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TPFIt was like a punch in the face, today…

I was out all day and away from the computer. I sat down and clicked onto Facebook and scrolled down a half page or so and caught a whiff: “Stunned by the news about 10 Barrel sold to AB…

WHAT?!?

More scrolling and confirmation: “Haters gonna hate, Tonya Cornett. Congrats on getting the chance to take that berliner global (not to mention the others).” It got worse just that fast. One of my all-time favorite brewers, Tonya Cornett, is now one of the pawns in this sordid tale. If AB had come to me and asked, they couldn’t have found a person about whom I would be more grief-stricken to see absorbed by the Beer-Borg Collective. Jimmy Seifrit, former brewmaster under Larry Sidor at my beloved Deschutes was also involved. It was exactly like a death; like someone I knew and loved was in excellent health one day and stone dead the next.

I continued to click across the internet, hoping that someone would have posted a snopes.com link, saying that it was all a hoax. But it’s not. One of the new and healthy pillars of the Northwest brewing community became dead to all who call themselves craft beer fans. Disbelief turned to grief…which then became anger…

Folks, it really IS this effin’ simple and don’t fall for anyone with a quick chuckle and a shake of the head who says, “Hey, it’s just business. 10 Barrel will just reach a lot more people, now.” AB/InBev, the Belgian/Brazilian mega-corporation who just bought 10 Barrel for what was probably about what their Board tips for a big lunch, is the sworn enemy of craft beer. I used to have the utmost respect for John Hall, former owner of Goose Island Brewing of Chicago but John Hall decided to get out of his daily grind with Goose Island and sold it to AB/InBev. John Hall – who helped create the American Craft Beer community – aided and abetted the very corporate monster that’s trying, on dozens of fronts all over the US, to hinder or obstruct the growth and business practices of the thousands of small, independent brewers for whom AB has consistently expressed their disdain. As one of their VP’s told me in an email, back in 2011, “Actually, the term ‘craft brewing’ that you people toss around is wrong. What we do at Anheuser Busch if craft brewing because it involves the craft of brewing. What those weird little breweries do is actually  ‘amateur brewing’, and the sooner you all figure that out, the better.” One of their VPs said last year, at the first company convention after their take-over of Goose Island, in speaking of the conflict between Bud and craft brewing, “We cannot allow the paradigm to change.

This is the mind-set that now owns 10 Barrel Brewing.

Chris and Jeremy Cox

Chris and Jeremy Cox

I’m going to make this as short and unsweet as I can, because I am mortally pissed off: When twin brothers Chris and Jeremy Cox decided to brew their own beer, they were co-owners of a successful bar and grill in downtown Bend, Oregon. They didn’t have any direct experience brewing, but told anybody who’d listen about their deep passion for craft beers and their determination to break into the industry. That, as we see graphically now, was all bullshit. What the Brothers Cox were after was a Big Payday; a rosy dream of building a disposable enterprise that would eventually catch the eye of some huge mega-corp who would back a truck up to their loading dock and shovel dollar bills out the back until they buried Jeremy and Chris Cox in a sweet dream of Caribbean beaches and cold drinks with little umbrellas in them and hot and cold running babes. Yeah, I’m being harsh and hyperbolic and extrapolating wildly about people I barely know but what I do know is this…

Tonya Cornett

Tonya Cornett

If you care about craft brewing – about the community of people, not corporations and not abstract legions of faceless laborers – then you do NOT, under any circumstances and for any amount of money, sell your craft brewery to a company whose stated objective is to bring about the ruin of that community. I’m sure, as I write this, the Cox Brothers are sitting in their bar in Bend, having a celebratory drink or fifteen, and counting the totally awesome, dude! string of zeros to the left of their decimal point on a check drawn on AB/InBev’s corporate account. They’re probably toasting their good fortune right now, having sold off Tonya Cornett and Jimmy Seifrit and their reputation and the good will and sense of community involvement that many, many craft beer fans here in the Northwest have come to feel for 10 Barrel. It’s been one of my regular stops on trips to Bend, one of the labels I look to and think, subconsciously, “I trust this brand to stand for something good“, and a brewery whose personnel and track record promised so many massive achievements in the years to come that most of us could only wait, in tingling anticipation, to see what sort of miraculous treats Tonya and Jimmy would give us next.

AB/InBev CEO Carlos Brito

AB/InBev CEO Carlos Brito

That, at least for me, is all gone, now. I cannot and will NOT – EVER – enable and validate the ongoing attempt by the world’s largest and most soulless “brewery” to buy what they already KNOW they can never earn on their own merits: credibility within the rapidly-expanding world of American craft brewing. No matter how wonderful and popular 10 Barrel may become in the future, the whole enterprise is now tainted. I’m not planning to even taste their beers, ever again, even if Tonya and Jimmy keep their jobs. The simple fact is that Anheuser Busch and now AB/InBev has a long and sordid history of crushing all competition, manipulating markets and distribution arrangements, and even resorting to outright bribery – the infamous “Tied Houses” of the early 20th Century – to achieve the supremacy they enjoy in the world’s beer markets. It was never about the beer, which its founder, Adolphus Busch, flatly refused to drink, calling it “that slop”. Anheuser Busch is and always has been about marketing, promotions, omnipresence in the marketplace and throwing money at every problem because that was the one and only resource they had in greater supply than any other brewery on the planet.

This is exactly what I said in the beginning: A Death in The Family. The end of a wonderful, imaginative, powerful, soulful brewery, in favor of the soulless, vapid, ethically-empty process of reducing Art To Commodity. They’ve already done it to Goose Island and Blue Point and 10 barrel is simply another bottom line to be managed, “improved”, and reduced to figures, that realm in which quality is figured by dollars alone.

Chris, Jeremy…have a great evening. Tomorrow is the first day of your highly questionable lives…

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58 thoughts on “The Short Life and Ugly Death of 10 Barrel Brewing

  1. Pingback: Elysian and AB/InBev: Greed, Overweening Ambition, and the Whoring-Out of a Culture - Seattle News

  2. Pingback: Elysian and AB/InBev: Greed, Overweening Ambition, and the Whoring-Out of a Culture | ThePourFool

  3. There is no such thing as “craft beer” anymore, it’s a B.S. number used for taxing purposes. There are only two things that matter to me. Is it good beer, and is it made locally? Goose Island makes great beer, and I am fully aware of which ones are still made locally. You can be a fan of a made up word if you want, I’m a fan of good beer.

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    • You’re entitled to your opinion, if you want to dispose of all considerations of ethics and morals and honor and all those silly old concepts that modern kids deem archaic. I don’t consider them disposable and the fact that you do speaks far more loudly about your values than anything I can say in reply…and I don’t think that what it says is very flattering.

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  4. I agree with your answer to the $5 vs. $3 million dollar question. What’s integrity worth? If you’re a whore, you are just negotiating price. If you value deeper things, such as the purity and beauty of a truly local craft brew, money has little value. Of course, if you had to pay for a vital operation to keep your child alive, perhaps we have conflicting values, but I digress. AB has every right to buy what they want and compete in every way possible to make as much for their shareholders as they can. The craft brew industry also has the same rights and may have to be more innovative, agile, and even passionate to keep their space alive and growing. Frankly, I have never tasted any beer for which I would sell my integrity. I do feel “dirty” or at least cheated, when I intend to buy local or truly craft and don’t check the label carefully enough, only to find that what I’m drinking is put out by a huge company. Not that the beer tastes bad, but my intent is to support the truly craft beer community.

    Just found your blog, love your passion and your reasoning. Cheers!

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  5. Blurb posted at Professor Goodales with link. Spread the word.

    This is an old story, actually, back when consolidation hell almost killed unique beer Ballantine IPA was turned into something worth the death it went through. I find when big beer buys out craft the result is usually bad.

    You’re right: the tude is still there, they’ve just learned to be even more dishonest through packaging as if it’s some craft brewery (the mythical Plan Brewery is a good example) and the pathetic ruse of an old fashioned logo-ed Bud case. They still don’t get it.

    Kudos to older, small yet “big” brewers, like Matt (Saranac) who at least TRY to brew “craft-like.” Sometimes the result is poor, sometimes not bad at all. Too often it’s simply disrespect from companies so big they can’t even see they continue to have their pants pulled down by craft beer.

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  6. Pingback: Local beer. Better beer. Are they still the same thing? | John at Terrapin

  7. Pingback: 10 Barrel Brewing, AB/InBev…and the Aftermath | ThePourFool

  8. Pingback: When little guys sell out to Big Beer – Joe Sixpack

  9. I have to admit that I didn’t read all of the posts to see if this point has already been aired – what if…AB is simply in it for the water? OUR water? Deschutes Brewery has had a very tough time finding another location for an offsite brewery due to water quality; doesn’t it make sense that a mega-corp like AB would have the same problem? At some point, swill or not, AB may be looking to have a foothold in a community that has a cheap, accessible water supply. With the drought in CA, fracking-polluted waters through the mid-west, and aging water systems in metropolitan areas, accessibility to a stable water source is going to become more and more important to companies like this. AB isn’t planning for next year – they did that decades ago. Their plans are for 2030…2050. Why the hell else would they want a tiny craft brewery for what amounts to pocket change for them – especially a craft brewery that is relatively new on the scene and, outside of our little community, has an insignificant place in the market? Positioning for water rights is as old as humanity, and has the capacity to make or break a community – or a corporation. Once they provide a significant number of jobs, how will the city say “no” when they want special privileges in regards to our water supply?

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    • To have the water in Bend make any difference, they’d have to truck it all across the country and nobody is going to pay for that when buying a 12-step filter system makes the water more pure than any city water supply. They also already own Blue Point, in NYC, which has the best municipal water of any large city in the US. No, AB is not in craft beer for anything like that. They’re buying CRED (or think they are) and knuckleheads like those people who keep on telling me to “just chill out, man, and drink a 10 Barrel beer” are playing right into their hands. “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” – ring a bell? It’s a cliche because it’s TRUE. I can’t even fathom the kind of thinking that says that a company which has systematically DESTROYED all competition for 100+ years, using any underhanded and heavy-handed measures they wanted and cost THOUSANDS of working Americans their livelihoods, can waltz into one of the nation’s best craft brewing destinations and that’s all perfectly okay. If someone’s that amoral and spiritually vacant, buying beer is the least of their problems.

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  10. Pingback: Imagine a Barrel 10 New Yorker cover - www.theshamrockbar.co.uk

  11. I appreciate the passion of this article. I think many people are missing the larger picture that you are trying to point out and ‘as long as the beer tastes the same’ it won’t make a difference to them. This is very unfortunate.

    I guess what really grinds my gears is the ‘local’ branding they did to get this business to where it is today. You shouldn’t sell shirts like this if you don’t intend to honor it:

    https://fbcdn-photos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/v/t1.0-0/10258422_10101576810231723_437883179000639491_n.jpg?oh=b7730a2b4e7e30c2238608403c0eec79&oe=551D85FC&__gda__=1424683971_2732de6bb7cd27f101f074a7dd353594

    I mean if the cox owners were blunt – ‘hey at 10 B our goal is to cash out and make lots of money’ – from the beginning I don’t think their taste/quality of beer alone would have gotten them this deal. After all it was the ‘value’ of the brand that AB wanted. The quality and ingredients of the beer they will be able to reduce costs on, and quality? Ahh who cares as long as they all taste the ‘same’ right?

    At the end of the day I hate hearing in the video that they posted that ‘nothing is going to change’ – that is an obvious lie and I can’t feel like the sour taste in my mouth after SWILL was really just that one ingredient we didn’t realize was being bottles into every 10B beer:

    Deception.

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  12. Steve,

    I’m 99.9% of the way with you. Only lacking the 0.1% because I never had the feeling the Cox bros were passionate about craft beer. I live in Bend and I like the atmosphere at their restaurant. A great design to sell the 5th or 6th best beer available in Bend.

    Hiring Tanya and Jimmy was just for the shows. I cannot ever explain their medals at GABF in the context of what was available at the bar or in the stores. Swill ( and it’s fiasco) was an attempt to be ironic but in the end it really was swill.

    So to me this sale was inevitable because they were in it for the opportunity. It was all a front. I can’t be disappointed that the wolf revealed that it was a wolf after all. Just sad it took many others so long to see it.

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  13. It’s funny that they sold out…I lived in bend in 07-08, drank mirror pond by the barrel. Then I moved to Wisconsin and really found out what “craft beer” was. Came across a brewer called new glarus which can only be sold in the state. People complained about how mainstream they had gotten over the years, but one thing stood out. No matter how big they got, they never sold out. Illinois residents and anyone else Whoes had “spotted cow” would love to have it on shelves worldwide, but they know it won’t happen. It always made me appreciate them as a company, if the beer is that good it will sell itself. If the marketing is that good it will sellout, which is exactly what 10 barrel did. In my opinion it tastes the same as 99 percent of the other craft brews I’ve had. Not gonna lie, those guys probably made a ton of money, but they’re reputation just hit the shitter.

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  14. In addition to the parts about InBev’s open opposition to craft beer are the laws that they lobbied towards and had past a few years ago preventing homebrewers in Oregon from transporting their homebrew as well as holding homebrew-related meetings at breweries or beer bars. They’re essentially the Monsanto of beer in my opinion.

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  15. As a long time purveyor of craft wines all I can tell you is welcome to the club. For years Big Wine has created 1,000s of knock off, marketing-driven, commodity labels only to cleverly hide any reference to their factory-made roots. Usually this plonk has some sort reference to their “independence” in the name or back story, as if throwing around words like rebel and family somehow overcomes the fact that they are really just another wine from Salinas made at an oil-refinery type facility Unfortunately it works. The market is flooded with labels that are unfamiliar, shelf space is acquired through bribe or threat, and the average consumer is too busy or overwhelmed to seek out the difference.

    I applaud the way craft beer has created such a fiercly loyal following and distinct division between the Darth Vader and those committed to honest, quality products with a great story. I don’t think it will continue in this fashion, because clearly InBev (and others to follow) have taken note of how to beat Craft Beer at its own game. The end customer will be forced to learn the difference, the retailers and restaurants will have to resist the “favors” being offered to sell Shock Top, and the brewers will need to continue to fight the good fight. It is a tough road, but I sincerely hope you can make it.

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    • Thanks, Sunny, but – again – this is NOT about the quality of the products. I’ve been selling wine, beer, and spirits, now, for 24 years and what I find from wines as produced by – to put it politely – American “negociant” producers is mostly of FAR more uneven quality than beers from craft producers. Whatever nasty stuff that I say about AB, they are NOT stupid. They won’t come into Goose Island or 10 Barrel and just plain screw up the product. The beers are still good, as opposed to SOME percentage of factory-produced wines that range from good to VERY good but are usually barely drinkable. Here in Washington, we have several negociants and the wines are made by the best wineries in the state, so the quality is very high. With breweries bought out by AB, they’re ALWAYS proven rock-star breweries or AB wouldn’t be interested. I think that wine lovers – defined as that 15% or so of the total wine-drinking public whose greater knowledge and refined tastes are subsidized by the 85% who are casual drinkers will buy anything – are every bit as discriminating as the craft beer fans but there is no organized movement and no common identification, as there is with the label “Craft Beer Fan”. That’s the difference and I have to hope that there are enough of us to make AB realize that buying craft beer cred will NEVER work.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Steve, one thing I’d like to add that most consumers aren’t aware of is this: Annheuser Busch and Miller Coors employ people who actually work (illegally I might add) for Safeway, Kroger, etc. building schematics for store beer sets. If you own or distribute breweries and aren’t in a house that has these corporate beers it is a constant struggle to get fair representation on the shelf. That’s part of the bonus of being in the AB network; expect to see a large representation of BudBarrel brands in Safeway stores in the future, thus squeezing more good brands from the shelf. Also expect them to be reduced in price more often, and in turn overall quality reduced to justify the lower price point on the shelf.

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  17. Pingback: Are the owners of 10 Barrel Brewing sell outs or good businessmen? – Joe Sixpack

  18. Poorly written article. Always love to read an article where the writer’s passion overshadows the facts, and well, it just comes out to be a bunch of rubbish. If you read the facts, 10 Barrell plans to operate just as they have since they started. Chances are they just sold a percentage and are not solely owned by AB. AND above all, this is becoming increasingly common with small businesses to use the distribution channels of these large organizations. Take the Chipotle/Mcdonalds relationship for instance. Maybe researching and a simple understanding of business will allows you to sit back and still enjoy a good 10 Barrel IPA!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m getting REALLY freakin’ TIRED of having to explain – over and over and over again, across this site and the Seattle P-I page where this blog appears – that my anger over this sell-out has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with beer quality. I’m sure 10 Barrel’s beers will continue to be just fine. MY anger – for the LAST flippin’ time! – is over the fact that the Cox dorks sold to a company who has openly declared itself, in words and actions – the enemy of the whole idea of craft brewing. There’s going to be NO response to any more comments that speak to beer quality and urge me to “just relax and enjoy a great 10 Barrel beer!” If anyone cares so little about the future of American craft brewing that they’re just peachy with AB gaining a toe-hold in the nation’s most successful craft brewing state, that’s up to them…but they have NO BUSINESS calling themselves a craft beer fan. They’re helping to sell it out and eventually kill it, because a MOUNTAIN of evidence tells us what AB thinks about competition and how they handle it and none of it is pretty. STOP telling me the beer will be just fine. I’m not worried about beer. I’m worried about Satan living in my own backyard, in a city which I love.

      As for poorly written, there was nothing poorly written about it. I’m a good writer, as I’ve been repeatedly told by other writers and thousands of readers of this blog, so sell that idea someplace else. If you want to say “poorly reasoned”, that we can discuss. If you want to say”whiny”, as a number of people have, there’s another legit discussion. If you want to say “angry”, no discussion needed. It IS angry because I AM angry about this. And if you’re not, that’s FAR more of a comment on your ethics than it is about my anger.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, what gives, in this case, is that, when I empty spam, which I do at least twice daily, (I get about 250 – 300 responses a day, about 70% spam) WordPress frequently trashes posts that I’ve already approved, often even when they’re already on the screen. They don’t seem to know why but I deal with it daily: text disappears as I write, so that I have to back up and reinsert it three or four times, I have to hit the “approve” button four or five times to get some remarks to appear, the preview won’t look like the text editor’s version, sometimes with whole text blocks just magically gone, so that I have to rewrite. They say the missing remarks SHOULD be in my trash bin but I find no more than half of them. It drives me freakin’ crazy but I love the user-friendly aspects of this platform and the way it looks, so I keep at it.

      All that said, this blog is just me. There are no partners, no administrators, no editors, no nothing but me and my words. I gladly own everything written here and value everybody who takes the time to read and respond, even if I sometimes don’t like the responses and even if I frequently argue strenuously. BUT…this is MY blog and if I sometimes decide that I want, for whatever reason, to dump comments, I’ll do that and make no apologies or explanations. I RARELY delete comments; probably fewer than 10 legit comments have ever been deleted, in this blog’s history. I’ll happily approve a comment in which somebody calls me a jackass, as long as they explain WHY they think I’m a jackass and make a reasoned argument. I deleted two responses yesterday to this post from some yoyo who called himself “HAHAHAHAHA” and wrote, all in upper case, stuff like “YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE! WHAT A DICKHEAD! WON’T EVEN DRINK GREAT BEER BECAUSE HE GO HIS FEELINGS HURT! WAH-WAH-WAH!!!” Those will NEVER appear on this screen. I apologize for the deletions and, if I can find those comments, I’ll restore them.

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  19. Really? You don’t see ANY difference. Huh. Maybe Moortgat tried for 100 years to drive all competitors out of business, block their access to the market, offered to pay rent for tavern owners who agreed to drop other brands, bought up distributorships so they’d force other breweries out, made backroom deals routinely and daily and made beer they damned well KNEW was inferior (Adolphus Busch refused to drink Budweiser, calling it “that slop”) because, hey, the public doesn’t know good beer, anyway, so why give it to them? No, wait…that was Anheuser Busch. Your argument doesn’t make sense, except that you like Moortgat’s beer better. Beer quality is NOT the damned issue. Values and morals are. Being a “big multinational corporation” is nothing to find fault with. Doing business the way AB has consistently done it for 100 years very much IS.

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  20. I’m just so happy to have learned that I’m not alone in insisting that principles and values are precisely what brought us here, and are abandoned at our peril. Where did this narcissist “momentary pleasure” element come from? It wasn’t five minutes into a discussion on a board here in Louisville before someone began accusing me of advocating inferior local beer over the their “best beer no matter what gets whored out in the process” preference. Anyway, thanks again. This undoubtedly is the best and most relevant piece of writing I’ve seen all year.

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  21. Oh good lord. I get so tired of people thinking they get a say in someone else’s business decisions. I understand if you are dismayed. But 10 Barrel isn’t “dead” yet. Why don’t you wait and see what actually changes here in Bend and in their taps? This seems like a huge hissy fit to me. Not your business, not your decision to make. If, over time, their beer changes and it is no longer to your liking, grumble a bit then and find a new local brewery. We have many great ones to choose from here in Bend. Be upset if you choose, but why don’t you at least wait until you see if your predictions come true?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mom! How would we all ever function without strangers on the internet to tell us how to feel and behave? But let me offer a counter proposal: I’ll feel the way I want to feel about 10 Barrel’s whoring out to the enemy of craft beer and, if what I write offends you this badly, maybe..don’t read it? It literally STUNS me how many people just CANNOT get this: it is NOT about the beer and its quality. It’s about selling your brewery to thugs who plan to kill or take over craft brewing. Their beer will probably be just fine and I DON’T CARE. This is about Values and it sickens me how many people don’t even know what those are or think they should be sold off for money. Jesus…

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      • Contrary to the tone of this blog, and others, the craft brewing sky is not falling. Although AB (and AB-InBev) has acquired a few craft breweries (some would say three, others would say six) there are literally dozens of new craft breweries coming on the scene every year. If the AB-InBev culture is as outlined in the article above, it doesnt matter. AB-InBev can no more swallow enough of the craft brewing industry to matter than the author can eliminate AB-InBev simply because he has disdain for them.

        Anheuser-Busch (pre InBev) was actually a very conservative, slow to act company. Their reticence to acquire other brewers (Becks, only half of Modelo) led to their acquisition by InBev.

        Having worked on both sides of the craft/macro brewing industry for over 30 years, my experience is that craft brewers do not fear the macro brewers. They recognize the macro place in the system which allows craft brewers to make better beers and business decisions via:

        1)technological advancement- macros work with industry suppliers of equipment to make it better and craft brewers benefit from macro deep R&D pockets.
        2) education-there are literally hundreds of craft brewing employees who have received their brewing education formally in macro supported programs and have cut their teeth learning in macro breweries. Craft brewers are good at skimming macro brewery talent away from macros into the craft scene. I personally know dozens of craft brewery employees who got their start in macro breweries and moved onto craft breweries.Stone is a perfect example of this.
        3) Distribution-the simple fact is that craft brewers save on distribution costs with systems set up by macro brewers.

        Finally, the craft industry would benefit from “spokesmen” who acted less entitled, angry and condescending in their words and more educational and understanding that there is a wide range of craft beer understanding in the public. Craft brewers get this.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Your last point is erroneous in that I am not a “spokesperson” for craft brewing and have no interest in being one. I’m one pissed-off reviewer who regularly condescends when he’s faced with those who choose to be deliberately obtuse (such as with the endless repetitions of this being about “beer quality” at 10 Barrel) and/or want to deliver a lecture. And don’t presume to speak for craft brewers. Evidently, those you know have some cozy arrangement with corporate scum-bags like AB. The 36 who have contacted me in various ways, since this was posted, are 100% horrified at AB’s gaining a toe-hold in Bend and nearly as irritated with the Cox brothers as I am.

          Nor do the “points” you made about what mega-brewers have contributed to craft brewing hold water. I don’t know a single brewer who says they got anything in the way of techniques from AB or MillerCoors because brewing on their scale has no relation at all to craft brewing AND…THEY MAKE LAGERS, which is not what 98% of the craft breweries in the US specialize in. As for the distribution advantages, well, if those breweries want to align themselves with thugs who make it as hard as possible for retailers to deal with them and then use shady tactics to try to squeeze other craft brewers, that’s their business. I’m not required to like it and I DON’T. I’m a beverage buyer and I’ve dealt with AB daily for 24 years. They’re a freakin’ nightmare to try to work with. So sell that somewhere else because my experience with AB is first hand and bears no resemblance to anything professional.

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    • The fact is, we all get a say in other people’s business decisions – mostly with how we choose to spend our money, but also with the opinions about them we share with others.

      I get so tired of people who take the attitude that businesses can do whatever they want and no one is supposed to react to it, but rather just carry on as a mindless drone and consume.

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  22. So if you had to choose between selling to Dival for $3 million, or InBev for $5 million, you’d value your “craft integrity” enough to leave $2 mill on the table?? I agree with the sentiment of this article, but unfortunately things aren’t this black and white.

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    • YES, to reply directly to your question, I ABSOLUTELY would take the $3 mil from ANYBODY else who understands values and integrity over $5 mil from AB. If I sold to AB or some Clown Posse like ’em, I’d have to know that I whored out everything I believe in and worry about that while I’m hiking through Tuscany. It makes me VERY sad for you that you see life as purely a matter of dollars and cents. Of course, this IS the country that just elected a Congress full of amoral cretins whose value system fell off and rolled behind the couch sometime in their teens. That is the one thing that makes me sorta glad that I’m nearing the end of my life: I won’t be around to watch this country become the ethically-challenged, morally-bankrupt cesspool it’s on the way to becoming, just before it ceases to exist…because – make NO mistake about this – when we cease to care about right and wrong, THAT is the end of what America has been and the beginning of its downfall.

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  23. Pingback: Craft Rhetorics: the 10 Barrel Brewing Moment | Make Mine Potato

  24. How about craft beer being ruined by the untold amount of new breweries opening up that don’t know anything about brewing beer.

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    • Craft beer is no different from any other business class: some breweries are going to be better at it than others. Trust me on this: VERY few people in this country spend more time than I do tasting new beers and visiting new breweries. I find surprisingly few breweries that just plain have zero to offer and those are simply dealt with: just don’t buy their beer. Does a string of bad restaurant experiences sour you on the whole idea of eating out? It seems to me kind of hyperbolic to say “craft beer being RUINED by new breweries opening that don’t know anything about brewing beer”. Honestly, it seems like you’re looking for a reason to have craft beer “ruined”. In any area of human experience, the final responsibility for how we perceive or interact with some area of arts or crafts or business rests with us, the consumers. If you allow a few bad breweries to ruin craft beer for you, you have nobody to blame but yourself because there are THOUSANDS of good ones to choose from.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Isn’t it hypocritical do say “just don’t buy their beer” regarding a small place, and then not say the exact same thing about large, more successful companies? Isn’t it hypocritical to end this comment with the mention of there being thousands of breweries to choose from and then express anger about 1 (ONE) brewery selling its assets? Does that help you to see why people are telling you to quit whining and enjoy a beer?

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        • Quit asking questions to which you’re trying to get ONE answer. NO, it is NOT hypocritical to say “just don’t buy their beer”, for the reasons stated. And what “large, more successful companies” are you talking about? What large, more-successful company sold out to AB/InBev? If you’re talking about other compoanies buying out craft brewers, NO, it is NOT the same thing as AB buying one because NO other company has AB’s heinous track record of thuggish, unethical business practices for 100 FREAKIN’ YEARS. NO other company is currently working, all over this country, to hinder the growth and well-being of craft beer. Duvel/Moortgat is the largest company to acquire a great US craft brewer lately (Boulevard) but Moortgat has been a model of corporate citizenship AND has the added virtue of never having brewed a drop of watery, poorly-conceived adjunct Pilsner. They’re an HONORABLE company and nobody batted an eye about them becoming part of the American craft community, especially as they ALREADY OWN BREWERY OMMEGANG.

          I don’t know what is so freakin’ impossible for people to get: It is ABSOLUTELY, IN NO WAY, “hypocritical to end this comment with the mention of there being thousands of breweries to choose from and then express anger about 1 (ONE) brewery selling its assets?” And your “quit whining and enjoy a beer?” comment just proves that you’re not really a craft beer fan and that you have zero concept of the importance of business ethics. Well, I’ve now had 400+ emails about this, from 18 countries and at least 90% of ’em were from people who DO get it and they’re just as horrified as I am. Take look in the mirror and DO NOT – EVER – respond to anything I write with a series of loaded questions to which you expect a certain answer. As you just read, you’re going to be disappointed, every time.

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          • It wasn’t me telling you to quit whining and enjoy the next of thousands of craft beers that will be available tomorrow. It was 50% of the responses on your post. I can’t tell if you’re purposely posting in this manner to stir traffic (it’s working), or if you’re just selectively looking at the responses, but you’re calling 50% of the vote something less than a “true fan” of craft beer.

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            • Yes, I am calling 50% of the commenters less than a true fan of craft beer. If they’re okay with AB buying craft breweries, that’s exactly what they are. And what you’re reading on my comments are just the ones that I allowed to show up. I don’t post ones that are either trolling (“You Suck!”, etc.) or anything that just basically says, “Good post!”. Neither of those contain any real information. I deleted 74 responses, which is about the percentage I usually delete. And, as for how the comments are running, my emails, which always run at least 5-1 more than comments on the site, are running 92 – 95% agreement. This post has now been viewed, according to WordPress diagnostics, by 25,185 people on this site and 111,446 at seattlepi.com. Out of 136,631 viewers, this handful complained and most of those were arguing about something – beer quality – which was nowhere NEAR the point of the post. So, yes, I’m calling ANYONE who thinks it’s just fine that AB/InBev is buying up craft breweries less than “true fan” of craft brewing. In fact, to put a fine point on it, I’m calling them an *opponent* of craft brewing.

              I hope that makes this clear.

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  25. I recently watched the film Beer Wars and was shocked to understand how some of the old breweries became extinct. Even in this new age of micro-breweries and craft beers being all the rage they are not immune to Corporate America. I share in your anger and disgust.

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  26. Hey there. Interesting read. They have now taken Goose Island and are brewing it at the AB Fort Collins plant. Terrible huh?! They have also invested in a barrel warehouse that can hold a humongous amount of barrel-aged beer. Do you think this is a good move for good beer from the brewing giant?

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    • If all we care about is the momentary jollies to be had from a barrel-aged beer, then that’s how you could look at AB’s building a barrel facility. But it would mean a lot more if they were not, daily and aggressively, trying to do anything they can to obstruct and discredit craft brewing, all over this country. Their history speaks loudly: “Success”, at AB, has always been about more than making their beer and selling it all and raking in the dough. It also must include the crushing of all of its competition, by whatever means necessary. (“Tied Houses” ring a bell?) Why would anyone expect them to change their business methods now, after 100+ years of success? It’s this simple: you’re a craft beer fan or not. If you call yourself that, you CANNOT support the sworn enemy of your passion. “…good move for good beer from the brewing giant?” That is EXACTLY what AB/InBev is hoping you’ll focus on: the momentary pleasure vs. the long-term damage. And if they’re right…craft beer is doomed.

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Speak yer piece, Pilgrim.

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