Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Big News, Sad News Out of Bend

Wednesday beer geeks (especially those in Oregon) received what I don't feel shy in claiming was a stunning announcement by 10 Barrel Brewery. The Bend, Ore.-based brewery, with a production facility in Boise, Idaho and soon-to-be-open Portland pub and brewery, announced that they had been bought by AB.

Let that sink in for a minute.

My first thought was, "Dang, no more German Sparkle Party for me." My second thought was, "I wonder if Whitney Burnside (who was just named the brewer that will be heading up the aforementioned Portland location) was told about that before she accepted?" My third thought was, "I wonder how long will 10 Barrel's award winning Tonya Cornett will stay on?"

While I wish 10 Barrel the best and understand some people will continue to enjoy their products, which as the owners say in the video announcement, will not change, they won't get any more of my money. It's the principle of the matter and one my better half summed up best by saying that it's not about the beer. It's about the simple fact that AB is only interested in craft beer and breweries in two regards. #1 - They will do everything they can to crush it. #2 - They will take every opportunity to benefit from craft beer, including absorbing breweries (like Goose Island) that they can purchase. I'm not disputing that the breweries they acquire will continue to make good beer (at least in the short term); in fact I hope they do and it would benefit AB most if they retain the consumer base they have worked so hard to build. I'm merely saying that I'll be voting in another direction with my beer drinking dollars.

That covers my first thought. My second thought is somewhat more concerning to me. I would be quite surprised to learn that either Whitney Burnside or Tonya Cornett was informed about the purchase much more in advance than the rest of us. I'd wager that meetings were called this morning in which everyone outside of the founding triumvirate was notified; AB would have likely required the hush-hush until the ink was dry.

And finally, my question about Tonya, is another wager I'd make. She is an incredibly talented brewer who I suspect will soon depart (in less than three months says my money) to either take a position with an incredibly lucky existing brewery or, as one of my Twitter beer friends suggested, start her own brewery.

On the heels of this announcement I also heard a rumor that Oskar Blues may be acquired. Maybe the rumor mill is wrong. Maybe this is going to be one hell of a week for beer news. Either way, it's time for a beer, don't you think?

Sorry for the all text, no pictures post...just really too stunned by the news.


  1. As someone said on Facebook, "We're gonna need something stronger than beer this week."

  2. I agree with all your points here, and also plan to vote with my wallet elsewhere. Sad to think I had my last German Sparkle Party and Cucumber Crush last month at GABF.