For those of you in the beer world who keep tabs on the Brewers Association or the craft beer scene, you may have heard: Goose Island, a craft beer brewery, has just been bought by Anheuser-Busch (newly acquired by InBev). What this means is that Goose Island beer could turn into the same watered down piss that AB already brews and bottles. Typically the bigger company will sacrifice good ingredients like real hops, malt and barely to replace it with cost effective extracts and artificial flavors. Speaking of beer tasting like piss, the Brewmaster Greg Hall himself brewed his own concoction of beer the other night. Huffington Post reports:
It’s been a real up-and-down couple of weeks for Greg Hall.
The brewmaster at Goose Island announced in late March that he’d be leaving that role, as the Chicago-based craft brewer was bought up by Anheuser-Busch for a hefty $39 million. He’ll be leaving for an undisclosed new project, according to statements at the time.
And last Friday night, Hall celebrated his 45th birthday at Bangers and Lace, a self-described craft beer and sausage bar that Time Out Chicago recently named its Best New Bar.
Unfortunately, according to the Chicago Tribune, the celebration got a bit out of hand. In a conversation with the Tribune on Monday, Hall didn’t deny accusations made by the Bangers staff that he urinated in two beer glasses and left them at the bar.
Looks like someone partied a little too hard. The intoxicated Brewmaster made his father’s brewery (of 23 years) become known for more than just beer the other night while celebrating his 45th Birthday at Wicker Parks Bangers & Lace. Folks, this is quite the drunken tale.
Hall unveiled a brew all his own: pissing in two pint glasses. After throwing a few back Hall proceeded to go behind the counter of the bar and proceeded to urinate in two glasses, leaving them on the bar. At this point Hall probably should have discreetly left, but he had to be escorted from the premises by staff to his car (hopefully he wasn’t driving).
Yes we can all laugh at the silly over-the-top drunken escapades of a man threw one too many back, but there is a bitter note to this story. What beer lover might not realize is that Hall’s company has just sold out to a corporate giant which has a monopoly on almost half of the beer industry. As Huffington Post points out though, craft breweries like Goose Island are doing well, but I guess if I was offered that much money I would probably allow myself to be bought too.
John Hall, the head of Goose Island, said that the company was quickly outgrowing its capacities, having to limit production of some of its most popular beers, and that the deal with Anheuser-Busch would help the company continue to expand. “This agreement helps us achieve our goals with an ideal partner who helped fuel our growth, appreciates our products and supports their success,” Hall said, in a statement on the buyout.
Looking at the real numbers, small breweries are popping up all across the country, the BA lists 85 breweries just in Oregon. Understandably Goose Island was growing but as the rest of the HP article points out, small breweries are gaining attention while bigger companies are losing it.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, craft brewing has been an exceptionally solid performer in an otherwise unexceptional beer market in recent years. Craft beer sales were up 11 percent last year, while the broader industry was down one percent.
I do not disagree with smaller breweries expanding, but typically with these sorts of expansions in the beer industry, it leads to a more generic product using lower quality ingredients just to cut costs. It also moves the flow of money from within a state economy into the wider commercial economy, which results in states losing money to outside sources. Whether it is sourcing ingredients for the product from farther away or giving jobs to workers who are out-of-state, it hurts the local economy.
When a consumer buys beer from a small or local brewery they are more likely to receive a fresher, higher quality product because the ingredients used in the beer were sourced locally (fresh is good). Sourcing ingredients locally means that brewers are supporting local farmers, creating a co-op effect within the community. Radical thoughts: local people stimulating local economy by buying products that are made locally. I am sorry for the locavore commotion train, but the dollar signs make sense.