When Craft Breweries Sell Out

Our Stories November 29, 2012 2 Comments.

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Craft beers are super popular right now, but part of their appeal is that they aren’t part of the bigger beer companies. So what happens when those big companies buy the craft breweries?

MillerCoors has its own craft/import division named Tenth and Blake and it owns Wisconsin-based Leinenkugel and Oregon label Henry Weinhard. They’re hoping to build both into national brands. Anheuser-Busch InBev bought Chicago craft brewer Goose Island last year and they’re hoping to make it a national brand by selling one million barrels by 2015.

Good things about independently owned craft breweries:
• Represent local area
• Have personality
• They’re flexible and can be creative
• Willing to experiment on new brews and be “out there”
• Listen to regular people and engage with them

Perks of a craft brewery getting bought out:
• Small brands can get more distribution
• Gain national recognition
• Big budgets can help
• They’re making the big bucks

It seems like the big beer companies that are buying these craft beers are attempting to make the brand seem like it’s still independent (nice try guys), but if they’re getting distributed nationwide, they’re going to lose some (or all) of the things we love about them.

What do you think, is this for better, or for worse?

2 thoughts on “When Craft Breweries Sell Out

  1. Matt

    I appreciate craft beers and drinking local but I don’t have a problem with larger companies buying craft beers as long as the beer in unchanged. This could give the craft brewer the ability to experiment more with a larger budget and possibly create another beer to appreciate.

    I prefer to drink local but some of my favorite beers are from overseas or across the country.

  2. Ra

    The thing with craft breweries is that some of them “sell out” on their own–they don’t necessarily need to be bought by BMC. I’ve recognized brews changing from year to year because they don’t put as much “craft” into their craft.

    And yes, I know that available ingredients change year to year. But when the mouthfeel changes exponentially because a cheaper or less malt was used, then I’m not for that.

    There will be a few that get taken over through the years, but I think it’s what it takes to get the craft beer word out to 95% of the nation.

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