody delighted they are taking a chunk out of macrolager! Changing the conversation is a nice idea, but a swing and a miss as far as this was concerned!
Brett Vetter (1 year ago)
I already know which breweries are independent craft breweries. I think the label is a stupid idea. If a person is conscientious enough to look for a label indicating true craft they probably already know. Otherwise, I would say they don't care. The majority of people are going to fall into the "I don't care category" They just want good beer. Also, AB's response is stupid. They are obviously against the Idea of craft beer in general. They made a Superbowl ad mocking craft beer drinkers for appreciating the aroma and taste of their beer. The idea that they are in some kind of war against wine and spirits is laughable. They want to crush craft beer and dominate the market like they did before 1993ish.
Brett Vetter (1 year ago)
I'm not sure if I'm an expert, but I'm certainly a beer nerd. I don't think the label is attractive. I think they need to go back to the drawing board. Maybe talk to Tree House, The Alchemist, Flying Dog etc... and get some ideas for a more attractive label. Darwin mentioned in his video that the upside down bottle may hint at a drain pour.... Not sure about that, but the label is kind of ugly. If it helps the average joe find and identify real craft beer then I'm all for it.
Indeed they do, but I think they are realising they can't grow the sector AND shrink craft beer so they are between a rock and a hard place. As for whether the seal will work, I think you speak as a beer expert! Some comments on here from people saying it would really help...
CagedPaps (1 year ago)
1) No I wouldn't care if a can or bottle is stamped with this. I certainly wouldn't drink a beer I don't like because it has this stamp and not drink one I do like because I'm unable to verify if the brewery is backed by 'big beer'. Ultimately I want to drink beer I enjoy though I understand some are very passionate about the anti big beer and obviously some of the actions they've taken have been a bit crap. I don't actually hate the idea though, a stamp on the back of a can or bottle that means something I think is potentially useful. Though I believe the downside is the answer to 2. 2) Obviously they don't want something printed on beers that could drive sales that they aren't allowed to use. But like they're also claiming, it's pretty meaningless. It certainly isn't an indication of good beer, so I think they're trying to play on that and appeal to people like me who are more concerned with the quality and enjoying the beer. I was a bit disappointed to hear Wicked Weed's comments and then later backed up by others. Suggesting it's the spirits and wine industry holding craft beer back the most is embarrassing. It's missing the point entirely and actually made me more in favour of point 1. Who are you more likely to turn to good beer? A beer drinker who drinks bland light lagers or someone who prefers spirits and wine?
This is true - the best way to stop the sector shrinking is to focus on quality and the demand for it. Which their failure to do led to the craft beer movement and perhaps also rise of wine and spirits.
Evs Bristol Brewing (1 year ago)
Facepalmed myself into next week watching that AB vid mate Christ
hahaha, glad you guys are reacting the same way as me! I was speechless!
Andy Finlay (1 year ago)
The seal wouldn't necessarily affect my buying choice - especially if it was a beer I really loved but didn't have the seal. Having said that I'm totally for this as a concept. We as consumers are often kept in the dark about the origin, ingredients, manufacturing and ownership of products and more knowledge can only be a good thing. Look at the red tractor, lion mark, rainforest alliance etc Not everyone who enjoys a craft beer is a beer geek and knows the difference between a BrewDog, a Red Squirrel or a Iguantitas - the majority just want to know what they're are buying. So if they want to make sure they aren't buying a Budweiser with a 'craft' label they can do so! From AB InBev point of view this is purely a brand protection activity - they are always going to want to minimise the gap between macro and craft beer to protect their profits. I completely agree with you though that the bought out craft brewers probably need to look at themselves in the mirror! But if someone offers you $50m for your brand and still allow you brew - put yourself in that situation?!
Andy Finlay (1 year ago)
The Craft Beer Channel totally agree. These sort of things don't succeed unless there is a mandatory requirement to display. As with other commenters, would be really interested to see what the code of conduct is for the logo. Again totally agree regarding label design. Maybe they should speak to some of the breweries they are looking to represent and speak to their art departments!
We would always try not to judge the guys who sold. We get it, and we understand people have different ethical and business beliefs. But what we don't like is hypocrisy and that's what was so breathtaking about the High End video. Such a lack of understanding. We're totally pro this seal for exactly the reasons you state. But it's a bit ugly and unfortunately won't be as effective as we want it to be because not everyone will adopt it.
Bone (1 year ago)
(a) yes, i would be interested in buying a beer with that type of indication
what about (b)!
adammajor123 (1 year ago)
Honestly, not likely to effect my buying preferences - Craft beer needs to beat other beer on taste primarily. The ethical & community side of it is great too but secondary. The variety of beers available mean you constantly can be trying new ones so you don't have to pick up a pack of In Bev products unless you really like them - there will always be an alternative 'craft option' & trying it to see if it's better than what you already know is part of the fun. The In Bev response is odd - maybe they should have done a video 'how to make big beer & still be craft' explaining how these brewery founders are staying true to their roots.
Nice idea for a video there. Don't tell them. Flavour is king it is true, but some people buy local for ethical reasons too.
Thomas Hoogendam (1 year ago)
I think it's a pity that when people talk about beer these days, it's more about the politics than the beverage. A while ago one of the other channels I watch, the tasters was going on and on and on about a certain brewery, while the channel was supposed to be beer reviews. More tasting and talking about beers, not the highlevel managers behind those beer. Having a nosing and tasting tonight, with 5 beers, plus the Duvel Barrel Aged as a starter. There is no way beerpolitics is going to be involved in all of that. I love the channel guys, I really do, but I miss the older videos like Sofa Talk or cooking with beer. Where the nose and flavour of the beer was more important than long talks about how it's made and where. That's interesting, sure. But not nearly as good as the product itself.
haha, your selfless support is much appreciated!
Thomas Hoogendam (1 year ago)
I'm very much willing to help you guys with the drinking and stuff. ;) You know, to help you at and all. Totally because I support The Craft Beer Channel. Not because of the beer itself or anything. Absolutely not.
hey man, us too! We're struggling to find time to make documentary style stuff at the moment but normal service will be resumed soon. Promise this stuff is only for the big, bizarre news.
Kris Iglehart (1 year ago)
It would NOT sway me from buying good craft beer at all. You're buying that particular brand for the product inside the can or bottle not because of a label. And SCREW Ab InBev, have not for three years and will not buy any product of theirs or affiliated with them. I have even refused to buy and homebrew material from two national homebrew suppliy companies that sold out to Ab InBev.
atomkinder67 (1 year ago)
I don't think it's bizarre at all. It's corporate control methodology, they want to control the market at every level, and by buying the homebrew distributors they then control more of the access to ingredient supply chains. It's insidious to the little guy, but makes perfect sense from a top-down sort of view. They're buying hop yards too to control more supply and give their brewers a perceived edge in the market by touting exclusivity.
Kris Iglehart (1 year ago)
The Craft Beer Channel yes, the video would not and will not stop me from buying craft beer. In fact it will deepen my dislike for Ab InBev, and I live in St.Louis not far from their home brewery. The new logo on the beer container doesn't matter to me, good craft beer is just that, good craft beer. I make sure I buy beer that big beers do not profit ftom, so that logo will help me do so.
The fact they bought home brew stores is so weird. Another bizarre move. By "it" you mean the video? The label is supposed to help you buy good beer!
Jeremiah T (1 year ago)
I wouldn't think of AB Inbev as the enemy if I thought they were acquiring the craft market because they wanted to help the industry flourish. However, not all that long ago, they were erecting freeway billboards and showing televised commercials attacking craft beer. This can only mean their acquisition of independent breweries is a tactic. I like the idea of a branded label in theory but I could also see it leading to complications for both brewers and consumers. If it was adapted I would prefer the bottle cap be branded as that seems less intrusive. This would not work for canned beers, however.
haha, every solution has an issue! As for AB InBevs' motives in their buyouts, it might not be to destroy craft (it helps the beer category as a whole) but it is certainly to control it and maintain market share.
Jaime Luna (1 year ago)
It's fucking stupid, do your homework. I don't need a label to tell me this. For instance, in this video I just found out that Elysian is now In Bev, no more space dust for me or my friends. Not hard to do.
BurningBeard (1 year ago)
Jaime Luna ...f.y.i.....before Elysian sold their soul Spacedust was 7.7 abv...after the shitshow bought them it's now 8 or 8.2 abv and with a different hop profile....it's fine you'll stop buying that companies beer but your taste buds betrayed you....fuck InBev
Robert Aubrey (1 year ago)
At my local supermarket in the 22 oz. section alone probably 60% or more of the 40-50 options are buyouts but I don't know how many people know it. Like you, they may have no idea that Elysian was bought out some time ago, or 10 barrel or saint archer or ballast point etc. etc. I like the label idea because it used to be easy to know. Fewer breweries and fewer buyouts. But now both breweries and buyouts are increasing. I always prefer to choose craft.
Jaime Luna (1 year ago)
Tyler Gervais It's going to happen, you will probably drink and like something in Bev owns. I'm not going to sit in the beer store and look up every brand, but I do ask myself, 'does somebody own them?' a quick look up, get my answer, move on.
Tyler Gervais (1 year ago)
If you literally just found out that Elysian was bought out, then you have no right to tell other people to do their homework, because if you had done your own homework, you would have known Elysian got bought out over two and a half years ago when it actually happened.
Jaime Luna (1 year ago)
True, but its not hard, we all have super computers in our pockets!
Concreta (1 year ago)
Glad you're back! The label is a fantastic idea. That video is downright offensive. AB InBev are pretty desperate.
Certainly how it came across to me! Feels good to be back though.
Ben Langford (1 year ago)
B) I would maybe have guessed they were devaluing their brands by making the owners look foolish, however haven't they grown every brand they've bought so far? Bad attempt at changing the subject to wine and spirits, but they voiced some of the same concerns other people had, so maybe just trying to stay part of the conversation and in peoples minds? Staying silent when being targeted kinda looks guilty
very true, they lashing out also looks guilty! They have indeed grown all the brands they have bought but the goodwill on their balance sheets (ie perceived value) may have decreased somewhat perhaps?
andrew clement (1 year ago)
A) yes it would affect the beers I purchase. B) AB InBev is pondering what is always pondering, how to take over the beer world.
so it's monologuing! Like in the Incredibles!
Daan Smekens (1 year ago)
It depends what this logo will represent in the future. Do you make sure that it stands for quality or do you make it purely about the fight between the big boys and the small breweries? I can only speak from experience in Belgium, where the big multinationals are for many years trying to buy up breweries. But I think they are by nature more careful what they do, because the whole country can turn against them. Such a logo wouldn't influence me, because I'm already curious to new types of beer and in the end I know which beer I like in which situation.
There's no suggestion it will only be put on quality beer - just beer that matches the BA's definition of a craft brewer. Many are amazing, some are not. So if it became a "seal of quality" in people's eyes that might be a problem.
pan sk (1 year ago)
Hello from Greece. I'm a homebrewer and a master student in beer science. For the last one year I got into the beer world deeper than all the years before. I know how hard is to have a microbrewery, to produce something quit special and people love it. I believe that the seal would benefit whoever puts it in their products, but as long as people recognise the reason why it's been there. And for the second question, I can't understand what AB is trying to achieve with this video responce. As you said, they clearly trying to chenage to conversation, but I just can't get it.
this is true - many people don't understand the two sided nature of beer so the seal might be seen as a marketing gimmick or just confuse people.
Lucas Barefski (1 year ago)
If it's good it's good, If it's bad it's bad simple as that. I'd rather buy good beer with no seal than bad "true craft".
Indeed - that point was made in the AB InBev video, but I don't think the seal is about saying "only drink this regardless of quality". Whether it amounts to that indirectly, though, is another question! The video also said the BA was deceiving drinkers by doing that, but they/small brewers aren't the ones dressing their beer up as something it's not!
Adam G. Manning (1 year ago)
I'm going to play Devil's Advocate for a second. As much as I don't like phoney "craft" brands (not even breweries that have been bought out, just brands) masquerading as craft breweries, ultimately I am more interested in quality and availability. If a big Beer Corp buys out a little guy, and assuming I don't detect a drop in quality and consistency, I'll continue to buy that product if I enjoy it. On the point of this Seal; I would be interested but I also wouldn't limit my buying to simply those Breweries. I've had far too many beers by independents that, frankly, haven't been worth the bottle or keg they have been filled into. Indie doesn't always mean better, Big doesn't always mean worse - it all comes down to the liquid.
jazzman (1 month ago)
For me buying decisions always are political. If you want it or not, your decision what to spend money on makes a difference somewhere. Wether if it's about vegetables, clothes or beer, the question who is profiting, which business model it's based on and how/where it's produced is important.
ras124 (1 year ago)
I don't want to give my hard earned money to ab inbev. theyre going to continue luring craft brewers with $
Sid (1 year ago)
For me at least, I think buying independent brews is about nourishing an independent, grass-roots brewing culture, and that character which makes brewing a craft. FYI, I'd really love this label. Although I agree it could have been done more tastefully.
Nathan Carrille (1 year ago)
Adam G. Manning agree 100% percent
100% this. Some are just interested in great beer, which is great, but for some people buy craft beer is a political statement against big beer and unfair practices. This seal needs (and I think is) designed for the latter people. With a few exceptions (basically PU, Lagunitas, Bourbon County coz we love the liquid too much) we don't drink macro beer through our own beliefs, but we think those who do have every right to - and have the advantage of more great beer
Eirik Uthus (1 year ago)
a) No. b) More money by hurting the competition. The American Civil Beer War, will it influence the European market though?
Eirik Uthus (1 year ago)
Yeah, this video didn't really appeal to the masses.
I think the video missed the mark so won't hurt anyone, which scares me as AB InBev never miss the mark so I feel like I a missing the real play!
Jørgen Stensrud (1 year ago)
I'm a label designer for several craft breweries in Norway. Adding a extra design element aka the seal to labels and cans can absolutely cause some serious headaches for both the breweries and designers. Finding the space to put this seal will be damn next to impossible for a lot of breweries. I'ts already a pretty crowded party if you look closely at the labels today. In some cases it would probably require a total rearrangement of the entire label. Not to mention all the backlog work, ordering new labels and so on. I understand the idea behind it, but do we need it? I would guess that the "hard core" craft beer community out there already know what is megabrewery and what is not. They don't need the seal to shy away from AB InBev. I suspect the casual craft beer drinker don't give a f**k to be honest. Beer taste good....fine. Beer taste bad.....I'll try something else. Fair Trade and other seals that tackle basic human rights is a good thing. A seal to show that we are a small independent brewery not so much. Use other tools to tell the consumer who you are and what you stand for. To answer the questions: A) No, I already know what breweries I don't want to support. B) Easy....feed the greed. Deception, smoke and mirrors as usual.
Enzo Ma (1 year ago)
Don't see why we need it, we (the consumers) have been doing without it all along, there's nothing needs to be fixed here. Looking up on the brewery is part of the fun. If they really want to do it, then may be just a simple line or abbreviation on the label would do, may be ICB (Independent craft brewery), just like how wine says DOP or DOCG etc.
problem with the DOPs is they are VERY hard to get approved. I do agree that maybe the BA don't give the drinker enough credit but equally a lot of people get caught out - usually only once though.
This Is Good Beer (1 year ago)
(a) Absolutely - I've been mugged off by macro-owned beers masquerading as quality craft countless times.  Here in Germany, groups like InBev and Oetker are buying up traditional independent breweries, and quality is rapidly deteriorating.  It's a shame. (b) Protecting their corporate empire.  Good job bringing this to light, Jonny - education is key.
This Is Good Beer (1 year ago)
100% - there's a lot of bad faith in big beer, I fear. I felt the video's entire purpose was to subliminally suggest that corporate investment is the only way forward for brewing - strength in numbers, providing a common platform...it's all propaganda.
Good to know! But it's so strange how they chose to protect it - wheeling out their supposed compatriots and getting them to call out craft brewers as pathetic...something just doesn't ring true for me. Like they are trolling us.

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