When our illustrious founder, Luis Tovar, e-mailed me his first draft of the above mentioned article, the first thing I did was attempt to edit some of the points he was making. After a bit of thought, though, I felt that he should publish it as it was, and that I would do a piece myself challenging the aspect of “gateway beer.”
I have no problem with gateway beers. I consumed a lot of Blue Moon, Newcastle and Guinness on my way to discovering the microcosm of craft beer. I do, however, have a problem with InBev and MillerCoors attempting to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes by pretending to be a small, craft company. As I was discovering new beers, I constantly found myself trying new varieties of Shock Top and Leinenkugel, as well as stumbling upon international delicacies such as Boddington’s. Imagine my surprise when I found out that these beers were all sitting under the umbrella of the larger beer corporations. It’s not that I had a problem with the beer, I had a problem with where my money was going. This is where my main problem with these pseudo-craft beers arises from.
If you’re reading this, this is probably not new information. However, for a lot of people, they think that their money is helping out smaller breweries. A lot of people also don’t realize that the marketing strategy of the larger beer corporations is to overtake the already small market share of craft beer. Craft beer is scary to them. It’s slowly gaining market share, while macro beers are seeing diminishing sales. With this happening, the major corporations are pushing stores to carry more of their products, while dropping smaller breweries, or moving their product to unfavorable locations. I’m not sure if I want my money going into their coffers.
I’ll use Boddington’s Pub Ale as prime example. I fell in love with this beer, and everything about it. I loved the simplistic cans, the draught feel, and the smooth, creamy flavor. When I found out that they were owned by InBev, I was a bit defiant. I figured it wasn’t a big deal, but then I read more and more into the tactics on InBev. The more I read, the less I wanted to give them my hard earned money. To this day, I have yet to buy another Boddington’s. I miss the beer, but I feel better about where my money is being spent.
Does Goose Island make good beer? Of course. Is it OK to drink it? Of course. There is nothing wrong with drinking any beer that you like, after all; “All beer is good beer.” No one should ever criticize or judge what you choose to drink, or how you spend your cash. However, you should know exactly where your money is going to.
Perhaps I’m biased. I’ve always rooted for the little guy, whether it be independent music, independent film, or small business. I like to know that the money I invest is going to those who I respect and who are looking to further the industry they are in. Again, I must reiterate, there is nothing wrong with your money going to InBev or Coors, it’s just not my cup of tea.
In closing, I’ll leave you with a fantastic quote from Stone Brewing Company founder Greg Koch from an interview with CNN: “If you want to listen to Milli Vanilli, I suppose that’s a choice you get to make. Just know that you’re making that choice.”