Nevertheless, they do excoriate. The Brewers Association has done a great job of promoting the notion of "crafty," the imposter beer made by breweries owned by the wrong entity. Or even beer made by breweries only subtly tainted by a connection to the wrong company (see Brothers, Widmer). It has been pretty easy to hold this line because most of the breweries in America are still owned by people south of 70 years old. But soon, very soon, that will change. And those elderly gents or their families will sell their breweries. Behold the latest example:
As European interest in American craft beers begins to mirror the mania for them stateside, the Duvel Moortgat Brewery of Belgium on Thursday announced a deal to buy the Boulevard Brewing Company, a craft brewery in Kansas City, Mo.Because this deal involves a small brewing conglomerate that makes a mere 700,000 barrels a year (less than Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Boston Beer) and involves small, groovy Belgian breweries like La Chouffe and Liefmans (as well as Ommegang), it's BA-kosher.
As defined by the Brewers Association, a craft brewer must produce no more than six million barrels a year (a lower limit was dropped when the Boston Beer Company, maker of Samuel Adams, exceeded it). Any ownership stake by a non-craft alcoholic beverage company must be less than 25 percent. Otherwise, a brewery cannot be a voting member of the association.Whew, no InBev taint.
But the notion that these are anything other than breweries going through an inevitable and ancient churn--that Goose Island, because it is now owned by InBev, became "crafty" while Moortgat-owned Boulevard is straight "craft"--should be easy enough to spot as the fraud it is. Or put it another way. When you find someone calling something "beer" that only has 35% beer in it, let me know. I'll help assemble the tar and feathers. Otherwise, carry on.