Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A note on Brew at the Zoo, 2013.

With appropriately misplaced fanfare, the organizers of Brew at the Zoo (Louisville edition) have revealed on Facebook that "We're excited to welcome Goose Island Beer Co. as a sponsor of Brew 2013!"


That's too bad, because I'm not excited at all.

This unfortunate move contradicts what the festival has always been about, which is the value of localism in beer, and as a consequence, NABC will not be able to actively participate this year. I fully understand that AB-InBev's predictable shell game puppeteer routine v.v. Goose's sponsorship money does not constitute overall title sponsorship of the zoo event (although it may be only a matter of time). It's just that certain principles genuinely matter, and to myself and NABC, this is one of them.

I'm not angry, just saddened. Note that we'll happily return to Brew at the Zoo when thematic unity is restored.

Other local brewers are free to examine their consciences with respect to whether they should participate under AB-InBev's chosen conditions (foreign ownership, foreign sponsorship, payola, anti-localism), which cruelly negate the ethos and rationale of their own small breweries -- but this is no litmus test. Do as you please. As of this moment, I'm finished with the topic ... in 2013. perhaps the dark clouds will abate in 2014, and we can gather together at the Parrot Dice Casino once again.

Lest readers draw the wrong conclusions, my personal and brewery support for Brew at the Zoo goes back to the very start. In 2004, at the very first one, NABC drove all the way back to New Albany and back to fetch two kegs of beer and keep the drinkers at the Zoo watered when all the other beer was gone. Search the pages of this blog, and find yearly reminders from me to attend the event and be part of the fun.

The zoo event has evolved quite positively over the years, but AB-InBev's cash clearly signals regression. I hope it isn't indicative of a permanent shift. Only time will tell.

Localism + Beer (Nov. 15, 2012 at LouisvilleBeer.com)

Eyes and Palates, Wide Open

Not so long ago, Goose Island Brewing Company was a proud independent, but now it is 100% owned by the multinational monolith called AB-Inbev, meaning that in cold, hard fact, Goose Island is no more independent than an Ignatius J. Reilly-themed weenie wagon on the streets of Pyongyang, North Korea. Honkers Ale remains certifiably better than Budweiser, but to me, it really matters where the money goes … and dollars paid for Honkers ultimately travel to corporate headquarters in Leuven, Belgium, not Chicago, Illinois.

Sorry, but Goose Island sold out. Craft beer drinkers need to examine their consciences lest they sell out, too.

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