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Craft Beers: Lies, Marketing, and Public Relations

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1 hour ago, pras said:

This article confirms what I have been saying all along.  That being purchased allows the breweries to focus on making new and interesting beers and making them in larger quantities.

Where do you see this confirmation? I honestly can't finish the article.

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59 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Where do you see this confirmation? I honestly can't finish the article.

For instance, with Goose Island, production of full year beers has been moved to a beer factory, freeing up capacity and allowing the actual brewery to use their resources towards making more esoteric or special beers that had more limited production runs.  Goose Island has made more barrel aged and sours and the distribution is better.  

People discount what the brewing giants do, but what they do is pretty amazing.  Try a miller light anywhere in the world at any time and it tastes just like the last one you had.  This is no small achomplishment.

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One point made in the article is the craft breweries can move their flagship beers to large production facilities and brew them with more consistency while freeing up space at their own production facilities to experiment with new beers. 

Or what Pras said.

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5 hours ago, pras said:

People discount what the brewing giants do, but what they do is pretty amazing.  Try a miller light anywhere in the world at any time and it tastes just like the last one you had.  This is no small achomplishment.

Pras, you know I respect you, but this is *exactly* the thing that I heard Todd Kliman say about McDonald's about ten years ago. He added that it was a thing of beauty - I think it's a think of great ugliness, replicating mediocrity. Schweppes Club soda tastes exactly the same all over the world - so does Diet Coke (I'm guessing here and may be wrong),. and I'm just not impressed at all.

*However*, I thought your first paragraph had some teeth in it.

5 hours ago, Tweaked said:

One point made in the article is the craft breweries can move their flagship beers to large production facilities and brew them with more consistency while freeing up space at their own production facilities to experiment with new beers. 

Or what Pras said.

I guess my point - which you obviously disagree with (and I'm certainly not saying "I'm right and everyone else is wrong*) is that the main product has gotten worse. I agree that my sample size may not be large enough, and that I don't pay close enough attention, but my perception is that quality declines. Yes, space is freed up at their production facilities, but that's no guarantee of anything. I just use restaurants as a parallel example - I cannot think of one example where expansion has helped a restaurant. Not one. There may be some that I'm not thinking of, but in all cases that I am thinking of, there is a decrease in quality, and I've seen too many formerly great beers become mediocre to be excited about any of this. There's a *reason* these "knee-jerk" quotes about quality going to hell were being issued by people who know what they're doing, and when I was reading the article, I couldn't help but feel it was subsidized by Big Beer, because these are exactly the things that my marketing machine would say to appease people.

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I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with you, just stating the points made in the article.  The former craft brewers also state that they now have access to better technology (brewing equipment), brewing experts, and ingredients.  Which they believe allows them to brew a better product.

I drink a lot of Brooklyn Brewery beer and it's always a solid product even though it is massed brewed in Utica. 

Now, do I look at Devil's Backbone differently after they sold a stake in their company.  Absolutely.  And given a choice I'll definitely buy another local craft beer over them.

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7 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Schweppes Club soda tastes exactly the same all over the world - so does Diet Coke (I'm guessing here and may be wrong),. and I'm just not impressed at all.

Brewing beer is a technical process (with biology also involved), which is not comparable to making club soda or diet coke.  Tons of variables must be controlled, such as temperature, timing, ingredients, yeast.  Some of the variables are very hard to control.  A local brewer recently moved production of their number 1 seller offsite to be brewed by FX Matt in Utica.  They had to work over a period of several months so that FX Matt could dial it in and get it right.  Once they got it right, in a blind taste test, they thought the product brewed offsite by a big industrial brewer actually tasted better than what they brewed in their brewery.  The flagship has been brewed offsite for almost a year now and it has freed them to be more creative and producer a wider variety of beer.

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36 minutes ago, pras said:

Brewing beer is a technical process (with biology also involved), which is not comparable to making club soda or diet coke.  Tons of variables must be controlled, such as temperature, timing, ingredients, yeast.  Some of the variables are very hard to control.  A local brewer recently moved production of their number 1 seller offsite to be brewed by FX Matt in Utica.  They had to work over a period of several months so that FX Matt could dial it in and get it right.  Once they got it right, in a blind taste test, they thought the product brewed offsite by a big industrial brewer actually tasted better than what they brewed in their brewery.  The flagship has been brewed offsite for almost a year now and it has freed them to be more creative and producer a wider variety of beer.

I just want to say two things: First, surely brewing Diet Coke is a technical process also.

More importantly, I'm not saying either you or Tweaked are wrong and that I'm right; I'm merely offering up a different opinion, so please don't take my comment(s) as some sort of sniveling nyah-nyah. I was tired when I first read the article, and I really *couldn't* finish it - every time I got 1/3 of the way through, my mind started drifting, and I'd have to start over (I found it to be a rather dull, monotonous tome). However, it is absolutely my experience that no food product (beyond a certain level that one individual can supervise to some degree) improves when expanding beyond a certain size - I cannot think of a single one, and my personal experience with beers selling to large breweries has been a decades-long anecdotal witnessing of a decline in quality. Please do *not* think I am arguing or disrespecting either one of you two - I would be *thrilled* if great beer was mass-produced and widely available for less money; I've just never seen it before.

Cheers,
Rocks

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I overall agree with you, Don, that almost no food product (or heck, fashion, art, whatever) seems to improve with mass production. But, there are degrees of what constitutes mass production. Fundamentally, if you don't think Lagunitas or Brooklyn or Deschutes or Bell produce good beer, then I think we (Pras, Tweaked, and I) are talking past each other. Not that it makes it right or wrong, but I think most beer fans would say those are pretty great beers. Russian River products are somewhat better than other beers I've had, and so were the sours and lambics at Cascade in Portland, but seriously, just marginally. But, I can't get them anywhere. But, I wouldn't say it was so much better, and if someone who knew beer pretty well felt that a Goose Island sour was better than a specific Cascade product, I wouldn't really have a leg to stand on to say that it was that much better, other than the fact I just love Cascade's stuff. Anyway, it's certainly too short of a time point. Goose has surpassed expecations, let's just hope it stays that way. 

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7 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I just want to say two things: First, surely brewing Diet Coke is a technical process also.

More importantly, I'm not saying either you or Tweaked are wrong and that I'm right; I'm merely offering up a different opinion, so please don't take my comment(s) as some sort of sniveling nyah-nyah. I was tired when I first read the article, and I really *couldn't* finish it - every time I got 1/3 of the way through, my mind started drifting, and I'd have to start over (I found it to be a rather dull, monotonous tome). However, it is absolutely my experience that no food product (beyond a certain level that one individual can supervise to some degree) improves when expanding beyond a certain size - I cannot think of a single one, and my personal experience with beers selling to large breweries has been a decades-long anecdotal witnessing of a decline in quality. Please do *not* think I am arguing or disrespecting either one of you two - I would be *thrilled* if great beer was mass-produced and widely available for less money; I've just never seen it before.

Cheers,
Rocks

don, are you saying that the quality of beer available in America (let's say American-produced beer) has been subject to a "decades-long . . . decline in quality?" that's quite an astonishing claim in the face of the craft boom and indeed bubble in my eyes. in decades, we've gone from true beer die-hards who made trips to Colorado to try Coors, because that's as far east as it went, and Bud or Miller on tap everywhere to a DC Brau IPA and a couple other local beers on tap even at bland places or places not thought to care about their beer selection like dive bars and hotels.

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12 hours ago, franch said:

don, are you saying that the quality of beer available in America (let's say American-produced beer) has been subject to a "decades-long . . . decline in quality?" that's quite an astonishing claim in the face of the craft boom and indeed bubble in my eyes. in decades, we've gone from true beer die-hards who made trips to Colorado to try Coors, because that's as far east as it went, and Bud or Miller on tap everywhere to a DC Brau IPA and a couple other local beers on tap even at bland places or places not thought to care about their beer selection like dive bars and hotels.

No, I'm saying that individual brands have suffered the decline you're referring to. For example, Pilsner Urquell. I'm sure there are individual beers that have gotten better; I just don't know of any.

The game these days seems to come out with a brand that "craft" beer lovers like, sell it to a larger brewery, and then either participate in its decline, or get the hell out of Dodge.

It's no different than with restaurants - come out with something popular, then start to clone it, and watch the quality go downhill, and hope you get rich before people realize it wasn't even all that great to start with (although sometimes it was). By the time it completely sucks, you'll be so rich you won't care.

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2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

The game these days seems to come out with a brand that "craft" beer lovers like, sell it to a larger brewery, and then either participate in its decline, or get the hell out of Dodge.

Is this a prediction?  

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5 hours ago, DonRocks said:

No, I'm saying that individual brands have suffered the decline you're referring to. For example, Pilsner Urquell. I'm sure there are individual beers that have gotten better; I just don't know of any.

Don, in your contributions to this discussion I'm seeing a lot of references to "anecdotal evidence" and "perception" of the decline of these brews.  When it comes to evaluation of quality, the expectation of what you are going to be tasting is a powerful, powerful drug.  If you expect that breweries taken over by larger conglomerates will produce crappier beer it's going to be almost impossible to disentangle that from what your brain perceives from your tongue.  It's healthy to acknowledge that influence (and nobody is immune to this, no matter how much they would like to believe!).  I'm not as comfortable as you assigning a strict, linear correlation between quality and production volume; this thread has several examples of breweries that have grown and maintained their quality.  Although I'm with you on Urquell, it is a shadow of what was once maybe the world's greatest pilsener.

I'll offer up one more personal (anecdotal ;)) example to illustrate the point: Lagunitas 'A Little Sumpin' Sumpin'' (god, how that name has grown to annoy me ...).  This one came on the market towards the beginning of the Belgian pale ale or IPA boom, where primarily West Coast brewers started using Belgian yeast strains for wheat or sour beers in their IPA and IIPA recipes.  I thought the results were stunning.  This one, along with Green Flash's 'Le Freak', were my go to beers for a period of time.  Both have now grown to be bi-coastal operations (I wouldn't be surprised if Lagunitas has 10x the production volume now).  I still taste and enjoy Sumpin' fairly regularly, but something is ... just not the same.  However, I can't pin down what.  Has it actually changed as they shifted production to the East Coast?  Has my knowledge that Safeway now stocks 3-4 different Lagunitas styles seeped into the reptilian portion of my beer snob brain and exerted some unconscious influence?  Have I just had it often enough that the novelty has worn off, and been inundated with more beers of the same style?  In other words, has the perceptual space for Belgian IPAs grown so much that this beer has shifted to another place in my memory?  I don't know, and there is no way for me to really figure it out.  The brewers could probably show me chemical analysis of this beer today and from 7 years ago., but even if they were identical it wouldn't change my perceived shift in it's quality.

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On ‎8‎/‎26‎/‎2016 at 5:24 AM, DonRocks said:

No, I'm saying that individual brands have suffered the decline you're referring to. For example, Pilsner Urquell. I'm sure there are individual beers that have gotten better; I just don't know of any.

The game these days seems to come out with a brand that "craft" beer lovers like, sell it to a larger brewery, and then either participate in its decline, or get the hell out of Dodge.

It's no different than with restaurants - come out with something popular, then start to clone it, and watch the quality go downhill, and hope you get rich before people realize it wasn't even all that great to start with (although sometimes it was). By the time it completely sucks, you'll be so rich you won't care.

i'll take the decline in Pilsner Urquell and some other brands in exchange for having several great to world-class breweries within 40 minutes of DC and having at the bare minimum a quality IPA on tap in literally every bar in DC I have been to that serves beer.

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On August 26, 2016 at 5:24 AM, DonRocks said:

The game these days seems to come out with a brand that "craft" beer lovers like, sell it to a larger brewery, and then either participate in its decline, or get the hell out of Dodge.

Don, this is a pretty cynical view of the industry.  In my experience craft brewers get into the business because they love beer and are actually passionate about the product they create.  Most if not all of them were home brewers who caught the bug. This isn't Silicon Valley where everybody's raison d'être is to develop some niche market app for the sole purpose of selling to the highest bidder once they've gained enough market share.  Are there brewers that have "sold out"?  Sure, just like in every industry.  There are three choices:

1) Work to expand production while maintaining independence, keep innovation going in a small scale while letting your flagship beers bring in the necessary capital and market like hell to differentiate (call this the Dogfish Model)

2) Find yourself in a situation where you have a product whose demand outstrips your ability to keep up or expand, or you just don't want to invest the capital for whatever reason.  Risk stagnation and brand dilution, or outsource your best sellers to free up in-house production for smaller volume beers you want to continue growing (the Flying Dog/FX Matt Model, or on a larger scale Goose Island)

3) Say "Fuck it, I'm out!" and cash the biggest paycheck you can negotiate, or hand over the brand to a conglomerate in return for creative control.  This seems to be the model under the most scrutiny in this thread, but I actually think it's the least common of the three in the U.S, and much more common maybe back in the 90s/early 00s when selling out was the only proven option for nationwide distribution.  Now you have Dogfish/Lagunitas/Green Flash/Flying Dog/Deschutes/et al.  They have shown that the tide has turned on the Big 3 (well, Big International Two at this point) and they can't use sheer force of distribution rights to bully smaller brewers.  Interestingly, I find the beers that this accusation is lobbed at were originally the least notable.  You had to come up with something really special to draw the attention of InBev, and that something really special is usually a relatively bland beer with enough "craft"-y mass appeal that moved a ton of product and had a marketable story behind it.  I think the space has grown beyond that market pressure, though.  There is just SO much out there to choose from.

This thread has reminded me that I've become way to insular in my beer purchases recently (hell, I'm in a rut).  Off to go research some beers I remember from 20+ years ago and see what is still operating as an independent concern!

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On 8/15/2016 at 2:37 PM, reedm said:

Well Harumph...

"Amid Deal with Anheuser-Busch, Craft Brewery Gets Kicked Out of Its Own Festival" by Fritz Hahn on washingtonpost.com

I find myself at Devil's Backbone a lot.  My mother-in-law lives at Wintergreen, so one could call this place my home-away-from-my-home-away-from-my-home (wow that made me sound like an ass).  My wife and I headed up to the house for a getaway on our first anniversary of dating, too many years ago.  It was late, I was grumpy/tired/hungry/thirsty.  We turned the corner from 151 and I saw the giant copper tanks and my mood changed in a hurry.  I'm a mug club guy.  

What I'm saying is I like the place.  While I don't know Steve Crandall, I've gotten to know some of the bartenders over the years - all good people from what I can tell.

Now, Devil's Backbone is no longer a craft brewer.  There are clear definitions of craft brewery, and they no longer meet those definitions.  But good God, the reaction...  from customers.  From the craft brewers association and some of their member breweries.  From some in the media.  Whenever someone mentions A/B you can see the staff visibly withdraw - having been the subject of so much verbal abuse over the last few months based on a decision they had nothing to do with.

All of this against a company that did a great deal of good for their industry.  The Backbone always participated in collaboration projects with other breweries - often times breweries that were far less successful and needed DB more than DB needed them.  Hosting events at their facility, participating as board members, etc.  Even after all that happened this year, someone mentioned that Crandall still hosted the brewers dinner the night before the event.

A/B didn't buy them because they liked Nelson County, or because they liked the venue.  They bought them because DB brews several specific, quality beers that fit well into A/B's portfolio of offerings.  They didn't buy Wild Wolf or Blue Mountain.  Devil's Backbone's beer is better (again, in my opinion, but sales and production seem to back this up).

So let's take A/B out of the picture for a moment.  Two weeks ago I was there on a random Saturday afternoon.  I stopped by for an early lunch, then again on my way back up the mountain before dinner.  There were easily 500+ people there at any given time throughout the day.  There is zero chance they had less than $100,000 in sales that day, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was three times that.  They had an offsite production facility brewing large quantities of product for regional distribution.  They had moved beyond the days of having supply chain and distribution challenges already.

So what has changed?  When the truck pulls up to their Lexington production facility, the side of it says Budweiser.  They are still brewing a lot of small batch, experimental beers - almost all of which are quite good.  They are still employing hundreds of people in an area of the state that needs more jobs.

I don't like the fact that they sold to A/B.  But local company makes it big, puts out good product, employs a lot of good people, gets bought out, and still offers solid, innovative beers...  Would the people at the CBA have turned down the check?  It smells a little of sour hops to me (sorry, I couldn't resist).

P.s. They are opening a distillery on site at the Basecamp, appears to be branded as Devil's Backbone.  I would love to see the contractual gymnastics that had to be performed for A/B to sign off on allowing a distillery into their portfolio, with the same branding as one of their beers

P.s.s. The ironic thing is I actually find the Vienna to be one of their least solid offerings.  

P.s.s.s. If you haven't visited the 151 trail, its beautiful this time of year.  Find a chair next to the fire pit at the Basecamp and breathe - craft beer isn't dying, more will come along.

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On ‎8‎/‎25‎/‎2016 at 8:19 AM, pras said:

 A local brewer recently moved production of their number 1 seller offsite to be brewed by FX Matt in Utica.  They had to work over a period of several months so that FX Matt could dial it in and get it right.  Once they got it right, in a blind taste test, they thought the product brewed offsite by a big industrial brewer actually tasted better than what they brewed in their brewery.  

Yeah!  Let's hear it for FX Matt*!  This brewery is in my hometown and craft beer craze pretty much saved them from going under years ago.  They brew a ton of "hometown" beers there including Sam Adams, and Old Heiruch (is that still around) and a ton of others. 

They have a great facility and give a good tour that's worth a stop if you happen to be in central NY

* From the commercials in the 80s "The F stands for fussy and the X stands for extra fussy"

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As a recent resident of Asheville, which brands itself as "Beer City USA," this is an interesting argument.

Asheville claims to have more breweries per capita than any city in the country (from what I understand, it's between here and Bend, OR, home of Deschutes). We have breweries popping up in every part of the city. From downtown where a lot of old warehouses have been converted to breweries, to the town center area called Biltmore Park near where I live (think Reston Town Center) to even the small pizza place near us in a small building behind a fire station where the owner is a passionate home brewer and is looking to up his game.

If a restaurant is not attached to a brewery, you can believe they have a great tap selection of local offerings and craft beer from around the country.

Several of the names here are, in my opinion, brewing some world class beer: namely Burial and Wicked Weed. The latter’s Funkatorium facility produces some remarkable barrel aged beers and sours.

Then you have the big two national brands who have built their East Coast production facilities here: Sierra Nevada and New Belgium. This seems to be the new trend for West Coast breweries, and I think these two started it. Now Oskar Blues is nearby in Brevard, Stone is in Richmond, Deschutes is going to Roanoke (which Asheville thought they were sure to get, and it’s a sore subject around here) and Ballast Point in the Tidewater. Wouldn’t be surprised if more are on the way.

I work right across the river from Sierra, and can see their tanks from my desk. Their facility is unbelievable; it’s as if Willy Wonka opened a brewery. When you drive in you feel like you’re approaching a mountain resort. Everything is shimmering in chrome and copper and brick and wood. They have a fantastic restaurant with innovative small plates, much different from your typical brewpub food – though they have good pizzas, burgers and wings, too. There’s a giant back yard with a concert stage, fire pits, sitting areas among the trees and dogs and kids everywhere. As for the beer they’re offering, they have a lot of unique beers native just to the brewpub, in addition to their national brands like their pale ale, Celebration and more. I just returned from Finland, and my hotel in the city of Tampere two hours north of Helsinki had Sierra beers. It’s remarkable what they’re able to do. And they’re employing a lot of people and bringing in a lot of people to enjoy their food and beers.

I’ve not been to New Belgium, but from what I understand, they are almost exclusively focused on production with just a small taproom on site. No restaurant or anything like that.

These breweries are all independent, but clearly have the capital to expand like they have. I asked someone at one of the smaller local breweries what the local breweries think of them. She said it was mixed, that it’s given Asheville more national recognition, but for her brewery, they have lost employees to the big boys because they have better pay and benefits. And the big breweries are getting well trained employees.

I’ve found that breweries are some of the few businesses that embrace competition because they know that you’re not going to be set in your ways and drink one beer for the rest of your life. It’s not like the old days where you were a Bud man or a Miller man.

The beer bubble will probably one day burst, as there are plenty more breweries on the way in Asheville. I don’t know if any of our local brands will sell out, but for now there seems to be the attitude that they will not. But it’s hard to turn down the money and potential to expand your brand.

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4 hours ago, ol_ironstomach said:

And yet right now, thanks to growing awareness of its desirability, traditional mezcal is under threat of house-style industrialization by large commercial interests, mainly the large tequila conglomerates.  And worse, as measures have been introduced to use government regulation to hijack the name and prohibit its traditional use.

This is the brief golden age of mezcal, its availability here on the rise, and before it's completely ruined.  This is the moment American whiskey enthusiasts enjoyed 12-15 years ago before Wall Street moved in.  I probably would have missed it too, if not for our own Jake Parrott.

Sounds kind of like "Craft Beer." ;)

I think the FDA should require annual production figures on every single beer sold in this country.

(Great post, btw. This is also the moment Burgundy enthusiasts enjoyed 20-30 years ago before the world market moved in, and upped prices by such unbelievable multiples that I know people who have *retired* from owning it - speaking of which, I suspect Bill Thomas isn't exactly hurting. The way you look at Mezcal now is *exactly* the way I was looking at Bourbon 10 years ago; unfortunately, I missed out on it.) :(

The *huge* advantage distilled beverages have is that they don't get heat-damaged. However, companies need to begin investing *big money* in counterfeit-proof labeling RIGHT NOW if they haven't already. Learn from what happened to wine - lots of people lost lots of money from counterfeiters.

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On ‎7‎/‎7‎/‎2016 at 1:47 PM, DonRocks said:

Lipstick on a pig. This isn't craft beer; it's crap beer. You can go through the whole list of 7-11 beers: Fat Tire, Yuengling, Sam Adams, Lagunitas, Bell's, Deschutes, Brooklyn, Oskar Blues, Anchor Steam, even the once-excellent Great Lakes ... it's *all crap* or quickly turning into crap. Some of these were good, honest beers at one time in the past - and some still may be while they "establish themselves as 7-11-Level Craft Beers," but if any remain that haven't totally gone to shit, they will within the next 5-10 years: Bet on it.

(Emphasis added.)  Historic Anchor Steam Brewery Purchased by Sapporo, by Ellen Fort, Aug 3, 2017, 9:28am PDT, on sf.eater.com.

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On 7/7/2016 at 1:47 PM, DonRocks said:

Lipstick on a pig. This isn't craft beer; it's crap beer. You can go through the whole list of 7-11 beers: Fat Tire, Yuengling, Sam Adams, Lagunitas, Bell's, Deschutes, Brooklyn, Oskar Blues, Anchor Steam, even the once-excellent Great Lakes ... it's *all crap* or quickly turning into crap. Some of these were good, honest beers at one time in the past - and some still may be while they "establish themselves as 7-11-Level Craft Beers," but if any remain that haven't totally gone to shit, they will within the next 5-10 years: Bet on it.

23 minutes ago, dcs said:

(Emphasis added.)  Historic Anchor Steam Brewery Purchased by Sapporo, by Ellen Fort, Aug 3, 2017, 9:28am PDT, on sf.eater.com.

(Emphasis also added.) 

May 4, 2017 - "Major Craft Brewer Lagunitas Sold to Heineken" by Erin DeJesus on eater.com

I don't *want* to be cynical; I can't help it.

I still mostly like Great Lakes, but I believe it's "shelf life" is going to be limited:

Jul 24, 2017 - "Great Lakes Brewing Company Quenches Increased Demand with Manufacturing Analytics Solution by Rockwell Automation"

I personally prefer malt over bitter hops (which you often find in east-coast beers) - Fat Tire was one of the few good, craft beers with a malty flavor profile; it has since acquired a weird, almost "sandy" component (that's not a very good descriptor, but I know what I'm trying to say). Bell's is not what it was five years ago - it was very good, but it's really becoming insipid.

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Lagunitas had already sold half of itself to Heineken in 2015 and Anchor was sold in 2010. I'm not sure what inference to draw from Great Lakes buying quality control equipment but your original post is more misinformed than prescient.

Also Oskar Blues sold itself to PE and New Belgium is now employee owned.

I haven't noticed a quality change in Bells at all either.

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On 8/24/2016 at 5:44 PM, pras said:

This article confirms what I have been saying all along.  That being purchased allows the breweries to focus on making new and interesting beers and making them in larger quantities.

I suppose this could be good or bad depending on one's point of view.  I was at Devil's Backbone over the weekend, and they're definitely experimenting with 'new', albeit less 'interesting' to me.  I've never really gotten into the recent craze of smoked beers - this is a charity contribution for firefighters so the tie-in makes sense, I just don't care for the flavor.  They have a sour IPA on tap - again, I understand that sours are all the rage these days (they had two sours and a gose on this weekend), but a sour IPA?  Not my thing.  A spruce IPA in August.  An apricot dunkel.  

I'm sure some beer enthusiasts enjoy this variety of the new and trendy.  I used to go to DB and have a hard time picking the few I could try because so many were appealing.  Now I find myself ordering the Striped Bass or Eight Point every time and enjoying the setting more than the selection.

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3 hours ago, genericeric said:

I suppose this could be good or bad depending on one's point of view.  I was at Devil's Backbone over the weekend, and they're definitely experimenting with 'new', albeit less 'interesting' to me.  I've never really gotten into the recent craze of smoked beers - this is a charity contribution for firefighters so the tie-in makes sense, I just don't care for the flavor.  They have a sour IPA on tap - again, I understand that sours are all the rage these days (they had two sours and a gose on this weekend), but a sour IPA?  Not my thing.  A spruce IPA in August.  An apricot dunkel.  

I'm sure some beer enthusiasts enjoy this variety of the new and trendy.  I used to go to DB and have a hard time picking the few I could try because so many were appealing.  Now I find myself ordering the Striped Bass or Eight Point every time and enjoying the setting more than the selection.

Truth to that... lot of silly business, and that's just because they can. People forgetting to stick to the roots, and just making great versions of great products. But, a low ABV sour IPA .. it tastes kinda refreshing in the backyard on a hot DC day, right?

I think the new big trend is the Hazy IPA, that's soft and dank. It's a trend I can get behind. Veil in Richmond and Dancing Gnome in Pittsburgh have great versions. Wonder who will mainstream it first. 

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On 8/15/2017 at 1:56 PM, Simul Parikh said:

Truth to that... lot of silly business, and that's just because they can. People forgetting to stick to the roots, and just making great versions of great products. But, a low ABV sour IPA .. it tastes kinda refreshing in the backyard on a hot DC day, right?

I think the new big trend is the Hazy IPA, that's soft and dank. It's a trend I can get behind. Veil in Richmond and Dancing Gnome in Pittsburgh have great versions. Wonder who will mainstream it first. 

Hazy IPA is tough to mainstream because freshness is very important for the style.

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