Pissin’ in the Fermenter

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Buy! Buy! Buy! Sell! Sell! Sell! It’s been a busy week as three breweries sold stakes in their business to Big Beer this week.  Some to the expectations of the beer community and some a little more surprising. Heineken purchased a minor stake in Brixton; Spain’s Mahou took 30% of Avery Brewing Co and ABI took the whole of Pirate Life’s bounty. Business is business and I totally get that in a vibrant market, someone bigger is always going to want what you have but sometimes it feels like a brand is built to sell on from the onset. It’s easier for someone to use your business to grow or add a new repertoire, rather than try and develop a new brand and a shrewd business owner will know to exploit that.

As the news of the sale comes through on social media the “beer communicators” are on tenter hooks waiting for a statement from said brewery. Then come the usual buzzwords like “cash injection”; “a new facility” and “state of the art (such and such)”.

“We want to get our beer out to more and more people”

“The quality of the beer won’t suffer”

What a waste of time. They’ll tear you apart. All integrity was lost the minute the news hit. You are no longer “independent” and unfortunately, although Independence doesn’t automatically qualify as quality, it is what draws the consumer in for many cases. We’ve seen it all before. The slight re-branding; the relaunch party and the special guests. “Nothing’s changed. It still tastes great” they say. Of course it does; nothing’s changed yet. But it does. Big beer is all about shifting quantities and not quality. A few thousand beer enthusiasts may fuck you off but you’re reaching millions in Tesco and ASDA.

When I first got into beer I’d be chuffed to see something like Goose Island IPA on the bar or in the fridge. Now, other than any special releases; I’d probably look elsewhere. The same goes for Camden, most Brooklyn etc etc. Am I going to go “Wow. New Wicked Weed beers are out”? No. You know what, it may taste fine but I’ve lost all faith in the product… Just like the brewery clearly have.

You may as well be pissin’ straight into the fermenter, Moneybags.

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