Over the last few years, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev or the Beer Leviathan) has ramped up their purchases of not just craft breweries, but other industries (suppliers for example), to put an almost monopolistic strangle-hold on the beer industry.
Nowhere is this more evident than the craft beer segment where the Beer Leviathan has attempted to stem the growth of craft breweries, if not crush them altogether. AB InBev has poured cash into local and state lobbies in an attempt to put archaic laws on the books; has created (often illegal) programs that reward sellers for moving Budweiser over other brands; and has tried to purchase or cajole distributors to sell only their product.
When these efforts continued to fail, the Leviathan opted to “join the revolution” by purchasing craft breweries and creating a company (The High End) to manage them. Sadly, the Leviathan continues its shady (again, often illegal) practices of rewarding (or threatening) sellers, but with the twist of pushing AB InBev’s recently acquired craft brands along with the Budweiser staples.
And by the way, if you think the Leviathan only wants to consume the United States, the European Union and India heartily disagree.
When these purchases started, I had a pure craft dedication and welcomed the opportunity to boycott any AB InBev owned product. But for a moment I reconsidered. As long as the quality remained the same, why not enjoy some craft brews I had been consuming for years. Hey, these guys worked hard, made it, and decided to cash in; isn’t that the American Way?
But, as more craft breweries fell to the Leviathan, I started to have a change of heart and began wavering. And then two recent purchases put me back where I started; I do not want to have anything to do with any brand related to AB InBev.
In October, it was confirmed the Leviathan purchased Northern Brewer, considered to be the largest supplier of home brewing equipment and ingredients in the United States. And just this week, AB InBev purchased Karbach Brewing here in Houston.
Sorry Karbach, your Weekend Warrior is sure tasty, but it will no longer grace the shelves of my refrigerator.
I know, I am like that guy who loves a band and incessantly tells all his friends about how they are missing out by not listening to them. But when the band makes it big decides he now hates the band he followed as they struggled to find their sound and their place. I appear to be such a hypocrite. Or am I…
Because the record company came along, watered down their sound, auto-tuned the shit out them and brought in a stylist to make them look edgy but safe. All in an effort to make them appeal to a bunch of teenagers who will grow up to eventually hate them.
What is worse is those guys made it big and became assholes.
I am not surprised Karbach sold out; they were built to be sold. Further, I am not surprised Karbach rolled out essentially the same response as every other brewery that has succumbed to the Leviathan; it’s not about the money – it’s about the resources and opportunity. Please, it’s always about the money.
I do not begrudge a brewery for selling out; it is their prerogative and being flush with cash is always a good thing. But sadly, it is getting to the point that no matter where you turn, the Leviathan is there in some form trying to dictate what you drink for their profitability. And they will do anything to ensure the only choice you have is their brand(s).
I realize that some day I will not have a choice, but as long as I do…