Ok, Let's Talk About AB InBev
Unless you've been hiding under a cooler filled with Bud Light for the last several weeks, chances are good you've been privy to some of the conversations currently swirling around the beer industry about AB InBev and their less-than-couth behavior lately.
There are lots of articles that really spell out for you our specific feelings about the whole debacle. They're really good at getting down to the nitty-gritty, and while we appreciate them, unless you're at our level of obsession you're probably not going to wade through 20,000 words of why AB InBev stinks.
So, I'd like to drill it down to the basics. Here is why we don't give our money to AB InBev by buying their products, no matter if it was "craft" at one point in time or not. Yes, that means we don't touch Elysian anymore and that broke our hearts. Really broke our hearts.
Ask yourself this question and be honest:
Based on your own personal values, would you rather support small independent businesses or large corporations? Then ask yourself why. I'll give you a moment.
Here's our answer to that and it won't surprise you. We support small, independent businesses because they're about you and me and the people they serve. In this industry we are collaborative, we share and help when there's a need. We thread the needle between making a decent profit so that we can keep doing what we love while still maintaining a certain quality of life, and safeguarding the principles the craft beer industry was built on: integrity, collaboration, independence, quality and passion.
At one point long ago, what has now become AB InBev may have started out this way; it's unclear. But what's clear now is that boardrooms of executives fussing over billion dollar bottom lines are what motivates the beast now. And although any billion dollar loss is certainly significant for a company used to being on top, they have a choice as to how they might turn that around. They can choose to do it nicely or they can choose to use their power, money, political influence and scam-mindedness to undermine a part of the beer industry that only sees about 12.3% of the market share across an estimated 5,300 independent, craft brewers, (AB InBev alone has 45%).
And it's not like we haven't already seen greed push our institutions into morally questionable behavior, (think the financial crisis of 2008) so it should really come as no surprise that a business like AB InBev would engage in such things. But that doesn't mean we have to support their efforts.
The bottom line is that our principles and values are important to us, and knowing very specifically how AB InBev aims to gouge the real craft beer industry each and every moment of each and every day, compels us to take a stand however we can. It may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things to turn down a Superfuzz or Bourbon County stout at the next ballgame we attend but, personally, we choose for our dollars to go to the brewer and his family behind that tiny, 2-barrel system in a farmhouse in Vermont, rather than the boardroom execs driving the beast.
In case you'd like to join us in our cause, take a look at every brand AB InBev owns. Thanks for drinking our beer. And listening to me rant. Happier topics to come, I promise.