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Anheuser-Busch’s The High End responds to ‘independent craft’ seal

"The problem is that the BA continues to refuse to let the consumer make up their own mind and tries to make it up for them."
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ABOVE: Six Viewpoints from The High End from The High End on Vimeo.

Earlier this week, the Brewers Association, a trade group representing small and independent breweries, unveiled its “certified independent craft” seal. The association encourages breweries that meet its definition of “independent” to use the free seal on packaging and marketing materials. It’s intended to help those breweries distinguish themselves from so-called Big Beer, or breweries that have sold to larger brewing conglomerates (most notably Anheuser-Busch’s The High End division).

The High End and its constituent breweries are, apparently, not thrilled by the seal. A video released today by The High End features six responses from brewers and executives within The High End, including the founders of breweries like Wicked Weed and Four Peaks as well as Felipe Szpigel, president of The High End.

“At the end of the day, the beer does the talking, not the label on the package, and the consumer makes up their own mind. The problem is that the BA [Brewers Association] continues to refuse to let the consumer make up their own mind and tries to make it up for them,” says 10 Barrel Brewing’s Garret Wales in the video. “They have a little bottle that someone told me ‘that’s what I have to buy’ because there is a bottle on the six packs, but that doesn’t mean shit to me.”

Watch the video for more responses from The High End.

87 Comments

  • Chuck Thomas says:

    But it’s not denying consumers a choice when you buy up all the handles at airports and ballparks? Nobody is forced to buy independent beer, but when independents don’t even have a shot at getting a handle because of predatory and sometimes illegal trade practices, these High End brewers don’t have a problem with that. The hypocrisy of this video is ridiculous. You sold your brewery to a conglomerate that is dedicated to destroying and dominating all of your “friends” in the independent world. As an American company you have every right to do that, but don’t expect the little guy to not fight back. And for God’s sake, please stop whining about it. You cannot straddle the line; you made a decision when you took the check. Accept what you now are…and realize that you are the enemy of independent craft.

    • Katie Stevens says:

      My thoughts exactly. Thank you.

    • cdoc says:

      spot on. not to mention the leverage they have over hop contracts….. see south African hops this year

      • Stewfnrocker says:

        It isn’t that they have leverage over hop contracts, AB is to Hops as Ocean Spray is to cranberries. They own or have contracts with these hop farmers all over the world. This is a reason some haven’t really delved into why a smaller growing craft brewery would accept a buyout, so they can make brews with hop strains they wouldn’t have had access to if they wouldn’t have accepted a pretty payout.

    • Mike Gaddy says:

      Well said, Chuck!

    • Jonathan B says:

      Amen!

    • Mark Fuller says:

      Walt Dickinson, now we know what a sell-out looks like.

      • Scott Lawrence says:

        Couldn’t agree more. It’s complete B.S. Wicked Weed and all of them want to have their cake and eat it too. They are a foreign owned “Walmart” now and the rest of us are the small independent businesses fighting them. Good for them and their families that they made a ton of money, but it’s terrible in my mind to support anything any of these Budweiser breweries do.

    • Dustin says:

      This, so much this

    • James says:

      So these guys won’t make Vanilla Rye, but I’m supposed to give a sh*t what they think? Sorry brah, I don’t care about your hardships.

    • CJ says:

      Totally agree… I don’t see how putting a seal on a bottle takes away consumers choice. If anything this educates them on what brands are big beer and which are not.. This just educates the consumer and allows them to make an informed choice.

    • Michael says:

      This guy gets it. Thanks for saving me the key strokes!

  • Kevin McAuliffe says:

    Big Beer rules the world. Rotflamo. These guys are so delusional and so butt hurt.

  • cdoc says:

    sellouts acting tough LOL. i hope for your own legacies this was contractually obligated.

    hahah yeah walt! beer is losing margins to wine & liquor, well given craft is growing that means macro beer aka like the ones produced by your parent company are the ones losing ground.

  • Mikey says:

    Oh my God these guys are deranged. Budweiser put them through a Big Beer Boot Camp, obviously. AB daily tries to squash Independent craft breweries off the mat and they are saying the problem is Wine & Spirits. Holy shit this is evil stuff.

  • Lisa S says:

    Wow, panicked much? I guess they should have cause for concern when nearly 80% of beer drinkers recently polled say that purchasing from an independent brewery is a priority decision for them in a retail environment. As so many have pointed out in various media circles, including the BA themselves, this measure is intended to deliver *exactly* what the beer drinking community at large (“market adapters”) are asking for. Beer geeks, believe it or not, there are millions of folks out there whose lives don’t revolve around beer discussion groups, marketing blogs, ratings sites, trading forums and the next round of UnTappd badges (shocking news, right?!) They just want a quick, straightforward and simple way to know that they’re buying a product that is aligned with their values, which this initiative is intended to deliver. If the High End and their ilk (no, I didn’t watch the propaganda video, thank you) think that they can win the war on quality or value or what’s inside the bottle that counts for more, so be it, let them come up with their own label letting their audience know exactly who they and their brands are. Oh wait, don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen …. #obsfucation

    • Dave says:

      I believe you are referencing this article for the 80% # https://www.brewbound.com/news/brewbound-nielsen-study-reveals-independence-matters

      I’m not sure that ‘ awareness’ of the term necessarily equates to purchasing decision, but that might not be clearly stated. If it does, then “hoppy” is just about as much a purchasing decision. I think the other issue that the BA runs into is …does their definition of independence resonate with the average beer drinker’s definition of independence.

      For example, does having a large private equity partner interfere with a brewery’s ability to be truly independent? Should being owned by an international brewery exclude someone from being “independent” even if that brewery still operates with autonomy? Does being publicly traded on the NYSE still count as independent? I think, depending on who you ask, the answer to these questions vary widely and thus makes it a little harder to have this label make a huge impact.

      • Gabe says:

        I don’t think it’s really as complicated as you’re making it sound. Most craft beer people I know don’t want a beer associated in any way with a ‘big beer’ conglomerate. You can split hairs about just how much association there is, but basically I think beer geeks would prefer none. AB is not in the business of handing out huge checks just because they feel good about being partners and want the craft beer scene to flourish. They do it to make money and increase market share. To the extent that they are still doing this, they may allow these breweries to function independently. But no amount of heartfelt videos from sellout brewers will make me believe that AB is hands off no matter what. If they see an opportunity to increase profits or a way to crush another brewery using their High End products, they’ll do it in a heartbeat. Anyone who thinks otherwise is very naive. The fact that they didn’t start filling Wicked Weed bottles with Bud Light on day one should not change anyone’s idea of what big beer is about. Of course they are treading lightly right now while the level of publicity is high, but they are in it for the long game.

        As others have said, it’s pretty simple. If these guys really believe that having a great equity partner like AB is nothing to be worried about, why are they scrambling around in total defense mode? Proudly let everyone know that you are funded with AB money – hell, put it on your label. It’s all about the beer inside the bottle, right?

        • Dave says:

          I guess that’s my point. If beer geeks prefer that there is no outside association from “Big Beer” or otherwise then the BA needs to be kicking a lot of other brewers out of the group that they deem “independent.” Being publicly traded (Sam Adams), huge investments from Private Equity (Dogfish, Stone, Oskar Blues, etc), Owned by foreign brewers (Ommegang, Boulevard, Firestone Walker). The BA’s definition of independence likely does not coexist with the craft beer geek’s definition of independence. Therefore, what is the label worth really worth?

          • Gabe says:

            Completely agree about the foreign owned brands, though I can understand the distinction since those are not usually involved in ad campaigns targeted at American craft brewers.

            But I don’t think any company that sells equity should be declared no longer independent. This isn’t really about financial independence. Stockholders of SAM or private equity firms who invest in other brands can’t be put on the same level as AB InBev. One group is looking for a ROI as they would with any other investment, while another is using their equity position to gain a foothold in a market that they’d previously been unable to penetrate.

      • Jason says:

        “For example, does having a large private equity partner interfere with a brewery’s ability to be truly independent?”

        I don’t know. Did your silent equity holder actively support legislation in my state that puts a ceiling on taproot sales and forces brewers to pay distributors for onside sales?

        In the same time frame, retail prices on on craft beer have jumped by as much as 20%. Are you really independent if your silent partner is lobbying to artificially pump the prices of your competitors? You’re right. There are some devils in the details.

      • Feliciano Montoya says:

        It really is not that complicated. If they are associated, specifically, with a Big Beer conglomerate that has the intention of stifling out or buying out all competition, then they shouldn’t get the seal. I am not as worried about who owns the brewery as I am about what those owners do to/with other fellow breweries. You can say it’s all about the beer all you want, but at the end of the day, if InBev had the ability to nip any famous craft beer brews in the bud, they would have. With every brewery they buy out, they get closer and closer to being able to do just that. Who knows how many amazing beers we will miss, or have already missed, due to business practices like this.

        To sum it all up, if they are ANTI CRAFT, they are the enemy. If they simply don’t get along with other craft breweries, then that’s still fine. The line to cross is when they become a part of the machine that aims to harm other breweries.

  • Bob Appleyard says:

    The seal doesn’t tell anyone what to buy. It provides information to me, as a consumer, that is relevant to MY choice of what to buy and consume. I am welcome, as others are, to disregard that information or to not use it. What information is conveyed by these messages from the “High” End? None… it’s diatribe.

  • L says:

    LOL @ Walt- what a fucking idiot. “We’re fighting a bigger battle and its against wine and spirits”. That’s some crafty PR wordsmithing right there- remove yourself from that fact that you sold out to the enemies of the industry you proclaim love for…

    • LMM says:

      Also the growth of wine and spirits = more great used barrels for Funkatorium Lime Light-a-rita or whatever. WALT.

    • Alex says:

      This x100… that shit drove me crazy! “We’re losing market share to wine and spirits”?!? What the fuck do I care, I drink beer, lol. I think you meant AB INBEV is losing to multi-billion-dollar wine and spirits, dude. Methinks Station 26 and Comrade here in Denver aren’t too terribly concerned with wine sales, they’re concerned with YOU GUYS.

  • sam says:

    Given the repetition of what they are saying, you can almost see the page of talking points the PR company sent out for them to address. “Here, we want you to go on camera and talk about a few of these points. Just do it in your own words”

  • Andrew says:

    They’re not trying to make up consumer’s minds, they’re trying to keep them informed.

  • Brian says:

    Those comments would mean more if they didn’t partner with a company that actively tries to undermine the actual craft brewers in the market place. Millions get spent trying to portray craft beer lovers as snobby people. You guys made a mistake….

  • Adam says:

    Enjoy your 40 pieces of silver.

    • Joel A. Christian says:

      A Judas reference should be 30 pieces of silver, but 2000 yrs of inflation would be at least 40 pieces now.

  • Stephen A Davis says:

    AB tried for years to create “craft beer” ie their Holiday multi packs. I tried them for 2 consequtive years and found that their taste odor and appearance were not even close to small batch breweries. So, what do you do when you’re product sucks and you have large amounts of money? You buy and lie to the competition.

  • Dan Pixley says:

    It’s really sad to see these guys trying to spin this as beer being under threat by wine and spirits. Adjunct lager beers like Budweiser are losing share to wine (although the market percentage of beer over wine and spirits as a whole is completely one sided with beer dominating by far), but craft beer is growing. What a lame argument.

    http://marketrealist.com/2015/03/beer-losing-ground-wine-spirits/

    • Dave says:

      Your article is over two years old. Craft’s growth has slowed dramatically since then.

      • Teddy P says:

        Do you have some data to back that up? I seem to see a new brewery open up every week and on every corner. Note seeing many shut down either. Of course I’m in NC so we are now the brewery capital of the US.

  • Mark Spencer says:

    My god. Where is Inbev’s PR company? How would you let something like this come out?

    These guys come off like the kid in the schoolyard who always talks smack but then cries and tells on you when you the punches start flying. Sheesh.

    I don’t begrudge anyone taking a fat payday, but don’t take said fat payday and then come back and act put out for being called a sellout. Because that’s exactly what you did. Sold out.

    AB-Inbev responding to something as small as a new label denoting craft beer and selling the “it should be all of us vs wine/liquor” storyline speaks volumes about the behemoth’s concern.

  • Teddy P says:

    I have so many thoughts right now after watching this video and maybe I’ll come back and address them, but I’ll just ask this. If they really REALLY believe that the product speaks for itself, then why are they trying so hard to hide in the craft beer community? Why don’t they slap a huge ABInbev logo on all their products?

  • Chris says:

    I wonder why they all seem to infer that independent brewers aren’t capable of making quality beer for a wide audience? While I think the label is dumb, the BA hasn’t made any claim that the label signifies quality as all of these guys allude to. Crap like this gives me all the more reason to not give that company a penny of money. What a bunch of Judas’

  • Anonymous Brewery Owner says:

    How nice for them that they have the budget to create a PR video to challenge the BA. Unfortunately us smaller brewers don’t have the same luxury when Big Beer spends hundreds of millions a year lobbying at the state and federal level to pass laws that negatively impact us and perpetuate their agenda. One of the biggest fallacies in this whole controversy is that somehow these corporate buyouts are victimless crimes. Every day They are buying shelf space for their crafty brands to occupy, to push us out. This is a systematic genocide of true indie breweries that Big Beer has managed to masterfully spin, and the real impact is being silently diminished through Billion dollar marketing campaigns.

  • Nick Lyons says:

    Agree with all that was said above. This reminds me of the Godfather scene where Corleone does a favor for a mortician. “Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me.”

    “The High End” is starting to learn how difficult returning favor will be with absurd video cameos like this.

    Do you think that the marketing team allowed all the folks on the video to schedule when they would record their bit, or do you think it was just put on their calendar for them?

    Guarantee more people listen/care about this BA symbol now that ABI is pushing back against it. They should have ignored it.

  • Marc Robinson says:

    A-B has been dead to me since they took over Rolling Rock from InBev, fired all of the workers at the only place it had been brewed (Latrobe, PA) and moved it to NJ. It may not have been a great beer but it was from my mother’s hometown.

  • Bill says:

    “The problem is that the BA [Brewers Association] continues to refuse to let the consumer make up their own mind and tries to make it up for them”. What horse-shit. There is a sizable body of literature on advertising and marketing techniques that are used and have been used by big companies such as AB for DECADES that are designed to do that VERY THING – make up consumer’s minds, with absolutely no regard for the actual product itself. Sorry that your go-to strategy of commercials with young 20-somethings dancing in a club with a lite beer isn’t doing much to sway craft beer drinkers.

  • Brian Lee says:

    That video is pathetic. I definitely have less respect for those individuals for participating their video. Sometimes, silence is better.

    Maybe the AB InBev breweries should come up with their own symbol to put on all of their packages. How about the Anheuser-Busch logo? So pathetic.

  • M says:

    So many stones being thrown in the ABI glass house. Any one of these guys would have put that logo on their labels before they sold. I can’t even begin to guess at the amount of money that ABI puts in to label design to entice consumers to buy their beer over everything else on the shelf. Independent doesn’t mean good, and big beer doesn’t mean bad, but all things being equal I’d rather know more than less about where my money is going.

  • Shawn says:

    What is funny is all the craft folks want nothing to do with Big Beer but they all want in on what Big Beer built…the distribution network. If you are so small business focused why sell your “soul” to the devil to get your beer distributed by that evil network?

    • Todd says:

      Some states still operate on the three tier system…laws vary state to state. If anything, you just helped the point that big beer controls the distribution network, and uses it to keep down smaller players.

      • Shawn says:

        Sounds like you are making excuses. It’s business, get over it. By the way all states operate on at least 3 tiers, do your homework.

        • Joel A. Christian says:

          Shawn you may need to do your homework. Here in NC there is a constant fight in the state to keep Independent Craft Beer out of the hands of Big Beer Distribution. NC state law requires that after 25000 Barrels per yr you must go through a state sanctioned distributor. Though several independant Craft Breweries have the capabilities to self distribute they are forced by state laws to sign with Big Beer Distributors, the lobbyists from Big Beer/Distributors keep the bills tied up in the House until they drop “barrel amount” from the purposed law, so the amount is never passed for an increase. It may be business but it lacks true ethics.

    • DOnovan says:

      The distribution laws are ridiculous and designed to stifle competition from small brewers.

  • Thirsty Boy says:

    I was thinking I was going to pocket my money instead of buying a Wicked Weed for a few months, just to show that I disagreed with their move. But after seeing this, I don’t think I’ll ever buy another one again. Good job, Walt. In the span of months you go from one of the most out spoken and well educated masters of your craft fighting so that everyone can have a seat at the table with laser like focus to being a total turn-heel spouting absolute nonsense fed to you by AB.

    At least I hope they told you to say that because otherwise YOU ARE A FUCKING IDIOT.

    See you at Busch Gardens everybody!

  • Shawn says:

    Thirsty Boy, everyone doesn’t get a trophy.

  • Doug Ellenberger says:

    As a Professional Brewer for the past 19 years, this is one of the lowest points I have seen in the industry. Don’t divide? We need to band together? TOTAL BS!! AB is trying to crush all of the rest of us. We need transparency in who is writing the grocery sets, Large Venues, Airports, etc. It’s all pay to play and AB is picking up the tap. But don’t worry too much. They have always been the BIG TREE, and we, the true brewers, have been the small AX. The cream will rise, and some will fall. But at least we are serving up pints of Shit soup like this video. All of these brew puppets should be ashamed of themselves. Smug Ass Poser ASS-CLOWNS!!

  • The Jimmy says:

    Hey Buhler…. (and the rest of you gutless EMBARRASSING ‘yes’ men)… you can blabber on all you want about what you think you know about punk rock, but here are two things WE all know.
    1. You can’t just unsuck Budweiser’s dick. Sorry. You did that. It happened. We all know it. And you KNOW we know.
    2. You can’t wear a Nickelback tshirt to a Bad Brains concert and then cry little butt hurt brewer tears when no one wants to invite you backstage to party. You work for a foreign owned Corporation that will FIRE you if you ever say anything bad about Lime-a Rita’s in public. Truth. So yeah. You don’t get to hang out with or talk shit about the kids that listen to punk rock, or any other rock for that matter. You might still sport your requisite brewer beard and wear your cool dude Sounders gear on the outside, but on the inside you tuck that sweet Nickelback tshirt into your khaki Dockers and wear New Balance walking shoes every single day you go to work for them. Them meaning the ones who OWN you. YOU. ARE. OWNED. Way to choke guys. Way to be the guys that had no heart. Way to fucking suck.

  • David says:

    Of all the brainwashed, robotic, store-bought comments coming out of these guys’ faces, I think the one that offends me the most is from the Four Peaks guy. To say the BA does not care about quality is absurd, insulting, downright ignorant and simply just wrong. Shame on you, Four Peaks guy. The BA preaches and preaches and preaches and preaches about quality. They offer extensive resources to help brewers improve their quality. Paul Gatz’s famous quote is “If you aren’t committed to quality, GET OUT!”
    You know this very well four Peaks guy, so why are you bullshitting us? No one is buying it.
    The 10 Barrel guy is talking out of his ass as well, but I wouldn’t tell him that to his face. Dude’s a beast.

  • Eric Sanchez says:

    Honestly this is a stupid article for one reason. Craft beer and big business beer are two different entities. If large breweries were brewing beer of the taste and quality of craft beer. Then I could see an issue. Thats like saying a foodtruck is taking a brick and morters business. Two different needs being met. And honestly. Is big beer really threatened? They have theme parks, stadiums, races, and large commercial venues all sewn up. If a person wants a Bud Light (god forbid) they can go to pretty much any venue where theres entertainment. If they want a really good beer? Theyll go to a micro brewery.

  • Aaron Saxon says:

    I like the idea that the BA has created with an Independent bottle logo! This union guy likes to spend his money on American owned, American made products whenever possible and that includes the beer I choose to drink! It will also make it easier to educate my friends and coworkers on what they are buying and where the money is going. Cheers!

  • WOW!…
    …so many thoughts — heavy, heartfelt thoughts on this. The comments made in this video, well, left my jaw on the floor. I have never (never!) looked at the “big guys” who play ball with the rest of the craft beer industry as anything associated with InBev, etc. The “big guys”? For me? Are folks like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium Brewing, who are 100-PERCENT independent, and yet billon-dollar companies, and yet never (never!) sold out. I repeat: NEVER. SOLD. OUT. The audacity of this clip just puts a “period” at the end of the sentence that states the following: “We are independent, we are a brotherhood and a sisterhood, and we stick together, for a better beer, a better brand, a more sustainable company, and more dollars put back into our backyards and NOT in the hands of a horizontally or vertically integrated corporation.”

  • Albert says:

    I guess I understood the distrust, fear and even hatred of Big Beer that a few brewers had in 1980s and 1990s when they had so much work to do to get their products to consumers, have legislators understand them and their businesses, and put together and maintained breweries at scales that the world just wasn’t ready for at the time. That kind of adventure could make many a man cross and hostile. But I don’t understand why these fears and anger have persisted. Frankly, it’s hard to understand and here’s the simple reason why…

    We are currently living in a time when there are more than 5000 brewers in the US, more than at any other time in our nation’s history, and most of these brewers are quite small. There are another 4000 more US breweries in planning, according to the TTB. If Big Beer has so much control, and makes life so hard on the little guy, then why are we living in craft beer’s golden age? If Big Beer’s treachery has gotten craft breweries this far, you would think they would want a whole lot more of it!

    Albert Graves
    Bismark, North Dakota

  • Jesse Trent says:

    Wow. Nice excuses, guys. You sold out to the Man, so please, tell me how you are still “craft.” You’re puppets.

    If your Sugar Daddy wasn’t so shifty about hiding that they owned these breweries in the past, then do you think this would have come about? I actually like the idea, not necessarily the logo, but you see, this helps the consumer decide where their money is going to.

    YOU. SOLD. OUT. Own that! I like how the Man already owns you and you’ve just put it on video record for everyone to see and push in your face. Congratulations. At least you got your money.

  • Dave Shuck says:

    When I buy beer, I have a list of breweries that have sold out. I don’t support those brands. Thank you for helping me to find a list of the breweries that I can add to to that list.
    Fucking never buy again (i’ll drink water, thanks.):
    Goose Island
    Blue Point
    10 Barrel
    Elysian Brewing
    Golden Road Brewing
    Four Peaks Brewing
    Breckenridge
    Devils Backbone Brewing
    Carbach Brewing
    Wicked Weed Brewing

    Drink local. Fuck AB/InBev. Support the BA.

  • Barry says:

    So, how long until AB starts buying up label-makers?

  • Steven Souza says:

    A bit ironic that the BA, which made some the earliest and the most unethical concessions to big beer by handing out medal categories to their biggest sponsors, is now the group that stands up for the little guy? My, how quick people forget.

    “[MillerCoors] now has 210 medals at the prestigious national event [Great American Beer Festival], more than any other brewer.”

  • Josh LaRue says:

    These guys are mad-they sold out. They are only trying to justify their choices in their own mind now. They used the craft brewing status to build a brand, off the wallets of drinkers who wanted to get away from Inbev/Coors/etc. Then they stabbed us in the back. I haven’t seen any of these brands being sold anywhere they weren’t already, so they can’t say it was just for distribution.
    I personally don’t care about the new labels. I don’t buy from the breweries that sold out, others can if they choose to. But I want my money going to help local businesses grow and make great products, not to the pocket of the guys who aim to limit our choices.

  • Shawn says:

    Snowflakes.

    • Sean says:

      Wow, that’s original!! Did you think of that all by yourself! You must be so smart and just a great person to get along with. Does going around calling people BS names make you feel better about your shortcomings as a man?

      (Since I can see by all your previous posts how much of a genius you are, I am saying you have a tiny pe*is., loser)

  • Ruthie says:

    A-B is now brewing up some mighty evil Kool-Aid, and these sorry dopes are now contractually obligated to drink it. Prost, assholes!

  • beershirecat says:

    LOL at beer losing margin to wine & spirits…what do you think those margins were 5/10 years ago compared to today? The only beer losing margins to indie beer, wine and spirits is Ab-Inbev. Move your Belgium HQ to America and admit your practices are wrong, and maybe your stock will go up. Until then, supporting the small guy is the way to go.

  • Mike Brenner says:

    as i truly independent brewery owner… i say fuck these assholes. take your payday and disappear. don’t fucking lecture the rest of us to make yourselves feel better for selling out. when you signed contracts with the devil you knew the rest of us would hate you. get over it. enjoy your financial freedom and shut the fuck up. you are now irrelevant, BUT irrelevant and rich as fuck.

  • Tony says:

    Maybe I want my money going to a small business and not a global corporation….

  • Keith Patton says:

    Seems no different than the lame “born on date” that AB made such a big thing about. As a 25 year plus home brewer I refuse to buy Mega brewers products and educate all my non- brewer friends about what the assault on independent brewers by the global mega brewers means to them: lowering of quality and selection. I educate them about he moves of the global conglomerates to make money off home brewers ( acquisition of Northern and Midwest Brewers home brew suppliers whom I no longer patronize). Home brewers with educated palates can taste the difference in the brewing ingredients and processes that have already taken some world class beers in the AB Inbev stable into the realm of mediocrity. As Abe said you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Craft Brew will live on and your High End will sink to mediocrity and be replaced by others who’s primary concern is not profit.

  • Mullski says:

    Well then. How long before AB/inbev starts fucking with wine and spirits ? Go make some. Go buy up distilleries and wineries and all the grape seeds on the planet and the land to grow them on. Be the roman empire of beer, but remember how that will end.

  • Marilyn Litt says:

    Oh dear, I just keep robotically refusing the beers that appear first on the menu, Bud Bud Lite Miller Miller Lite . . you know the waitstaff’s chanted answer to “What beers do you have?” When will I learn to stop at the mega displays of 24 packs and buy those that are relentlessly advertised? When will I stand up for myself and refuse to be led by craft brewers who want me to try distinctive flavorful styles that will challenge my tastebuds? I guess I am just hopeless! Yesterday I bought Bell’s and Tall Grass, not a lite among them . . .

  • Beer Angel says:

    Buhler? My understanding is that your founder was devastated that he was out-voted to stay independent. Why’s that? This video is shameful. You guys look like a 6-pack of company stooges. To answer all of your questions, Dave, YES. We are going to remind the consumer WHY it matters to be independent~ In-Bev hasn’t helped our community except to fire some incredible talent that moved over to work with people that care more about community than their bottom line. There is some truth here though~ the best beers will win.. The Craft Industry was created with the spirit of collaboration; the label is a celebration of our ties to each other and our ability to lift one another up: truly punk. This isn’t a civil war. This is a revolution.

  • Sean D says:

    All one has to do is watch “Beer Wars,” the nearly 10-year-old documentary on AB’s business practices, to understand that these small craft brewers are fighting the good fight here, and people calling them “butt hurt” or “snowflakes” have no idea what they are talking about.

  • Jack says:

    Watching the video response I got the impression these guys don’t even believe their message. This is something the “man behind the curtain” from ABI High End is telling them to say. One statement was that two weeks ago, one brewery was brewing craft beer and now after going over to ABI they are still brewing craft beer. Perhaps, but the brewer is not of the same mindset. That has changed. You took the money, now you are the talking head for the “man”. This week I saw a cooler door in my favorite beer store lined with an advertisement — CRAFT BEER OF THE USA — with all the ABI High End breweries named around the periphery. Craft Beer = Devils Backbone, Goose Island, 10 Barrel, etc. Yes, perhaps the beer is the same, but the brewer is not.

  • Sarah says:

    “The amount of jobs that we [at The High End] provide locally.” … Didn’t The High End just lay off nearly 400 employees in one foul swoop?

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