Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Craft Brewery Graveyard

So after so many breweries either being bought outright or selling off percentages of their company to big beer, I'm gong to start keeping a list of breweries whose beers I won't be buying anymore.

This is just my ideology about craft beer. So many of these breweries have preached doing it for the love of making beer and the comradery you get in craft beer that you can't get in any other business.

They preach about just loving what they're doing. Then they sell out to big beer. Well say goodbye to my money. I'm a homebrewer, I'll brew my own.

So I say it's about the money for these companies, which is pretty damn good considering the cheapest craft beer in Western NY is about $10 a six pack, even from our local breweries like Ithaca brewing. Most of the time I'm paying $11-13 a 6 pack which is definitely an increase over just a couple of years ago. They claim they need to charge these prices because they use more expensive ingredients and they use more of these ingredients but me thinks its about the money and I'm done paying for it.

You also have the Brewers Association changing its definition of what a craft brewer is. In 2010 they changed the maximum barrel allotment from 2M to 6M to accommodate Samuel Adams and in 2014 they started allowing  those who use rice and corn in their beers to be called a craft brewery. WTF? Why not just let anybody in? Its about money and I'm guessing it always has been.

I know its a little naive to think everyone who starts up a small brewery is doing it because they love beer, they love brewing and they love the community, but I wish it wasn't. And I wish they would stop selling out to big beer. If you want out of the business hand it down to your kid or allow your head brewer to buy it on a lease to own deal or to another private brewery owner looking to expand like what happened with Logsdon Organic Farmhouse Ales and Uptown Market, my guess is that you can afford it.

I recently went on vacation to Vermont and toured many of the states 40+ microbreweries. It was a fantastic and quaint visit full of some of the best beers I've ever had. I would desperately like to have that experience over and over again in the future. This doesn't seem possible when breweries keep selling out.

Please support your local breweries who are making great beer but let me know if they sell out to big beer or to private equity groups so I can add them to this list. I don't want to accidentally support them. This county was built on small business, some companies get to big for their britches and greed has them wrapping their tentacles around our beloved microbreweries.

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