AB Inbev, the artist formerly known as Budweiser, carries a big stick and does not walk softly. They are often hated for hiding behind the word craft while turning local favorites into a local outcast. Is the hatred deserved? I think so. Not only do I think it is deserved, I think they go out of their way to earn it. If there was a long list of beer lovers telling stories about how they improved the product of the craft brewer they purchased that would help. Unfortunately, that list is blank. There is ZERO innovation or improvement in the quality of the brands they purchase. Let's face it AB Inbev hardly cares about the people that buy their products or the communities they are in. Sounds harsh, but all I see AB Inbev as is a top and bottom line company making all decisions based on sales and profits taking huge dollars from local communities.
The way AB Inbev presents themself is shameful. Do you honestly not know how to make really good fresh beer and get it in people's hand quickly? I guess their theory is if you can not make it on a large scale at huge margins why even bother. The term "product improvement" is not in their vocabulary. They literally have all of the tools to make an awesome beer and get it into people's hands quickly, yet they do not do it. Lagunitas owned by Heineken actually sells fresh beer with their Born Again Yesterday IPA which is a fantastic beer. Apparently AB is too big to figure it out.
Remember beer shirt Friday in high school back in the day. Many were proud to wear their Budweiser shirt. Show of hands of those who have old photos of their Dad or Uncle in a Budweiser shirt. USA!! USA!! Those were the days. Now knowing what quality ingredients and fresh beer taste like I realize AB is just fighting for continued market dominance while causing shelf space confusion with their craft brewery purchases.
But seriously AB your brand was an American classic and now it’s a fraud. Even the St Louis locals do not care about AB like they once did. Buy a downtown location and put a giant classic Budweiser sign on the roof. Sell all your mass produced beer to those that do not know any better and also hire a local brewer, call it Bud Small Batch, and let people enjoy some fresh and innovative beers. I want to be proud of what my Dad and Uncles drank, not annoyed by it. A new marketing idea pretty please. A sign of some heart perhaps? Good thing you bought Goose Island years ago making most craft beer new comers oblivious. I was slowly coming to terms with ABs ways until the summer of 2017 when I visited Bend, Oregon and attended a concert. You’re in a town that attributes a portion of its boom to the rise of craft beer and at the 10,000 plus people event there is not a single beer available not made by AB. What a joke! AB’s use of money to block out local craft beer like Charles Barkley does not make you lovable like Sir Charles; it makes you undesirable like brettanomyces at a winery.
From a dollar standpoint I am NOT confused as to why craft brewers are selling to AB. Cha-ching! $$$! The time and money that goes into making a craft brewery successful is payout worthy. What I am confused by is why AB is going about things the way they do. ABs ways are clearly causing the craft beer wave to swell, not ebb, hopefully they stop hiding behind another's fresh ideas and be original. Here’s a few thoughts, Bud Craft, Bud Small Batch, Bud Local, Bud Fresh, Bud Ripe or New Anheuser. Then back it up with fresh beer. Face it AB, you really are a bunch of jerks. How about offering a Bud Scholarship. How about opening a brewery restaurant with a massive Budweiser sign on top of it rather then a 10 Barrel sign, then most will think “classic brand” not “poser”.
As America becomes more and more generic remember there is likely a town near you with a line for their latest release of fresh excellent beer that funds a local hard working guy or gal brewer, their employees and their families. Also remember that the bulk of that money goes right back into the local economy to be spent several times over. When you see 10 Barrel locations pop up around the country, remember what you are seeing is a wolf in sheep's clothing. That wolf is taking money from the local brewers that put your towns beer scene on the map and paying it out as dividends to shareholders that don’t even know your town exist. Bend, San Diego and Denver to name a few. #DrinkLocal
But really, ANHEUSER PLEASE!!!!
Original entry date April 2018.