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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Craft Bud

Recall that a few weeks ago I mentioned that the major breweries were flatlining on sales and actually losing market share to micros? Well, turns out Bud doesn't like losing share to pissant micros. So now they're goin' micro themselves:
Mule Kick Oatmeal Stout, Confluence Amber Wheat and Pilot House Imperial Pilsner sound like good, localized names for craft beers.

But these beers aren't produced by some microbrewery at a local pub. They're brought to you by the nation's largest brewer. In its effort to tap into the popular and growing craft beer category, Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. is going regional - even local.

By combining flavor and marketing cues from craft brewers with Anheuser-Busch's purchasing power, marketing expertise and distribution network, brewery President August Busch IV and his team could soon pose a significant new challenge to smaller craft brewers with specialty beers of their own, analysts said.
I can't imagine that this will work--it seems to me that one of the reasons we drink local beer is, well, because it's local. This seems like one of those good ideas in the corporate board room, not so much in the marketplace. But maybe I'm wrong--maybe the rest of the country isn't as parochial as Oregon.

Hat tip: Dave D.


  1. I'm not opposed to drinking "craft" beer from one of the big three, but my biggest issue is in the deceptive way they go about it.

    They even state in the article that consumers would be upset if they knew their bucolic sounding "Green Valley Brewing" was actually Budweiser in disguise, so they cloak the origins of the beer in order to lure curious beer drinkers into giving them money.

    This is especially frustrating with the organic beers because most people who support organic food tend to be very aware of what they purchase and many strive to purchase from local independent companies. By hiding the fact that this beer is brewed by the second largest brewery on Earth they trick people into spending money that may very well have gone to a local brewery like roots, or one of the true independent organic breweries like Bison.

    I've ranted about this myself a couple times on our blog so I don't want to go into it again, but damn it aggravates me.

  2. Drunken Blog Troll3:29 PM, October 25, 2006

    Bud and Miller have been dappling in brewing micro-type beers for over 15 years.... I remember about three beers from Bud in the early 90's, one was a Bock called "Faust."

    Miller has either "BOUGHT" small breweries or have made 3-5 craft type ales including a mass produced Pale ale and a Stout.....neither where very good...

    Was it last year that Bud and Miller placed ribbons in some of the ALE categories at the GABF?? They did advertise their NAME and people loved the products. When the ribbons where announced with the Breweries being A/B and MIller. People almost fell off their barstool.... Proves they can DO it, but want to maintain yellow frizzy stuff....

    Any thoughts??

  3. If AB decides they want to brew good beer, they are certainly going to be able to. They have the most well-trained brewers in the country. They can achieve, if they wish it, molecular consistency. But do they have the courage to brew truly characterful beer? I can't imagine it.

  4. Druncken blog troll12:05 AM, October 26, 2006

    It is hard to imagine...But at the same time... Why don't they?

    They're so paranoid about what the craft brewers are up too and they're market share... They have 90 sometime percent of the market! It they wanted a bigger chunk, they could do it...

    I think it's all about image... They don't want to look like the bad guy....Like the cigaette companies.. ;-}