Thursday, September 10, 2015

Lagunitas and Heineken: The bigger the price tag, the greater the irrelevance.

The Lagunitas/Heineken deal struck me no differently than when picking up a Wall Street Journal or Financial Times and reading the breathless report of a Chinese plumbing supplies manufacturer agreeing to pay 4.5 gazillion whatevers for a 50% stake in a French PVC pipe flange fabricator.

It's just money now. True, some day I might board a plane somewhere and have the choice of canned Lagunitas, as brewed by a Heineken subsidiary in Kenya, and then maybe I'll drink one. Then again, I might shoot a 50 ml of Seagram's Gin instead -- or just have straight apple juice.

Now more than ever, what matters to me is supporting brewers who function as independent local business persons. I know from a quarter-century of experience that these are the folks keeping the ethos real, and the money local, where it recirculates and helps other local businesses. It's just a matter of personal taste. Multinationals like Heineken have enough money. I'd rather have more control over where mine is spent.

It's time to put the genuinely local and "micro" back into this thing we all love. They're my bold italics in the wonderful passage below. Thanks, Jeff Alworth. It's where my head has been for a very long while.

WE NEED TO DIAL IT BACK A NOTCH, by Jeff Alworth (All About Beer Magazine)

... The world of American brewing is so hot right now that it’s hard to announce anything without lapsing into hyperbole. Everything’s the best thing ever, always. And, when a brewery sells itself to a larger brewery, it is the worst thing ever. Magee’s announcement is a spectacular Trump-like masterpiece of overstatement, and for me it was the moment Craft jumped the shark into over-seriousness. Going forward, I’m planning to focus less on the specific products and breweries of the commercial sphere—they will come and go, inevitably—and more on the act of sharing a beer with someone I enjoy. And I definitely won’t be thinking of any brewery as so important that it can change the trajectory of history. It’s time to dial everything back a notch.

No comments: