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How Anheuser Busch is stopping the craft beer revolution
February 12, 2013 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Both Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors employ "category space analysts," whose job is to visit a store like 7-Eleven and consult them on the optimal placements of beer on the shelves.
"They are doing the sets, they [say to a store]: 'We can do that for you,'" says Koch. "And then they can take my beer from eye level to the top shelf, which drops my sales rate in half." -- Elizabeth Flock at US News reports on the increasingly dirty struggle between craft beer brewers and the big brewing companies in the US.
posted by MartinWisse (173 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
They can shuffle shelf space all they want. I cross state lines to get stuff from Stone Brewery because it's not distributed where I live.
posted by hellojed at 11:29 AM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


"And then they can take my beer from eye level to the top shelf, which drops my sales rate in half."

I shall remember this next time someone tells me that marketing tricks don't work on them.
posted by jaduncan at 11:29 AM on February 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Do they also employ tasters? If so, they might consider that no matter where they put that swill, I will dutifully seek out the smaller craft ale because it actually tastes like something.
posted by klausman at 11:31 AM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's illegal for supermarkets and gas stations to sell full (more than 3.2) beer and liquor in the state of Colorado.

That's why Colorado has awesome beer.

Seriously, that's why. Liquor stores aren't chains; there's not some guy in an office in Chicago that InBev can bribe to switch out placement in liquor stores all over the country. Liquor stores have relationships with local brewers, and can feature them. They know what they're doing. They should be the ones selling booze.
posted by koeselitz at 11:32 AM on February 12, 2013 [14 favorites]


"And then they can take my beer from eye level to the top shelf, which drops my sales rate in half."

Top shelf is eye level. Of course, I'm 6'4". Maybe they aren't marketing to me.

Also, if someone is too lazy to look up or down, they deserve to drink shit beer.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:32 AM on February 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


Is this essentially any different from the typical pattern of big corporations exerting their power to destroy the smaller competition?
posted by aught at 11:33 AM on February 12, 2013


Hold up. Jim Koch of Sam Adams commercial fame is the small craft beer brewer in this scenario? That's not exactly a small brewer...

*Rs the FA*

In recent years, craft brewers have sounded an alarm over the clout of Anheuser-Busch Inbev and MillerCoors, who today control 90 percent of the beer market.

...Oh. Wow.
posted by maryr at 11:33 AM on February 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Got to any restaurant and ask what beers they have on draft. Bud, Coor, Labatts will always be named first, followed (eventually) by Sam Adams or Yuengling and then maybe a craft beer or two. In most places the number of taps is limited and the odds are stacked against the smaller breweries.
posted by tommasz at 11:35 AM on February 12, 2013


I fondly remember stopping by some little package store in Western Mass where they had labeled the Bud/Coors/Miller cooler "Canoe Sex." I asked the guy at the counter if he knew what it meant and he admitted to being the one to put the sign there. He smiled and said, "The owner thinks it's because campers will buy more for their river trip."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:35 AM on February 12, 2013 [56 favorites]


Dirty struggle, allright. A few years back, on a road trip to Montreal, I loaded up the car with Quebec beer, as one does. I was tremendously excited to learn of a new microbrew called St-Urbain, which happens to be the street on which I used to live.

Took it home, and it was absolute shit. I mean, it was really, really fucking terrible. I couldn't understand -- Quebec micros are generally outstanding, and even the worst of the bunch is still miles ahead of the big brewers.

Turns out that St-Urbain was a fake microbrew put out by Labatt. Their response to the competition of a better product was to fake an entire brand, and put it out there, as though no-one would notice at the first sip that this was utter shit.

I'd been had. Nowhere was there the slightest hint of it being a Labatt/InBev product. They used an obsolete subsidiary label to hide themselves behind, in tiny letters on the bottom of the case. Well, they got me. They suckered me good. Just the once, mind.

But I was still filled with Teh Rage, not only having wasted money on that bilge, but on having used that space in the car which could have been filled with Boreale, Unibroue, Cheval Blanc, McAuslan.

Only beer I've ever poured down the drain.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:35 AM on February 12, 2013 [35 favorites]


We just got news that a local craft brewer may be upgrading their few-miles-away operations by moving their brewery to a larger space that is IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD, as in three blocks away. My wife and I promised each other we would drink only their beer if they move here. Exciting times. It's amazing how much more beer you can enjoy if the biggest task ahead of you is the walk home.
posted by resurrexit at 11:36 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone should just use that against them. An advert that says.. "look for us on the *top* shelf". :-)
posted by smidgen at 11:36 AM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


"And then they can take my beer from eye level to the top shelf, which drops my sales rate in half."

I'm having a hard time believing this. A craft beer is generally not an impulse purchase decision. It isn't like you could go either way between Chimay and Pabst Blue Ribbon. I would think that craft beers succeed because their product doesn't taste like piss, not because they are sitting on the right shelf.

But then I know nothing of marketing, but I tell you... if all that stood between me and a 50% sales drop was shelf placement I would feel pretty nervous.
posted by dgran at 11:36 AM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


This has been the practice of every food/beverage manufacturer in every supermarket in the US for years. Is beer really a new entry into the shelf wars? I can't imagine this is a new thing.

I'm lucky enough in SoCal to have Total Wine and BevMo around. They have giant craft beer selections and tend to shove the InBev stuff in the back corner. I don't bother with the local 7-11 and market for beer. (Also lucky to have the newly opened Stone store 30 minutes away for growler fills.)
posted by eyeballkid at 11:37 AM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


So the larger companies control >90% of the market, and are spending their time trying to crush thousands of newer, smaller companies that form less than 6% of the market?

It's like a case study in how monopolies stifle innovation!
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 11:38 AM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Concentration in the U.S. Beer Industry

I used this chart to help me avoid Blue Moon, Kona, Goose Island, and Widmer Brothers at a recent beer tasting event. I don't care if the beer is great, part of the reason I'm drinking "craft brew" is that it isn't owned by a mega-corp.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:38 AM on February 12, 2013 [25 favorites]


A craft beer is generally not an impulse purchase decision.

Sure it is. I'm going to a party. I'm going to bring a six pack of beer. What do I bring? Probably the first thing I see that looks interesting. Shelf placement is hugely influential in that scenario.
posted by maryr at 11:40 AM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


During Super Bowl XLVII, Anheuser-Busch InBev was the only beer company to get advertising time, spending more than $20 million on ads that introduced a sophisticated new beer called "Black Crown."

HAHA_OH_WOW.JPEG

"They're calling it 'Black Crown' golden amber lager. To me, that just smacks of putting a bunch of buzzwords in a bin and pouring it out. They're thinking: 'What will people just discovering beer respond to? Let's just call it that,'" he says.

Ugh I can smell the inevitable Guy Fieri endorsement from here. WASSUP NACHOS THIS YOUR DAWG GUY COMIN AT YOU WITH SOME INTEL ON BLACK CROWN GOLDEN AMBER THE PERFECT SOPHISTICATED BREW TO THROWN DOWN WITH SOME BLACKENED JALAPENO FOUR-CHEESE IPECAC SYRUP DOUBLE FRIED BATHROOM BLASTERS.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:41 AM on February 12, 2013 [35 favorites]


The "fucking close to water" thing has always bothered me. If water tasted anything like that shit I'd die of dehydration in a week.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:41 AM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


A craft beer is generally not an impulse purchase decision.

Maybe, but I think it's equally possible that beer itself is often an impulse purchase, and so whether you gravitate to the blue, red/white, and gold boxes that take up two-thirds of the cooler or the stuff you've never heard of that's .25 to .50 cents more per bottle can be sort of impulsive. Imagine if you knew nothing about beer other than that you were going to buy some--that's probably most people unless you live in a "hip" area and shop at the "hip" supermarket and have confirmation bias. Recognize that many, many people buy beer impulsively at gas stations and the big grocery chains and I think the marketing/cooler location takes on a whole new perspective.
posted by resurrexit at 11:41 AM on February 12, 2013


This is even happening at the state level. Here in Wisconsin, one of the LEAST noticed aspects of the Scott Walker "reforms" was a provision that was designed to lock out Anheuser-Busch from the three-tier system mentioned in the article, which sounds great, until you realize it was essentially there to protect MillerCoors, which has a larger presence in the state, all at the expense of popular craft brewers like New Glarus.

I would think that craft beers succeed because their product doesn't taste like piss, not because they are sitting on the right shelf.

Oh, I'm sure that a craft brewery could almost survive on being a sought-out niche product, but it's a lot more profitable to be able to sell in enough volume that you don't have to convince the liquor store to carry you every single month after every single month. You don't get there unless you are in front of consumers.

This is a bit like the whole cult TV show issue. Sure, it's great having that core of rabid, devoted fans, but you don't sell to a network (or Netflix) unless you can pull eyeballs. Well, which do you want to be? The cancelled but beloved cult show, or the one that goes the distance and reaches syndication (or perhaps these days, DVD sales and Netflix)?
posted by dhartung at 11:42 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


In my area groceries, the budmillerbuschcoors swill is distinctly segregated from the craft brews and imports.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:43 AM on February 12, 2013


It's like a case study in how monopolies stifle innovation!

lol, beerjoke
posted by resurrexit at 11:43 AM on February 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


"And then they can take my beer from eye level to the top shelf, which drops my sales rate in half."

I'm having a hard time believing this.
Keep in mind this is the guy from Sam Adams talking, which is not quite a craft brewery so much; their beers are drunk by people who are looking for something better than Miller Lite or whatever, not somebody in the mood for an overhopped double IPA.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:45 AM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


This works? Damn consumers you lazy.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:46 AM on February 12, 2013


I'm lucky enough in SoCal to have Total Wine and BevMo around. They have giant craft beer selections and tend to shove the InBev stuff in the back corner. I don't bother with the local 7-11 and market for beer.

In NorCal it doesn't matter where you shop for beer, there are always SOME craft options, even at gas stations and Walmart. And in my local Safeway the craft beer selection is three times the size of the Big Beer area, which is separate--across the aisle. It's awesome.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:47 AM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


I admit that I do more beer-buying than I'd like at grocery stores. The bottle shop nearest my house doesn't put prices on anything, and everything I've ever bought there has been $2 or $3 too much at the register.

And my supermarket (a Stop and Shop) does, actually, put the local stuff right at eye-level for an average-height person. The problem is that there's precious little. Maybe a sixer of Brooklyn Lager, some Blue Point Toasted Lager, and that's about it. There are a few other craft offerings--lots from BBC, one or two Sierra Nevada offerings, the Magic Hat seasonal pack--but they're usually on the lower shelves.

(And I do take issue with anybody calling BBC/Sam Adams "not craft." They care about their beer, they make good products--Noble Pils will stand up against most craft pilsners--and they actually support small brewers. Remember the hops shortage a few years back?)
posted by uncleozzy at 11:48 AM on February 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Here in Wisconsin, one of the LEAST noticed aspects of the Scott Walker "reforms" was a provision that was designed to lock out Anheuser-Busch from the three-tier system mentioned in the article, which sounds great, until you realize it was essentially there to protect MillerCoors, which has a larger presence in the state, all at the expense of popular craft brewers like New Glarus

Which doesn't seem to be hurting New Glarus, since every time I head out to visit friends and family in MN or IL, invariably, I am also carrying smuggling several cases of New Glarus beer with me on request.

That said, all those "fake micro-brews"? A great many of those are made at the Minhas Brewery in Monroe.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:49 AM on February 12, 2013


"And then they can take my beer from eye level to the top shelf, which drops my sales rate in half."

I'm having a hard time believing this. A craft beer is generally not an impulse purchase decision.


It is if you're buying it at 7-Eleven.

This works? Damn consumers you lazy.

A friend of mine used to have a bread truck, and he had easily an hour of stories about little marketing things like this. If you turn one loaf of bread around so the back is facing out, people won't buy it or any of the loaves around it, because clearly, someone has touched the outer wrapper of that one loaf, and may well have touched any of the outer wrappers of the loaves adjacent to it.
posted by Etrigan at 11:49 AM on February 12, 2013 [13 favorites]


"Beer Wars" covered this in close detail several years ago. Good interviews with the Dogfish Head brewer, directed by the former CEO of Mike's Hard Lemonade.
posted by bullitt 5 at 11:49 AM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


...when Anheuser-Busch launched a series of negative ads criticizing Boston Beer Company for using contract breweries to produce some of their beer, the ads were strikingly effective. Believing the ads were unfair, Koch appealed to the Better Business Bureau in 1997, who ultimately ruled in his favor.

I'd be curious to know more about this. (The link provided is subscription-only.) From the perspective of somebody who doesn't know very much about this industry, that doesn't seem unfair. If I were running a corporate brand and my market share was being nibbled by small companies based on a market perception that was erroneous, I think it'd be fair to run "informative" ads.

"And then they can take my beer from eye level to the top shelf, which drops my sales rate in half."

I'm sympathetic, but only slightly. If you are a legitimately small player in a big-player market ("Craft brewers hold just 6 percent") then you can't afford to play the shelf game. Yes, you are going to lose the eyeballs and sales of customers of customers who walk into a store looking for "beer." You need to be creating customers who walk into a store looking for your beer.

Frankly, complaining about things like supermarket shelf space and Super Bowl spots makes it seem like craft breweries are overreaching for some easy publicity. "It's been awhile since the media has talked about our 'underdog story.' That's always good for sales. Who's got pitches?" That's fair to do. It's what I'd do in their shoes. But let's not be naive about it.
posted by cribcage at 11:51 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


This has been the practice of every food/beverage manufacturer in every supermarket in the US for years. Is beer really a new entry into the shelf wars? I can't imagine this is a new thing.
This is exactly correct and it isn't at all new for beer. Grocers make a tremendous amount of money with Slotting Fees in which vendors pay for the better shelf position, end caps, even the right to be carried in the store at all. There are also a plethora of promotional fees associated with priority placement and display and for being features in sales circulars and so on. This, more than anything else, has driven the insane consolodation of what was once a highly fragmented food supply into one controlled by an increasingly smaller number of conglomorates. There is an extensive body of evidence that proves beyond a shadow of doubt that shelf-placement affects sales of anything and everything in the grocery store.
posted by Lame_username at 11:51 AM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I used this chart to help me avoid Blue Moon, Kona, Goose Island, and Widmer Brothers at a recent beer tasting event. I don't care if the beer is great, part of the reason I'm drinking "craft brew" is that it isn't owned by a mega-corp.

Craft Brew Alliance (Kona and Widmer from your list there) isn't exactly a "mega-corp," and I think it's a little disingenuous to lump them in with Blue Moon which is true corporate beer.
posted by primethyme at 11:54 AM on February 12, 2013


"Beer Wars" covered this in close detail several years ago. Good interviews with the Dogfish Head brewer, directed by the former CEO of Mike's Hard Lemonade.

I second the recommendation of this doc. If you can look past the director Michael Moore'ing herself into every other scene of the movie, it's a very worthwhile look into evolving state of the beer industry and covers almost all of this discussion.

Plus, Dogfish Head!
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:55 AM on February 12, 2013


I feel obligated to speak in defense of Boston Brewing Company and Jim Koch. The attacks against Sam Adams have always smacked somewhat of indie/hipster snobbishness, and not only is that kind of upturned-nose very much not what the beer community should be about, but that kind of division in the community is what InBev and MillerCoors want.

Boston Brewing Company makes solid beer - not always the best beer, but they make a solid, reliable product. They're a great method of introducing beer neophytes to styles that they normally wouldn't have chosen - people trust the Sam Adams label, so they're more likely to try something like a Märzen or a Döppelbock if it has their name on it. Also, the slam that they're "just too common" or "just too big" is a plus. I have supped of the most rarefied beers, but when you're out with your non-beer-geek friends and they take you to some massive chain restaurant and you want a beer, there's usually no Pliny The Elder or Rochefort 8. Sam Adams Boston Lager, on the other hand, is a solid beer that's everywhere on the planet, and can be a lifesaver. And finally, people that say they just aren't experimenting or trying new things haven't looked at their lineup hard enough. They still make interesting and cool new brews, and more than a few of them are quite good.

If you don't like Sam Adams because you just don't like their beers, I 100% respect that decision. It's your taste buds, not mine. However, I'm more than a little weary of people trying to tear down Jim Koch and Boston Brewing because it's too big or too mainstream. People and brands like that is what craft beer need if we're going to convince everyone else to put down the yellow fizzy water and pick up a real beer.
posted by Punkey at 11:56 AM on February 12, 2013 [48 favorites]


Yeah, most of it isn't new and just capitalism in action, but of course from the perspective of a bigger "craft brewer", one who isn't actually satisfied just to make beers for a small group of connoisseurs but would like to reach a more mass market audience, it is extremely frustrating.

From the perspective of beer drinkers who like more of a choice than between Miller and Budweiser, it's also worrying when the big guys are trying to lock out innovative competitors, even if their success has led the bigger players to pay some lipservice to craft as well.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:57 AM on February 12, 2013


The attacks against Sam Adams

Was anybody attacking them then?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:58 AM on February 12, 2013


By stating that they're not "really" craft? It might not be a full-on "knives to the throat" attack, but I still think it's a mistake.
posted by Punkey at 12:00 PM on February 12, 2013


"This is even happening at the state level. Here in Wisconsin, one of the LEAST noticed aspects of the Scott Walker "reforms" was a provision that was designed to lock out Anheuser-Busch from the three-tier system mentioned in the article, which sounds great, until you realize it was essentially there to protect MillerCoors, which has a larger presence in the state, all at the expense of popular craft brewers like New Glarus."

My sister recently moved to Milwaukee, leading me to try some new craft stuff I had not had before (though I've longed loved the local craft products where I live). And man, let me just say that New Glarus makes some of the best tasting liquids I have ever met. I could live entirely on any of their creations, and they are the only thing that has ever made me seriously consider relocating my entire life. Fuck ANYONE who gets in their way, at all.
posted by broadway bill at 12:02 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Craft Brew Alliance (Kona and Widmer from your list there) isn't exactly a "mega-corp," and I think it's a little disingenuous to lump them in with Blue Moon which is true corporate beer.

Anheuser-Busch InBev owns 32.2%[6] of the business. Brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer, founders of Widmer Brothers beer, own a combined 18%[7] of Craft shares.

So only kind of sort of disingenuous, right?
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:02 PM on February 12, 2013


I will never understand how people can drink that shitty, shitty "beer" at all, let alone how it takes 90% of the market. It's really hard for me to avoid being cynical about the doom of mankind (not quite as ironically as I probably should be, anyway).

How the hell can a spot on a shelf have anything to do with whether you want shit or something decent? I don't switch my car radio to the '1' spot, find backmasked Nickelback at clipping volume, and say, "Oh well, those other buttons are like, whole entire millimeters away-- it's just as if they don't exist at all. Better just accept our lot in life."

#facepalm
What a backwards, burning world this is.
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:04 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sam Adams Boston Lager, on the other hand, is a solid beer that's everywhere on the planet, and can be a lifesaver.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, how true.
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:05 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


herbplarfegan: "I will never understand how people can drink that shitty, shitty "beer" at all, let alone how it takes 90% of the market."

Their primary goal is to ingest alcohol, and in their experience beer flavor runs the gamut from "incredibly shitty" to "shitty, but credibly so"? If every option tastes awful, you stop making choices based on taste.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:06 PM on February 12, 2013


smacked somewhat of indie/hipster snobbishness

This whole thread smacks of that to me. Granted, i think all beer tastes like something drained out of a sewer, not sure why. I've tried the big brand, craft, small home brew, etc. It all tasted the same, bad. So when i see threads like this, all i am reminded of are the people who go on about popular music, and that band you've never heard of and is almost unlistenable is great because it's a noise band. It also reminds me of people who go on about how certain cigarettes are good compared to mass market ones, they all still suck to me.

That and i've lived in both La Crosse and Milwaukee and the stench of the breweries turned me off to it, almost as bad as living downwind of the paper mills and pig farms i lived near. :P
posted by usagizero at 12:06 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


People and brands like that is what craft beer need if we're going to convince everyone else to put down the yellow fizzy water and pick up a real beer.

I'm sorry, but this is "indie/hipster snobbishness." And it strikes me as plain hypocrisy to defend Sam Adams against smaller products by saying that Sam Adams is a solid, reliable option that may not be the best but is always available when you find yourself at a chain restaurant, and then turn around and knock the bigger companies for not being "real beer."
posted by cribcage at 12:07 PM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Apropos of nothing, I've had about a dozen shitty beers--PBR and Schaefer, mostly--in the fridge since summer, so I finally bought some limes and tomato juice last week and have been sucking down micheladas like it's going out of style. Probably the best drinking-related decision I've made in a good long time.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:07 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Usagizero: I had to tour Dogfish Head's brewery in Milton for work and by the end of it I would have given all my worldly possessions for noseplugs. You're not alone.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:08 PM on February 12, 2013


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: Their primary goal is to ingest alcohol, and in their experience beer flavor runs the gamut from "incredibly shitty" to "shitty, but credibly so"? If every option tastes awful, you stop making choices based on taste.

Hey, somehow Schlitz and Natural Light are still in business. Someone's gotta be downing that stuff.
posted by Talanvor at 12:09 PM on February 12, 2013


usagizero: Well, if you're ever in the LA area and you're interested in giving beer another shot, I've had decent success finding beers that people that say "I just don't like beer" actually like. The offer stands. There's a lot to be had, but I also know people that just can't handle something about the flavor, so if you don't like it, then good luck to you. Try bourbon - AKA, distilled beer. :D

cribcage: Well, most of the knock has to do with how big chain restaurants tend to destroy beer in storage, so it tastes like garbage. I've got no problem with some of the big macro beers - Coors, stuck in the freezer for a few minutes to really chill it down, Red Stripe, there are some well-made macro lagers out there. I have endless respect for the fact that they manage to make bland beer taste consistent and not have any really nasty off-flavors, that's really fucking hard.

But, it is not, by and large, a quality product. It is a product that people are choosing due to marketing and lack of exposure or willingness to experiment. Yes, macros make things that are technically classified as beer. But it's like saying that McDonalds and In-N-Out are the same, so why pick one over the other?
posted by Punkey at 12:10 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]





smacked somewhat of indie/hipster snobbishness

This whole thread smacks of that to me. Granted, i think all beer tastes like something drained out of a sewer, not sure why.


You have no taste for beer, yet you came into a thread about beer to tell people that they're snobs for being able to distinguish between the available options. What inspires someone to do that?
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:12 PM on February 12, 2013 [42 favorites]


Hey, somehow Schlitz and Natural Light are still in business. Someone's gotta be downing that stuff.

If you don't know who's downing Natty Light, I can only assume you never went to college.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:13 PM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Practically all my beer purchases are impulse as the only beers I've ever had that I want to take-home-and-drink-all-of are draft only. So I buy random beers in bottles and cans and generally they're terrible and I end up using them in stews, or rarebit, or bread.

And I just like telling this story. We bought one beer totally on impulse, even though it was $10 for 4 bottles, cause it had "Bourbon" and "Stout" in the name. And I drank it and I LOVED IT. So we went back for more and it was all gone, cause it's a limited once a year thing. And I was sad. And I was shocked to learn it was a Goose Island beer.

But we live in Chicago, so then when Mr onastick went to the grocery, I said, hey, look for it, maybe. AND THEY HAD IT. For $25/4 bottles. Readers, he bought three packs anyway.

Then, we went to Goose Island for lunch, where it was not on draft, but learned their other stout is also pretty good.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:14 PM on February 12, 2013


defend Sam Adams against smaller products

That's like defending puppies against rainbows. The puppies aren't trying to steal marketshare from the rainbows. If you lump the puppies in with the scorpions, where will you wind up? Ask yourself. Poisoned puppies and no more rainbows. That's the lesson here. Somebody open me another rainbow.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:14 PM on February 12, 2013 [22 favorites]


Hey, somehow Schlitz and Natural Light are still in business. Someone's gotta be downing that stuff.

Ain't nuthin' wrong with a lawnmower lager. Hot summer day, doing yardwork, just the thing to get you refreshed without knocking you on your ass. Drink it all afternoon, no problem.

Nuthin' wrong at all. Time and place for everything.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:15 PM on February 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


Sam Adams Boston Lager, on the other hand, is a solid beer that's everywhere on the planet, and can be a lifesaver.

If you rank beers solely on the basis of (quality * availability), Boston Lager is the best beer in the country. (This isn't snark. It is a lifesaver.)

man, let me just say that New Glarus makes some of the best tasting liquids I have ever met. I could live entirely on any of their creations, and they are the only thing that has ever made me seriously consider relocating my entire life.

New Glarus is amazing, and I find it terribly inconvenient that their beers are available all the way up to the tippy-top of Wisconsin, but not 45 minutes from the border here in the Twin Cities.

I'm sorry, but this is "indie/hipster snobbishness."

Imagine 90% of the restaurants in America were fast-food chains owned by one of two global conglomerates. Would it be indie/hipster snobbishness to insist on better, or at least more locally-owned, food?
posted by neckro23 at 12:21 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


While I moved up a beer bracket when I relocated to Quebec--damn, do they make some fine-ass microbrews in this province--you can't tell me there's something wrong with drinking a Miller High Life when in Buffa's in New Orleans. I don't really get beer snobbery either--the good stuff is usually too costly to drink more than a few of on a regular basis--but I do agree there's a time and place to drink subpar beer. (But it would never be my first choice.)
posted by Kitteh at 12:23 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Beer distributors from Anheuser Busch and Inbev are hugely influential in Texas politics. They have defeated almost every bill that would in any way hurt their sales (read monopoly) or allow craft breweries to thrive. There is a grassroots organization called Open the Taps set up to lobby against the big beer distributors and get more equality into the system. That said, there are a ton of great, small craft brewers in Texas and I only hope that the regulations put in place by these lobbyists can be overturned to allow the flourish more fully.
posted by mattbucher at 12:27 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I enjoy a good craft beer...We have a larger variety here in Michigan, like Bell's and Short's and REALLY local choices from Motor City Brewery and other small brew pubs. But in the summer, I enjoy drinking Bud Light Lime. It's light, refreshing and when you're drinking all day, the craft stuff is just too potent to swig for hours on end. Like Capt. Renault says, time and place for everything. That being said, the only time I grab what's in front of me on the shelf is when I'm buying beer to take to someone else's party...because I know if I bring the good stuff, I'm never going to see it again once I walk in the door and put it in the community fridge.
posted by Kokopuff at 12:27 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


How the hell can a spot on a shelf have anything to do with whether you want shit or something decent? I don't switch my car radio to the '1' spot, find backmasked Nickelback at clipping volume, and say, "Oh well, those other buttons are like, whole entire millimeters away-- it's just as if they don't exist at all. Better just accept our lot in life."

#facepalm
What a backwards, burning world this is.


This is kind of dramatic, isn't it?

I know my beer, but hell - if we switched the subject to wines, I'm admittedly pretty clueless. Sure, I'll be influenced by random irrelevant stuff like art, typography, and even - gasp - shelf placement.
posted by naju at 12:28 PM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]



I'm sorry, but this is "indie/hipster snobbishness."


There can be an element of that, but reflexive disdain for people with discerning taste is just as prevalent. Everyone could stand to chill out a little bit and let others do as they please.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:28 PM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]



herbplarfegan: "I will never understand how people can drink that shitty, shitty "beer" at all, let alone how it takes 90% of the market."

Their primary goal is to ingest alcohol, and in their experience beer flavor runs the gamut from "incredibly shitty" to "shitty, but credibly so"? If every option tastes awful, you stop making choices based on taste.


Yup. Get it down before the taste catches up. Flog your taste buds insensate, then go to work on the rest of your body.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:28 PM on February 12, 2013


"And then they can take my beer from eye level to the top shelf, which drops my sales rate in half."

Since I live in Pennsylvania, I buy beer in cases* from a giant dusty warehouse distributor and there are no shelves, just cases stacked on the floor. So you just stroll over to the craft beer area and ignore the piles of Bud/Miller/Coors.

*No you can't have a six pack, you have to buy a whole case at a time. No I don't understand why.
posted by octothorpe at 12:29 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just want to give a Midwestern shout-out to Boulevard in Kansas City, MO. I saw one of their brewmasters give a presentation several years ago, and he joked about being the "second largest brewery in Missouri."

They produce some fine beverages that are starting to be distributed more widely (I think you can get it in Cali now?)
posted by sararah at 12:30 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let me tell you, I'm a committed beer lover and home brewer, with dozens and dozens of premium, high-end and somewhat rare beers aging in a dark, temperature-controlled corner of my basement. And if you dare try to take away my PBR, I swear I'll cut you.

Also, the sale of Goose Island to AB-InBev really is lamentable. But it still doesn't change the fact that they still make truly wonderful beer. Drink a bottle of Sophie and try to tell me otherwise. I dare you.
posted by slogger at 12:33 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


No I don't understand why.

For me, that applies to many aspects of buying alcohol in PA.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:34 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because Quakers, generally. William Penn and his cohorts were good about most things, but they had a few blind spots.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:36 PM on February 12, 2013


"I don't really get beer snobbery either--the good stuff is usually too costly to drink more than a few of on a regular basis--but I do agree there's a time and place to drink subpar beer."

Part of the reason I hesitate to condemn mass-produced beer is that some times this really feels like a class issue to me (especially here in Maine, with tons of local brewing and the ubiquitous "why would you drink that?!" attitude). Looking down on less-fortunate people's economic decisions as poor taste makes me uncomfortable.

I guess what I would say is that the dominance of companies like InBev doesn't have to do primary with some kind of dirty tricks they pull, but because they sell a product to a market that can afford to buy it.
posted by selfnoise at 12:36 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


sararah: you should take a trip to the other side of Missouri for some of the wonderful beers made at the Saint Louis Brewing Company!
posted by slogger at 12:37 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Insert meaningless beer snob credentials here] but sometimes nothing hits the spot like a Bud or Miller Lite with some cheap wings or cardboard pizza in an unpretentious, working class joint. Come at me haters. I think part of this discussion is (unavoidably?) classist.
posted by naju at 12:38 PM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Brewdog-Diageo Affair shows this problem is likely universal...
posted by aeshnid at 12:39 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's light, refreshing and when you're drinking all day, the craft stuff is just too potent to swig for hours on end.

Magic Hat Circus Boy and Number 9 come immediately to mind as light, quaffable beer, as does Harpoon UFO. Still too heavy? White beers in particular go well with lemonade or lemon-lime soda - this is called a Radler. That "Bud Light with Lime" is simply a very low-quality Shandy (lager with lemonade or lemon-lime soda).
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:40 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Every yuppie proclaims their love for cheap, authentic working class pleasures. That's rule 1 from the hipster handbook.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:40 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


slogger: I don't know why their beers aren't distributed more widely in the Midwest - I think you can get it out east (??) but I don't see it much in Iowa!
posted by sararah at 12:41 PM on February 12, 2013


Part of the reason I hesitate to condemn mass-produced beer is that some times this really feels like a class issue to me (especially here in Maine, with tons of local brewing and the ubiquitous "why would you drink that?!" attitude). Looking down on less-fortunate people's economic decisions as poor taste makes me uncomfortable.

Agreed. And I agree with another poster upthread that when I go to a party, I will bring a 12 of Unibroue because if it's a party, no one is likely to be waiting to have a snob-off over what beer you brought. (If so, maybe find yourself another party.)

I heart great microbrews, I really do, but again, time and place.
posted by Kitteh at 12:41 PM on February 12, 2013


In general the whole aspirational undertone of craft beer breweing and microbreweries is of course incredibly middleclass: we don't drink to get drunk, we enjoy the subtle pleasures of craft beer.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:42 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do both.
posted by Kitteh at 12:43 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Got to any restaurant and ask what beers they have on draft. Bud, Coor, Labatts will always be named first, followed (eventually) by Sam Adams or Yuengling and then maybe a craft beer or two. In most places the number of taps is limited and the odds are stacked against the smaller breweries.

It's funny how our perceptions of "how things are" is shaped by the bubble we live in.
Around here, where even the damn Applebees stocks local (meaning made about a mile away) beer, I forget that in the large majority of the country, Sam Adams counts as a microbrew.

But you know, if imitating the smaller breweries leads to more people sampling outside the bud/coors/miller trifecta, isn't that a good thing?
posted by madajb at 12:44 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is kind of dramatic, isn't it?

Yes. Yes it was.
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:44 PM on February 12, 2013


Man, the beer you people drink tells me many things about your personality and my own worth relative to you, let me tell you why:
posted by downing street memo at 12:44 PM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


I live in Rhode Island where we have some good craft beers from around New England, and also a WALL of swill like Bud, Bud Light, Bud Lime, Bud Light Lime, Coors, Coors Light, etc., etc.

There are a few good liquor stores where I can buy tasty beer, like Yankee Sprits in Attleboro, Mass. (whoops, did I just disclose that I cross state lines with beer in my car?!), but they have trouble. For example, there was a law passed recently that explicitly forbids franchise liquor stores -- so Yankee Spirits can not be connected to the two other stores they used to own. And I have never heard a good reason why. Instead, we get a bunch of awful strip mall "packies" that sell Bud, Bud Light, Bud Lime, Bud Light Lime, Coors, Coors Light, etc., etc.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:46 PM on February 12, 2013


Their primary goal is to ingest alcohol, and in their experience beer flavor runs the gamut from "incredibly shitty" to "shitty, but credibly so"

Their unnecessary experience. This is why I (dramatically) pointed out that other options, which draw you out of the "shitty" brackets entirely, take a negligible amount of effort to access.
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:48 PM on February 12, 2013




Every yuppie proclaims their love for cheap, authentic working class pleasures. That's rule 1 from the hipster handbook.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:40 PM on February 12 [+] [!]


But comrade, are we not all working class?
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:49 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Since I live in Pennsylvania, I buy beer in cases* from a giant dusty warehouse distributor and there are no shelves, just cases stacked on the floor. So you just stroll over to the craft beer area and ignore the piles of Bud/Miller/Coors.

WE HAVE A BEER SHOP NOW

WHERE YOU CAN BUY CANS OF BEER

Amusingly you can't actually buy a case from them, because that unleashes the kraken from the depths of the PCLB next door or something, but you know. Change is coming!
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:49 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, when I heard that Miller bought Leinenkugel's some years back, I just wrote it off as a label I wouldn't miss anyway since I never ever saw it in New England.

And yet -- shazzam! -- I was blown away to notice that some of their weirdo seasonals (shandy? wha...?) show up at good stores and packies alike, in among the Bud/Miller/Coors stuff. Pity I still can't get plain old Leinie's, though.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:49 PM on February 12, 2013


whoops, did I just disclose that I cross state lines with beer in my car?!

Waitaminute! There are laws against this?
posted by benito.strauss at 12:50 PM on February 12, 2013


If you rank beers solely on the basis of (quality * availability), Boston Lager is the best beer in the country

Hmm--what's in second place, then? Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? Negro Modelo?
posted by box at 12:53 PM on February 12, 2013


To all those mentioning New Glarus: a thousand times yes! But I would highly recommend taking a break the next chance you're at your friendly neighborhood WI beer store and pick up some Ale Asylum because that is some amazing beer. I particularly like their Bedlam, because I am a dirty whore for Citra hops.
posted by mzanatta at 12:53 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread inspired me to run down to the corner gas station to get a six pack of my favorite local beer. There wasn't any. The shelf space had been re-arranged.

Plenty of room for "Budweiser Black Crown," though.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:55 PM on February 12, 2013


They produce some fine beverages that are starting to be distributed more widely (I think you can get it in Cali now?)

You can get Boulevard Wheat right here in the heart of Beer Central (the PNW), which is a godsend to someone sick of the latest "Hoptastically Hoppy! Did We Mention The Hops? Organic Triple IPA"
posted by madajb at 12:55 PM on February 12, 2013


Waitaminute! There are laws against this?

Well, Mass. has container deposit, but Rhodey doesn't. So those cans I buy that say "MA 5" on them are only redeemable for their nickel deposit in Mass.....meaning, I guess, that I should just throw them in the town dump in Rhode Island? *shakes head*
posted by wenestvedt at 12:58 PM on February 12, 2013


Magic Hat Circus Boy and Number 9 come immediately to mind as light, quaffable beer, as does Harpoon UFO. Still too heavy? White beers in particular go well with lemonade or lemon-lime soda - this is called a Radler. That "Bud Light with Lime" is simply a very low-quality Shandy (lager with lemonade or lemon-lime soda).

Radler and shandy are essentially the same thing. They're arguably different than Bud Light with Lime on account of the alcohol content.
posted by hoyland at 12:59 PM on February 12, 2013


find backmasked Nickelback at clipping volume,

You know...I might actually be able to listen to Nickelback that way.
posted by sourwookie at 12:59 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Imagine 90% of the restaurants in America were fast-food chains owned by one of two global conglomerates. Would it be indie/hipster snobbishness to insist on better, or at least more locally-owned, food?

No. But it would, if your insistence was predicated on having everybody believe that fast food was "brown crusty stuff," and the hole would get deeper if it turned out you were being careful to say "more locally-owned" because you had a specific company in mind and that phrase is different in some key ways from just saying "local."

Also, not to derail, but someplace like Olive Garden or Texas Roadhouse might make a better comparison. Fast food raises genuine social-health concerns, which skew the perspective. Your decision to drink Budweiser over Sam Adams isn't likely to affect either your lifespan or your fellow citizens' health-insurance premiums. Besides, if we open the conversation to social-health concerns then I'm pretty sure both Koch and Anheuser-Busch will get positively pwned by Dasani and Brita and MADD.
posted by cribcage at 1:02 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can the rest of you get Harpoon Beer from Boston? I like it a lot and will drink it over Sam Adams, which is my go-to restaurant beer across the hole of New England.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:03 PM on February 12, 2013


... they had labeled the Bud/Coors/Miller cooler "Canoe Sex."

Had to Google that.

But, also discovered that nearly 10% of Canadians confess to sex in a canoe in new survey.

'Ya learn something new everyday.
posted by ericb at 1:06 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The "fucking close to water" thing has always bothered me. If water tasted anything like that shit I'd die of dehydration in a week.

But that's just it. Beer is tasty and refreshing because it tastes nothing like water. Watery macro-lagers like Bud Light or Carlsberg are are to beer what Tom Hanks in The Polar Express is to a cartoon character. They are so watery they sit in the uncanny valley, so instead of being refreshed by something that definitely isn't water, they subconsciously make you think you are drinking from a swamp.
posted by [citation needed] at 1:06 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]



But, also discovered that nearly 10% of Canadians confess to sex in a canoe in new survey.

'Ya learn something new everyday.
posted by ericb at 1:06 PM on February 12


The other 90% find that their canoes tip too easily, and are home to too many spiders.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:09 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's illegal for supermarkets and gas stations to sell full (more than 3.2) beer and liquor in the state of Colorado.

That's why Colorado has awesome beer.


I won't say that there's not some causal factor there, because I really just don't know, but as a point of contrast, in Oregon you can't buy beer in a liquor store and the vast majority of it is sold in supermarkets and minimarts and gas stations. And we've got awesome beer, and major chain grocery stores have awesome beer selections, the bulk of which are craft sixers and four-packs and 22s with the remaining third of the cold case your macro sixers and camping boxes.

The local bottle shop is awesome but I don't even need to go there unless I'm feeling genuinely esoteric that day.

Seems like there's multiple paths to thriving beer culture; the momentum itself of that beer culture seems like the key thing, or more specifically finding a way to build said momentum up in the first place.
posted by cortex at 1:10 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you rank beers solely on the basis of (quality * availability), Boston Lager is the best beer in the country

I almost never buy it since I like to support local micros but Boston Lager is a perfectly good beer and my and probably a lot of other people's gateway into craft brews. Back in the eighties when your choices were usually Bud, Miller or Heineken (Coors was still pretty rare), Sam Adams was a revelation.
posted by octothorpe at 1:10 PM on February 12, 2013


I had written something shitty because I fucking hate beer threads on this site but instead I will say this:

I like to drink. A lot. It alarms me sometimes how much physical pleasure I get from sliding cold beer down my throat. But, I hate how it makes me feel in the morning so I do not do it as often as I used to. That being said I simply can not buy just a six pack or a couple big bottles of beer. I want to have a full pint in my hand with the comforting knowledge that there at least 9+ more in the fridge. If I were to do this with Chuck Smecklys Fantasmagorium Peak Hill Cider Splash Lager or something to that effect I would only be able to get enough beer to "make me mad" as I hear people say. Some of us want quantity all of the time. What is wrong with that?

Other beer names I thought of while writing this post:

Smegma Beer

Old Po' Faced Riot Hound Brown Ale

Triffels TenPenny Delight Lager

Smashed-in-MooseHead Pilsner

Magic Hat Circus Boy....oh wait. That is from upthread...
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 1:12 PM on February 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


Can the rest of you get Harpoon Beer from Boston?

I like Harpoon in pretty much the same way I like Sam Adams and Magic Hat -- all are reliable breweries that make some pretty good stuff and some not-so-good stuff, though none of them ever really blow me out of the water.

EXCEPT

A couple years back I was at Medieval Times (because I am a stone cold player) and all they had on tap was major macrobrew stuff plus the Sam Adams seasonal. They were all the same price, so I went for the Sam's, expecting it to be (as I usually do when I'm ordering Sam's), At Least Better Than Coors.

BUT OH

It was the Noble Pils, which I'd never had before, and which I was instantly smitten by! Crisp, lightly hoppy, just a hint of floral and citrus wisps about it, a perfect beer for the first warm days of spring.

Ever since then, I've thought much more highly about Boston Beer Company than I used to; whenever I see a new variety from them, I no longer think "well, it's probably pretty all right," but rather, "Well! Maybe it'll be another Noble Pils situation!"
posted by Greg Nog at 1:14 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Top shelf is eye level. Of course, I'm 6'4". Maybe they aren't marketing to me

I was five foot eight at the age of 12. It was not a wise idea for the newsagent near my school to carry 'top shelf' magazines.
posted by mippy at 1:17 PM on February 12, 2013


Waitaminute! There are laws against this?

In Pennsylvania, yes. Excerpts from their FAQ:

May a friend bring a case of beer for me from California when he comes to visit me?

"Thus, the importation of malt or brewed beverages in Pennsylvania is allowed only by licensed importing distributors on whose premises the malt or brewed beverages must come to rest, who have properly registered the brand with the Board, and who have acquired the appropriate territorial rights from the manufacturer of the beverage in question and who have paid state taxes thereon." [Answer: no]

I am moving from Ohio to Pennsylvania and I would like to know if it is possible for me to bring my wine and spirits with me?

"Generally, bringing any liquor (including wine) into Pennsylvania is illegal,
with limited exceptions
. [...] A person who is moving into Pennsylvania is allowed, under section 9.46 of the Board’s Regulations, to bring with him or her liquor and wine owned and possessed by him or her in his or her out-of-state residence for personal
use, so long as that liquor and wine will not be resold in Pennsylvania. Such importation must be approved in advance by and coordinated through the Board. [40 Pa. Code § 9.46]." [bolding mine]
posted by Pyry at 1:19 PM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


What do they do, have Staties flag down moving vans with out of state plates? Geeze...


Also, last summer I was given as a gift the case-size Sam Adams "Brewer's Special" (or whatever it was called), and really liked several of them.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:21 PM on February 12, 2013


I was five foot eight at the age of 12. It was not a wise idea for the newsagent near my school to carry 'top shelf' magazines.

I was surprised, on a trip through a port town in Italy some time back, to notice the newsagent's extensive collection of horse porn was at the height of a small kid.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:23 PM on February 12, 2013


You know, there is a conversation to be had about classism in beer purchasing/marketing, etc. But really, the beer is inconsequential in this particular article. This is about two giant mega corporations consistently forcing out smaller, more varied producers in an attempt to gain 100% of the market share. This should be a concern regardless of the product being sold.

Now it's time to beer gush: I just drove cross-country from Montana to New York City sampling and buying as much local beer as I could fit down my throat and into my tiny Corolla, guided by a friend who's a true beer connoisseur. Oh my God, you guys, it was the best trip I've ever done. And if any of you have never been to Milwaukee to drink, you are really missing out. Friend and I had a welcome back beer sampling party at the end of the trip and it was a smashing success. And if any of you are out in Montana and would like to send me a four pack of Cold Smoke, I'd be your friend forever.
posted by Polyhymnia at 1:23 PM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]



To all those mentioning New Glarus: a thousand times yes! But I would highly recommend taking a break the next chance you're at your friendly neighborhood WI beer store and pick up some Ale Asylum because that is some amazing beer. I particularly like their Bedlam, because I am a dirty whore for Citra hops.

Ale Asylum is awesome. My dog loves, loves, loves Ambergeddon. He likes all, beer - don't get me wrong, but he doesn't get too worked up about it.

But if I've got an Ambergeddon in my hand, I have a drooling dog on my lap.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:24 PM on February 12, 2013


I think the idea that decreasing the number of brands increases your total beer sales is a crock in the first place.

Remember those rumors Corona was contaminated with urine?
Though many retailers are quick to point out that the brand remains popular, they acknowledge that Corona's growth has slowed.

For example, Corona sales were off by about 20 percent in northern California in the first six months of 1988, according to Chicago-based Barton Beers, the importer for California and 24 other states.

A key element in the decline was the whisper campaign started by a competing distributor that Corona brewery workers were urinating in the beer. Barton took legal action against the distributor and received an out-of-court settlement last summer.
What's to keep "category space analysts" from having a cadre of secret shoppers to make their rosy sales predictions come true (for a little while)?
posted by jamjam at 1:25 PM on February 12, 2013


It's also illegal in Canada to buy wine/beer in another province and bring it back to yours, but I've never met anyone who's been busted.

Also, you're supposed to be in the US 24 hours before you can legally purchase booze to bring back into Canada but sometimes you just pretend you were there for 24 hours when making a day trip...
posted by Kitteh at 1:27 PM on February 12, 2013


Budweiser, Miller et al have always seemed startlingly expensive to me. Sure, you can get your High Lives, but I think that Bud still counts as a 'premium' beer brand, commanding a premium price. It's not an increase in cost that leads to culturally middle class folk preferring craft beers over Bud, because there probably is not that much of a difference.

What's the alternative if you just want an inexpensive, easy-drinking lager but don't like The Man for whatever reason? Here in Detroit, Stroh's is now just part of PBR's working class nostalgia line of beers, which I believe are all brewed by Miller. For most people in the US, there is no alternative to big conglomerate beer, and that just does not seem right to me.
posted by palindromic at 1:27 PM on February 12, 2013


you're supposed to be in the US 24 hours before you can legally purchase booze to bring back into Canada

It's double that (48 hours). Under 24 hours and you have no duty-free exemption at all.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:28 PM on February 12, 2013


It's double that (48 hours). Under 24 hours and you have no duty-free exemption at all.

I won't tell if you won't. *wink*

(Especially since I'm going to one of the best microbreweries in New England on Saturday.)
posted by Kitteh at 1:32 PM on February 12, 2013


It's double that (48 hours).

Anecdotally, they seem to be clamping down on that. Crossing over this weekend after an overnight in the States, I picked up a bottle at the Duty Free, and was given a Stern Talking To by the crossing guard. That's a first for me. Whole lecture about it -- but thankfully, just the lecture.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:34 PM on February 12, 2013


my go-to restaurant beer across the hole of New England.

I see what you did there.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:35 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


But really, the beer is inconsequential in this particular article. This is about two giant mega corporations consistently forcing out smaller, more varied producers in an attempt to gain 100% of the market share. This should be a concern regardless of the product being sold.

This.

It reminded me of why the first generation of beer enthusiast organisations like CAMRA got started; not so much to get all geeky and snobbish about beer but to advocate for decent beer for everybody at a time when beer quality really was going downhill fast.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:36 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I understand it's all business, but the rules of the business are written by what used to be BMC. The artificial divisions between production, distribution, and retail are highly effective at marginalizing the smaller players. This business model is highly regulated by the state which makes it ripe for manipulation by moneyed interests. In spite of all of this, the scene continues to grow out of the ashes of the mid-to-late 90s crash. To some extent, I think craft brewing is here to stay in some form or another.

Having cut my beer teeth in Germany, coming back to the states--especially the particular BMC black hole I returned to--was a crushing disappointment. Not only were entire styles impossible to find, what one could find (lagers packaged in green glass) was usually skunked crap. When the first rush of craft brews came on the scene I was overjoyed to be able to get a proper hefe or marzen. It's almost an embarrassment of riches now but I can jaunt down to my local grocer and find an entire 50 foot cooler, four shelves high with a great mix of import and craft beers. With sufficient planning, I can make the thirty minute drive to the specialty beer store and pick up all manner of imported and regional beverages.

While BBC's offerings aren't something I search for, their distribution is truly national...and this is a lifesaver. Even though they're my fall back, I support them wholeheartedly given the help they've shown to other brewers whose products I do search out. They've also been instrumental in articulating the needs of craft brewers to hop producers and furthering research into new hop varieties and improving how hops are harvested and processed.

Being a home brewer for a bit over a year now, I am glad they--and any number of "major" craft brewers--are out there. Their work has been instrumental in making the life of the hobbyist more enjoyable. I, too, will always wade past the canoe sex to search out other options. I wish shelf placement wasn't such a large purchasing driver for the casual shopper only because I am selfish and want the craft brew market to continue expanding.

Oh, and speaking of home brewing, seeing a number of Mefites out themselves, has anyone ever put together a beer swap? Because, you know, that's totally something I could get behind. That is, if this is even something that can be done with a modicum of legality.
posted by Fezboy! at 1:38 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's gonna take more than moving the beer around on the shelves to make me going back to drinking that horse urine.

Not to mention Budweiser, which has way less character than the horse urine.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 1:44 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just drove cross-country from Montana to New York City sampling and buying as much local beer as I could fit down my throat and into my tiny Corolla, guided by a friend who's a true beer connoisseur.

Please please please share your itinerary.
posted by 235w103 at 1:46 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


cortex: “I won't say that there's not some causal factor there, because I really just don't know, but as a point of contrast, in Oregon you can't buy beer in a liquor store and the vast majority of it is sold in supermarkets and minimarts and gas stations. And we've got awesome beer, and major chain grocery stores have awesome beer selections, the bulk of which are craft sixers and four-packs and 22s with the remaining third of the cold case your macro sixers and camping boxes. ¶ The local bottle shop is awesome but I don't even need to go there unless I'm feeling genuinely esoteric that day. ¶ Seems like there's multiple paths to thriving beer culture; the momentum itself of that beer culture seems like the key thing, or more specifically finding a way to build said momentum up in the first place.”

Well, admittedly I'm buying brewery hype when I say that, but it is what Colorado breweries overwhelmingly seem to believe. When the supermarkets made a move to try to change the law to allow them to sell alcohol, the breweries and liquor stores mounted a forceful campaign to stop it from happening.

It's sort of a tough question. It's interesting to know that Oregon doesn't allow liquor stores to sell beer at all; I hadn't known that, and it seems odd (how are they allowed to sell liquor, then? I guess it's not based on alcohol content.)

When the controversy in Colorado happened, back in 2009, there were a number of different takes people had on it. There were people who thought the supermarkets were an opportunity for the breweries to make more sales; a good summary of those arguments is here.

I tend to disagree, though. I still feel like the liquor market isn't quite as wide-open and expansive as people think. There are a lot of comments here to the effect of "well, I'll always buy craft beer," but most people won't. Oregon seems to provide an interesting counter-study, though.
posted by koeselitz at 1:54 PM on February 12, 2013


Oh, and speaking of home brewing, seeing a number of Mefites out themselves, has anyone ever put together a beer swap? Because, you know, that's totally something I could get behind. That is, if this is even something that can be done with a modicum of legality.

I think it would have to be US-only, yeah? If I recall correctly from the last internet-based-swap I did, the limit is 24 ounces per package, so a bomber or two bottles.

But I'd be happy to swap homebrews if anyone wants! I've got a very nice half-wheat pale ale right now, I'm about to bottle a hopped cider and a mocha oak-aged porter, and I've currently got a cucumber-cider-perry-thing I made with spirulina and Galaxy hops; that last one might turn out okay or might be the single worst idea I've ever had. I am looking forward to seeing what fresh hell I have wrought.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:55 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


(how are they allowed to sell liquor, then? I guess it's not based on alcohol content.)

Yeah, the OLCC is just its own weird bundle of strangeness and bullshit. State-by-state booze culture is odd. But in OR, you buy liquor at the liquor store and beer and wine at the supermarket or bottle shops. Categorical thing on the books, presumably.
posted by cortex at 1:58 PM on February 12, 2013


I've never bought beer at a gas station. No selection, just common denominator swill. I always go to liquor stores and most beer drinkers I know do the same. We just got back from a trip to the Twin Cities and I stocked up. You can find micros out here in western North Dakota but it's never as fresh as I get in Minneapolis. My haul:

Surly Furious
Surly Abrasive
Bells Two-Hearted Ale
Bells Hopslam Ale
Sneak Attack Saison - 21st Amendment Brewery
Midnight Ryder - Indeed Brewing Company
Lucid Foto IPA
Sugar Shack Maple Stout - Third Street Brewhouse

That should keep me happy through Lent
posted by Ber at 1:59 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


235w103, my traveling and companion and I are working on putting a list together. I'll either post or message you once it's complete!
posted by Polyhymnia at 2:00 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ooh! Oooh ooh ooh! Me too, Polyhymnia!
posted by Fezboy! at 2:01 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can the rest of you get Harpoon Beer from Boston?

I can find it in grocery stores down here in VA. I tend to drink a lot of it as a college friend is their quality manager so I like contribute to his job security. Plus, it is simply good beer.
posted by COD at 2:12 PM on February 12, 2013


In NorCal it doesn't matter where you shop for beer, there are always SOME craft options

That describes the entire US West Coast, btw, from tiny liquor store to supermarket. I was just pointing out that there's a wider and deeper selection of craft beers in these big box style wine/beer/spirits stores that have been opening around me lately and they tend not to prominently feature beer by A-B/MC and the like.

In San Diego you can't throw a rock in any direction without hitting a world class brewery [pdf]. The phenomenon has been spreading north. Microbrew taprooms and brewpubs have been sprouting up regularly in L.A. for the last few years. So I feel like I've been in kind of a beer nirvana lately. So much to try, so little time.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:18 PM on February 12, 2013


Having just watched Beer Wars for the first time last night, what really struck me about the conflict between Big-3 and craft brewers was the degree to which this is viewed as a David and Goliath story, rather than a story about free markets that are not really free and democracies where not everyone is equally represented.

I mean, is anyone really surprised that major corporations will do anything within their power to increase profits and market share? That is what they're programmed to do; you can't tell a giant corporation like AB InBev, "Hey, your market growth is stifling consumer choice, so can you back off a bit?" So painting their actions as an evil plot against innocents is a bit of a distraction if competition in the American beer market is actually being stifled by arcane, prohibition-era distribution laws that remain in place partially due to a multimillion dollar beer lobby.
posted by kaudio at 2:39 PM on February 12, 2013


In San Diego you can't throw a rock in any direction without hitting a world class brewery

I'm in the midst of planning a trip to San Diego next month, and it's really difficult deciding which breweries to actually visit. There are just so many great ones.
posted by uncleozzy at 2:39 PM on February 12, 2013


Shock Top is the beverage equivalent to Nickleback, selling fake rebellion with its oh-so-badass mohawk-sporting orange with sunglasses on the label (which just serves to remind me of Jim McMahon and the Super Bowl Shuffle.) Tacky as hell - it could be the best beer ever produced and I still wouldn't touch it.
posted by porn in the woods at 2:45 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hmm. Then I guess Shock Top is the Chris Gaines of beer?
posted by herbplarfegan at 2:49 PM on February 12, 2013


cortex: “Yeah, the OLCC is just its own weird bundle of strangeness and bullshit. State-by-state booze culture is odd. But in OR, you buy liquor at the liquor store and beer and wine at the supermarket or bottle shops. Categorical thing on the books, presumably.”

This makes me wonder how the hell breweries proceed with product placement and stuff. I mean – first off, it'd be interesting to know what kind of supermarkets hold the market in Oregon. I'd guess they're not all Kroger outlets; or maybe they're just run differently from other states. In most of the places I've lived, supermarkets have been up against the wall economically, and would jump at the chance for lucrative placement deals with InBev and such. And even getting your product in a lot of the Kroger chains seems to be a big step for a lot of breweries.
posted by koeselitz at 3:05 PM on February 12, 2013


This is nothing new. The distributor's salesmen and drivers have been badgering retailers to give them more/better shelf space since time immemorial. They've also been facing and rotating the beer correctly, too. I'm not really sure what makes that some kind of conspiracy against craft brewers.
posted by wierdo at 3:17 PM on February 12, 2013


"Waitaminute! There are laws against this?"

In Pennsylvania, yes.


Gah. Federalism is so stupid sometimes.
posted by jedicus at 3:20 PM on February 12, 2013


Bizarrely, the Colorado situation isn't that no grocery stores may carry alcohol. It's that they can only do so at one store in a chain.

FWIW, I live near a couple of the major grocery chain liquor outposts, and their selection of beer is probably not significantly different from what I can get at the local liquor stores (which is to say pretty decent, at fair but not amazing prices.)
posted by asperity at 3:22 PM on February 12, 2013


Yes, Brewdog's has a great pub on Cowsgate in Edignburgh, quite good beer too, although the Kernel is the best U.K. brewery afaik. Diageo only sells shitty beers anyways, but always nice learning another reason to avoid that crap. .
posted by jeffburdges at 3:29 PM on February 12, 2013


I thought they could sell 3.2 beer at grocery stores in Colorado?
posted by wierdo at 3:30 PM on February 12, 2013


wierdo: “I thought they could sell 3.2 beer at grocery stores in Colorado?”

Yep – nothing more than 3.2 beer. And 3.2 beer isn't beer, really. Awful stuff. And, as asperity says, a given chain can only sell actual (3.3+) beer at one location in the state. I remember I used to go to the sole booze-selling Sam's Club in the state in Broomfield, because my roommates were there a lot.
posted by koeselitz at 3:44 PM on February 12, 2013


Celebrator Dopplebock or gtfo.

People in this thread seem so amazed that relatively cheap watered down brews are popular and it baffles me. No one I know outside of Metafilter and a small group of my friends who have actually been to the real Oktoberfest even give a second thought about beer. Coors, Bud, Corona, Dos Equis, who cares. Heineken is sometimes chosen as exotic. It is a Pepsi / Coke choice a whatever is available I have a burger I need a beer choice. Craft brews are great if you're into beer but the majority of people aren't in to beer, it's a condiment not a centerpiece.
posted by M Edward at 3:54 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Where does 3.2 come from? That sounds so.. specific. Is there some major distributor with their hand on the scale that produces exactly 3.2 beer?

In CA, we have a heavier tax after some ABV that is [I am told by the proprietor of my local shop, who presumably has inside info but possibly not] prohibitively expensive to go exceed, but it's pretty high. If I recall, this came up when I was buying some 9.6% hoppy monstrosity and was surprised the 6pack cost near $20. He also could have been lying, come to think of it.
posted by cj_ at 3:57 PM on February 12, 2013


Ber, I have some Surly cans in my basement, thanks to my brother driving out over Christmas Break. I am doling them out very s-l-o-w-l-y. That Abrasive is really good veer.
posted by wenestvedt at 4:02 PM on February 12, 2013


Well, at least you folks have some choice beyond the MegaCorp Beer Industrial Complex. Here in Korea, there's not even really that (except, in a minor way, in Seoul). Imports are available, sure, but they're too dear for my wallet, at least.

The constant refrain (in so many areas here) of 'well, this is what Koreans like' is infuriating, because once given a choice of something better, almost without fail, Koreans will switch to the better choice. It's thinking that protects established businesses and is repeated by ordinary people who blithely assume that big companies know what's best for them, and it drives me mildly batty.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:02 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


cj_: “Where does 3.2 come from? That sounds so.. specific. Is there some major distributor with their hand on the scale that produces exactly 3.2 beer?”

That's a good question. I don't think a distributor is responsible for the classification – that's just a guess, though; I only know that 3.2% seems to be a standard across half a dozen different states.
posted by koeselitz at 4:11 PM on February 12, 2013


Where does 3.2 come from? That sounds so.. specific.

Didn't there used to be states where 3.2 used to available 18-21 years olds? My dad went to college in Colorado and I seem to remember him describing it that way.
posted by LionIndex at 4:19 PM on February 12, 2013


Minnesota has different laws for 3.2 beer, IIRC -- maybe tiered licenses or something? It's been a long time since I had to know. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 4:21 PM on February 12, 2013


Nick from Arrowine! He keeps me in beer! And he treats me very well & makes me spend more money than I mean to!

(Yes, I can basically see Arrowine from where I live but I'd probably shop there anyway. It's my favorite beer location in the area.)

I'm a fan of beer and it's a really rare day I'll drink a macrobrew. Yes, somewhat that's snobbery on my part but it's also a matter of principle. I can't always fight huge corporate monopolies, but with beer, it's not too hard to pick the littler guys (and women!) with my dollar.
posted by darksong at 4:26 PM on February 12, 2013


I drink union, for better or for worse. Usually Miller High Life, Rolling Rock, or Budweiser when it's on sale at my local (unionized) Safeway. I don't care where it is on the shelf.

But if anyone knows of any East Coast craft beers that carry the union label, I'd love to give them a try. (It's a damn shame about Yuengling, by the way.)
posted by espidre at 4:54 PM on February 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


This makes me wonder how the hell breweries proceed with product placement and stuff. I mean – first off, it'd be interesting to know what kind of supermarkets hold the market in Oregon. I'd guess they're not all Kroger outlets; or maybe they're just run differently from other states. In most of the places I've lived, supermarkets have been up against the wall economically, and would jump at the chance for lucrative placement deals with InBev and such.

We have the usual megamarkets (Albertsons(SuperValu), Safeway, Fred Meyer(Kroger) and Walmart).
The thing is that beer is a *Big Deal* here.

A grocery or convenience store that sold only mass-market would be passing up far too many sales to make it worthwhile.
posted by madajb at 4:57 PM on February 12, 2013


Hey, somehow Schlitz and Natural Light are still in business.

schlitz 60's gusto formula beer is probably the best american regular beer around - it's what beer used to taste like

back before the craft brewery craze, my beer was stroh's, which was a much better beer then - around nov or dec, they would come out with bock beer - i tried it out of curiosity and loved it - it was worthy stuff
posted by pyramid termite at 5:10 PM on February 12, 2013


PA has three types of places to buy alcohol:

* LCB run and generically named "Wine and Spirits" stores which sell wine and liquor but no beer, chips, mixers, lemons or ice. They are a little better than they used to be, when I moved here in the eighties they didn't even let you look at the bottles of wine before you bought them. Now at least you're allowed to browse the isles. There are a very limited number of these. My neighborhood, the Northside of Pittsburgh, has one and I think it closes at 7PM.

* Beer distributors which are these grim dusty warehouses where you're allowed to buy 24-count cases of beer but not 12-packs or 6-packs. And no, you can't mix and match. Some of them are drive-through, you just pull into the warehouse, pop the trunk, hand your money through the driver's window and they load the cases into your trunk and you drive off.

* Restaurants or bars where you can drink or buy one or two six-packs to go. No, you can't buy three, that's illegal. But you can buy two, walk to your car, stash the beer and then walk back in and buy two more. Or if there are two of you, each can buy two six-packs and pay separately.

Until recently, no supermarkets had beer but a few have figured out a work-around. Since there no such thing as a package store here, what they've had to do is to build a little tavern right in the supermarket. The LCB says that if you sell six packs, you have to allow people to drink them there on the premises so the supermarket has a little cordoned off area with beer coolers and a few tables and a counter where you can sit and drink your beer. I've never once actually seen someone sit and drink a beer in the Giant Eagle supermarket beer section but the state rules say that it has to be allowed. But again, only two six-packs at a time.
posted by octothorpe at 5:12 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow, that union made beers list reads like a worst of the worst in American beer. It's more important that companies like Anheuser-Busch lose their monopoly regardless, but still wow.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:01 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't know that Hamm's counted as union-made. I assume that it's merely the well-cooled corpse of the brand I remember as having such wonderful animated ads with the haunting tune and moody lyrics:
♪♪ "From the land of sky-blue wa-a-a-ters/ Comes the beer refreshing./ Hamm's" ♪♪
posted by wenestvedt at 6:10 PM on February 12, 2013


jeffburdges, you should see the union-made wines I drink...

As an aside, though, I do actually enjoy drinking Wild Turkey.
posted by espidre at 6:41 PM on February 12, 2013


I drink Coors because I live in Golden. Few know it but there's a small window during which it's fresh enough to be drinkable, and that window seems to be a twenty mile radius. By the time it reaches Boulder it tastes like crap again.

I'm surrounded by great microbrews, not least of which is GCB, which is only ten blocks from Coors. Whenever family or friends vist I take them to the biergarten and they have a great time. I talk up the local labels every opportunity I get. But do I drink them myself? Sorry. It's often over 10 for a six. If I'm going to spend that money I'll get twenty.
posted by clarknova at 6:49 PM on February 12, 2013


Thanks for the union-made beer list, that's interesting stuff.

I should note that there are a fair number of craft breweries that are employee-owned, which I'd hope would provide a similar effect for their employees.
posted by asperity at 8:03 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


This article which was in the Willamette Week explains some of the OLCC's weirdness and also makes it a bit more sympathetic (though it remains annoying). Also, while most liquor stores cannot sell beer, there is one in the Pearl District which does...it's pretty weird. They have some special license, apparently. It reminds me of the System Bolagets in Sweden, actually. Very orderly, lots of shelves and lights and imported alcohol and bottled of beer.
posted by nonmerci at 8:46 PM on February 12, 2013


Glad you liked it, asperity.

I know New Belgium and Full Sail are employee owned, and I do occasionally make exceptions for Fat Tire and Session Black Lager. But I have to admit I don't know anything about those companies' specific arrangements. And my understanding is that "worker owned" can mean a lot of different things; an employee stock ownership plan does not necessarily mean workers actually get just-cause protections or any meaningful say in their workplace.

I suppose this is a complete derail at this point, but I do think labor issues are too often ignored in debates over food and beverages these days. And beer happens to be a rare example of a product where "union made" is still always an option.
posted by espidre at 8:46 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Part of the reason I hesitate to condemn mass-produced beer is that some times this really feels like a class issue to me (especially here in Maine, with tons of local brewing and the ubiquitous "why would you drink that?!" attitude). Looking down on less-fortunate people's economic decisions as poor taste makes me uncomfortable.

I don't look down on people who can't afford craft beer; I look down on people who put together a $200+ mixed case of wine and then buy a case of Miller Lite or Corona.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 9:08 PM on February 12, 2013


By the way, 3.2 refers to alcohol by weight. Since alcohol is less dense than water, that's equal to 4.0% alcohol by volume. It's certainly possible to make full-flavored beer at a relatively modest strength (ask the English), but American craft brewers tend not to bother. Unlike in the UK, beer isn't taxed by alcohol content, so there isn't much difference in the retail price of a six pack of 4% pale ale and a six pack of 7% stout. Even (or especially) beer geeks aren't immune to the simple $/alc calculation.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 9:30 PM on February 12, 2013


It's also easier to make an awesome tasting beer at a higher ABV than to bother with a good mild or bitter at 3.something.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:33 PM on February 12, 2013


I'm lucky enough to have two micro breweries - Thirsty Bear & 21st Amendment - a few blocks from my apartment.
posted by mike3k at 11:07 PM on February 12, 2013


21st Amendment

My local had Bitter American on tap for a long time--I think I was the only one who drank it, but I drank the hell out of it. I just love a well-made session beer.

I live close enough to Great South Bay to stop in for a growler pretty frequently, and it's very good, standard beer. Nothing particularly adventurous--they've got a blood orange-infused pale ale that really works for me, but that's about as wild as it gets--but it's all solid. I try to buy growlers there rather than bottled beer from anywhere else when I can, but it's not often enough.

They do run free BBQs at the brewery every Friday, though, which is pretty neat. They're a good bunch. If you ever see the Blood Orange or their DIPA (Hoppocratic Oath) on tap, you should try some.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:26 AM on February 13, 2013


Stavros' pain is one I share. Beer in supermarkets in Japan is a wall of Kirin/Asahi/Sapporo, with cheaper fake beer taking up half the aisle. And one can of Sapporo runs $2.50.

I've really gotten into Japanese microbrews, but it's almost impossible to find them outside he neighborhood they're brewed in, though I've heard Yokohama has a pretty decent number of craft beer bars.

I've got two pint bottles of Okutama no Megumi pale ale in my fridge, waiting for a moment that will justify cracking open a seven dollar bottle of beer. It's not that Sapporo and the like are bad, they aren't, really, it's just the total sameness of the market. There's lager, and occasional stouts of varying quality. No ale to be found, no porter, unless you're willing to pay, and pay dearly.

If you're eve in Japan and want try some good beers, bring your wallet, we'll have a great time.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:31 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unlike in the UK, beer isn't taxed by alcohol content

So what you're saying is I could lobby for a change in alcohol taxation specifically to get me more session beers faster? SIGN ME UP.
posted by asperity at 7:18 AM on February 13, 2013


Wow, that union made beers list reads like a worst of the worst in American beer.

I believe many European breweries are union, though it's surprisingly hard to find a list.
posted by enn at 8:00 AM on February 13, 2013




Wow, that union made beers list reads like a worst of the worst in American beer.


Traditional labour unions don't do well in really small shops, and craft breweries tend not to have large workforces.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:58 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looking down on people for their beer choices? Why? People like what they like.
Personally, I only rank about 1/3 of the "craft" microbrew stuff I've tried as better than run-of-the-mill Coors/Labatt/Molson stuff (which are passable, if nothing special), and the other 2/3 of the craft beers as undrinkable swill. Smaller isn't always better. YMMV.
posted by rocket88 at 1:54 PM on February 13, 2013


Your favorite beer sucks.
posted by maryr at 2:38 PM on February 13, 2013


Anyone who would like my beercation itinerary Memail me and let me know.
posted by Polyhymnia at 12:04 PM on February 14, 2013


Sam Adams founder’s quest for the perfect can.
posted by ericb at 7:17 AM on February 17, 2013


Sam Adams founder’s quest for the perfect can.

Sam Adams just released this news on their Facebook feed ... more than a thousand morons crying over what a pity it is. Incredible.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:13 AM on February 17, 2013


Anheuser-Busch is being is being sued for watering down their beer.
posted by rdr at 7:30 PM on February 26, 2013


Link is broken?
posted by maryr at 8:09 PM on February 26, 2013


Sorry, I'll try again.
posted by rdr at 5:26 PM on February 27, 2013


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