charlie papazian craft brewers conference 2011

Charlie Papazian on “giving a damn about who makes your beer”

Top executives at the major corporations now imagine that they can take advantage of beer drinkers’ enjoyment of the craft beer brewed by small and independent brewers. They have begun to leverage the extended product brands that they control and position them alongside craft beer. That’s fair enough, but what is deceiving is that they are prideless in claiming or informing the consumer about who makes those products.

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3 thoughts on “Charlie Papazian on “giving a damn about who makes your beer”

  1. I have a question for everyone out there stemming from this article and all other chatter on this topic. Do you care more about who makes your beer or who owns the company? Taking Goose Island as an example, the brewers, cellarmen, bottling line, kegging line, and QA people who were employed at the production facility before the buyout are, by in large, still working at the facility currently. So what has changed? Yes I know a few of the higher up have shuffeled around, but the hands on people are still normal, local people who support their local economy. So is it fair to judge them over big business deals which they had absolutely no control over?

  2. I sell Goose Island here in Florida (as of Nov 26) I make no effort to hide who owns it. I believe the product and the brand speaks for itself. If one really wants to push the size of the brewery issue, many other highly respected craft breweries will soon be in danger of this negative image unless they halt growth. I love craft beer but do not believe breweries that have earned large scale success deserve to be attacked simply because their owners are the big guys. I am a small unimportant beer blogger, you dont hear me criticizing Mr. Papazian for being a successful authority on the subject and whining that no one listens to me.

  3. I think Charlie is talking more about insipid faux-crafts like Shock Top and Blue Moon that claim there are such places as “Shock Top Brewing Company” or “Blue Moon Brewing Company” and then take up precious cooler and floor space that could go to real craft. Undereducated consumers don’t know the difference and are surprised when they learn the truth. As for Goose Island, this experiment will continue to unfold. Obviously AB-InBev would be foolish to mess with the business model too much, but the fact is they already have messed with it quite a bit, most ironically by brewing “312” in New York state. Now that the new CEO is a company guy, you just have to wonder what’s next for them and the employees who have so far made it through the change at the top. Bottom line: when you buy Goose Island now, your “dollar vote” is going to a monolithic corporation instead of a job-creating local or regional small business. Is Bourbon County Stout and the myth of a former craft brewer worth that trade-off?

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