middle brow | citizen how \ 10 jul 17 /

a brief few words on brewery ownership. 

the vast majority of beer drinkers (and humans) don't know or care about who owns the company that produces the beer they drink. and so the vast majority of beer drinkers likely have not been privy to the many big news breaks in craft beer over the past several months. in sum: big, evil macro breweries are buying up craft breweries like they're kit-kats. (should i hyperlink kit-kats? how i love thee.)

should this matter? eh. we don't know. but we do know that the better question to ask is: should this not matter? and we think the answer to that question is a resounding "no". we shouldn't simply ignore brewery ownership when making decisions about what beers to buy.

here's our two cents: beer is so much more than a product. "beer is labor", as some friends of our friends might say. beer is art. beer is the combination of so many communities: brewing, farming, metalworking, engineering, architecture, food and beverage service. beer is cultural. beer is social. but not just social in the get-drunk-with-your-friends way. it's social in that it can touch (and thereby help and harm) society in so many ways.

this is true of many products other than beer, of course. and, therefore, when you buy such products, you're making a social decision. and you should consider everything that goes into that product, and everything that comes out of it. it's so much more than simply the liquid in the can or bottle or keg.

so: does this mean nobody should drink beer brewed by any "craft brewery" that was purchased by ab inbev or heineken? that's your call to make. how much influence do you believe stockholders in a company have over the decisions of their managers? if you believe the answer is "not necessarily any", i think you're being too clever by half. sure: "not necessarily any" is technically true. but "usually significant" is the less naive, better answer. and any human who's ever owed anything to anyone else knows this. only a sociopath would ignore an entity that enriched him or her.

but ... does this mean those newly-purchased, formerly "craft" (ha!) breweries now make bad beer, or are run by evil people? most definitely not. but if you chose to buy slightly fewer of their beers, and instead spent slightly more of your money on less well-funded breweries whose social inputs and outputs that were more in line with your preferences, we wouldn't call you crazy.

we just hope the craft beer tweeterati STFU about this topic soon. we will now. unless we're forced into such discussions by any clever responders.