Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Boycottin' beers

It's really not saying very much when I say that I'm boycotting a particular brand of beer. Not only is it pretty insignificant due to the fact that I'm just one guy, but it's even less significant considering that about 95% of the beer I drink is the stuff that I make. Still, I was inspired by the movie Beer Wars to rethink the kinds of beers that I buy when I feel like getting something that didn't start from the hose in my backyard.

I had written some time ago (I can't seem to find the link to it though) about Budweiser's American Ale and how I was pretty excited at the prospects of the big brewers starting to delve into making craft beers. My rationale was that a lot of people who might not normally try a Sierra Nevada might try something with the name Budweiser on it, and from there they might move on to try beers made by the smaller breweries. I haven't completely changed my mind about this, and I still think that there's some merit to this argument.

The kinds of beers that I'm more opposed to are the likes of Blue Moon, Shock Top, and Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale. What's wrong with these beers, you might ask? Well, nothing's really wrong with them. Blue Moon is a decent witbier, and Shock Top's not bad either. (Truth to tell though, I preferred Sam Adams now-defunct Spring Ale and my own personal homebrewed wit. Hoegaarden's not bad either, probably because they're the original witbier.) Same goes for Jack's. Then what's the problem? The problem is that they're made by the big breweries. Blue Moon comes from Coors and the other two come from Anheuser Busch (Budweiser).

That's not necessarily so awful, but the thing that I resent is that they don't openly advertise this fact. In the movie, they showed how Shock Top has a completely bogus brewery on the label, and if you go to the address, you wind up at the Budweiser plant in Fairfield, California. Why would they do such a thing? Mainly to drive the smaller breweries out of business. According to the film, beer sales are stagnant right now with one major exception, and that is the craft beer market. Not content to have the vast majority of beer sales with watered-down crap like Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller Light, these breweries are trying to take up more space at the grocery store at the expense of the smaller - and usually better - breweries. Of course, they can do this because they have the advertising and distribution muscle that the smaller guys can only dream of having.

Basically, the thing that I learned is that the big breweries are only getting bigger as one huge brewery buys out another one. Ultimately, they will try and get as much of their stuff on the shelf as possible. Why else would they create things like Budweiser Select? Do you really think that there was a high demand for a watered-down light beer that wasn't Bud Light?

I suppose that if somebody offers me a Blue Moon, I won't turn them down. However, I won't be giving my money to Coors. (Actually, I have a wit that I bottled a few days ago, so there really is no need.) I'll also be careful that when I do buy something that seems like a craft brew, I'll make darned sure that I really am supporting a company that actually cares about making good beer and not just eating into another demographic.


Nolan said...

Blue Moon is for girls. I really like the new Sam Adams Noble Pils. That is all.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Just because girls like it, that doesn't mean that it's "for" girls. After all, it's a style that dates back long before our modern marketing techniques, even though it is relatively new to our country.

Now something like Miller Lite with Lime? That's definitely for douchebags. They tested and marketed it specifically for that demographic.

Philly said...

i think its douchebags/hipsters, if you want to specific.

Did you notice the Beer Wars production company spelled "entertainment" wrong on the copyright page at the end of the clip?

Lance Christian Johnson said...

No, I missed that!