Today I'm pleased to share with you a post from guest blogger Alex Stanuch.
Since November of 2014, the blogs, beer sites and overall internet has bombarded the educated consumer of beer with countless updates of AB-InBev purchasing our "craft" breweries. You can easily find 73291 opinions on what that new trend in selling out means to the quality, economics and future of our craft beer industry. The abundance and current trend of these articles sure are annoying. But with each opinion posted, I learn new information that has helped me to form my own unique view and carryout my actions accordingly.
I am posting not only to annoy you, but to indicate why as a beer guide in Portland, OR, I will cringe when I am forced to bring customers to the new 10 Barrel location in downtown Portland. This can also serve as a passive-aggressive indication to my employer that I will most likely repeat phrases such as, "After Deschutes Brewery, we will visit AB-InBev's 10 Barrel location" or "With every purchase at this "Oregon Brewery," you have no idea how much of your money stays local. Please buy some t-shirts." The trend of some companies selling out was inevitable. Yet, as a consumer I can attempt to buck the trend and support Made-In-Oregon, not Sold-In-Oregon.
The main reason that I shit on breweries owned by big business is that I am worried about who is profiting from craft beer. For example I visited a local dive bar recently. One of the kinds that has Coors, Budweiser and Shock Top on tap, which is totally fine! I have no problem with this because on their tap list of 12, there are usually eight or nine beers from breweries in CA, OR and WA in which you can look up the owners' names and send them an email. While I pondered my choice I observed a beer option from Red Hook, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Deschutes, Rogue, two from Widmer and two from Full Sail. If you are aware of the recent employee approved transfer of Full Sail to the Oregon Craft Brewers Co. (owned by the San Francisco based equity firm Encore Consumer Capital) and that Red Hook and Widmer are part of the Craft Brew Alliance (owned roughly 32.2% by AB-InBev) then the list of beers available looked kind of like this: one MillerCoors, one AB-InBev, two Encore Consumer Capital, one Rogue and one Deschutes. So of the 12 beers available, only two are exclusively owned by non-corporations... I shit myself right then and there.
Guest post from Alex Staunch, casual blogger and enthusiast of all things beer. Alex is a beer tour guide in the Portland area and is interested in foraging for beer ingredients in the plentiful Pacific Northwest.