we spent some time discussing brewery ownership a few weeks back. so we won't spend much time on it today.
but some recent news bears discussing. as some of you may have heard (and as many others of you may have not because you have many better things to do than to stay abreast of what restaurant is opening where and when), ballast point is opening a massive brewpub in the increasingly overbuilt fulton market district.
ballast point is owned by constellation. constellation owns corona and several other very popular beer and spirits brands. ballast point also makes delicious beer. that said, its dictates do not come from family women and men interested in connecting with a community. instead, they come from shareholders. the executives at constellation and ab inbev (bud) and every other publicly-held company have a duty to maximize shareholder value. a straight-up duty; they'd be sued by their shareholders if they didn't do so.
and, as such, the decision to "capture the craft market" by placing a massive brewpub in the middle of a major-money neighborhood in the middle of the country isn't all that exciting. unless you get excited by short-term financial success.
... because that's all that this represents. short-term financial success. big beer brands tired to ignore "craft beer" for years. then they derided it. then, when they couldn't stem the bleeding, they decided to join the fun! haayyyyyyyy!!!! and now bud and corona and heineken and millercoors are furiously acquiring craft breweries. some such acquisitions are strokes of genius. others, strokes of hilarity. others, just strokes.
and what are they doing with these brands? they're using them to "capture the craft market", as mentioned above. but it's merely a medium-term move: with such forays into "normals" neighborhoods in cities like chicago, they're introducing craft beer to the masses. and the masses will quickly wet their pants over how delicious beer can be. and then?
and then, since normals always follow in the footsteps of weirdos (see: gentrification. sports. music.): ballast point and lagunitas and brooklyn brewery and goose island (our hearts! our souls! we'll love you forever!) will become very tired and boring to normals. and the little-guy breweries living and brewing on the edge will quickly become exciting to normals!!
thanks yet again to the big guys at constellation and "the high end" (?) for hastening the process. in the meantime, make sure the beer you drink is made with some concern for stakeholder, not just shareholder, value.
drink good. do better.