Much of this controversy actually blew up late last week on social media. Although, we’re just posting about it now on this site, the “faux craft” brewers have responded to the barrage we covered yesterday. SABMiller’s craft arm, Tenth & Blake, issued a statement in response to the “craft vs. crafty” debate:
While we do agree with the sentiment they express: great beer is great beer – and we all appreciate great beer! – the statement linked above misses the point of yesterday’s debate. If you’re selling “great beer,” then why not disclose who is making it? Why not put SABMiller on the package, rather than a shell company? Are you truly promoting the best beer to consumers or are you trying to make it appear that you’re a small craft entrepeneur, who’s built a business by scratching out one consumer at a time and via word of mouth to reach ultimate success…rather than a HUGE multinational corporation with the power to influence distribution and retail exposure?
No one here is against “big companies,” nor anyone getting rich selling beer. We do, however, lament the less-than-honest approach that the faux crafts are taking in presenting their wares to consumers. Many people think Blue Moon is from Belgium, Killians is from Ireland, and Leinenkugel is the product of two folksie brothers from northern Wisconsin.
None of those things are true
…and unfortunately, some consumers make their beverage choices based on those myths and the fact that the power of the actual parent organization gains these products access to retail space – ballparks, golf courses, hotel chains, 99% of supermarkets, 99% of convenience stores, big box retailers, etc. – that true local craft brewers find restricted.
If the three-tier system operated as intended, the little guy should have that same market access and consumers should be able to make their own choices…in which case, the best beer wins. Instead, these faux craft beers are seeking to capitalize on the work of the shallower pockets by literally stealing their stories and romance for themselves, rather than admitting freely who they are and allowing consumers to make a truly informed choice.
And the beer wars continue.
EDIT (12.Dec.12): The conversation continues LINK