Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Voting with Beer Dollars

Last night I got into, wait, I willingly pursued a bit of a row on Twitter regarding the opening of a new AB InBev revenue source in town. I tried not to be mean, simply stating that making the choice to spend whatever-amount-of-dollars there meant that those were dollars not going into the hands of craft brewers. I make choices, you make choices, they are often different and in the end we each have to acknowledge the impact of those choices.

Infographic courtesy of the Brewers Association
Near the end of the back and forth I conceded that there were plenty of people, in the craft beer world and beyond, that were excited about the opening. Some of them don't share my view about what the impact of choosing to support AB InBev means and some of them don't care. More importantly I realized that I the beer thing* I got excited about today was news from Brooking, OR (population 6,400-ish). In case you missed it Chetco Brewing is making plans to open a tasting room. That's a big step for a little operation.

I'm not a road tripper so the six hours that separate me from Chetco will make regular visits to the taproom unlikely. That means many of the funding rewards aren't as attractive** as if I lived down the street. What is attractive is the opportunity to spend my whatever-amount-of-dollars to support a great guy who makes some darn good beer. I'll bet that Mike would agree with the comment from another craft brewer who weighed in on that back and forth saying that his brewery "is growing, tough fight though." Craft brewers may have reached double-digit volume share for the first time in 2014 but it's no easy line to tow.

So if you're like me and find it important to support those chipping away at the ever-decreasing market share of Big Beer, check out Chetco's funding campaign. And if you'd rather give that money to a macro, that is still your choice.

*The exciting non-beer thing was the opening of Chizu. Long live cheese, one of beer's perfect pairings.

**That being said I'm still pretty tempted to have my name on one of the barstools just because.