Meh: It's Not Craft When It's That Large
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2019-05-12 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 146 references Ignore this thread
Meh: It's Not Craft When It's That Large
[Comments enabled]

What idiocy....

The Boston Beer Company (SAM) — makers of the Samuel Adams beer brand and the second largest craft brewer in the United States — and Delaware-based brewer Dogfish Head Craft Brewery said Thursday that they plan to merge the companies in a deal valued at more than $300 million.

Utter nonsense.

Just like Ballast Point being bought out by Constellation; they're no longer a "craft" beer.

Sorry folks, once you do that you may as well be Budweiser and my view of your product will be identical.

Drink locally-brewed product -- or at least product where the guys running the place can manage to walk from one end to the other of the entire production facility within a few minutes, even when drunk.

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User Info Meh: It's Not Craft When It's That Large in forum [Market-Ticker]
Posts: 209
Incept: 2009-03-14

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Meh, indeed. At its current definition of 6 million barrels or less, 'craft' is hardly crafty. The only requirement that I believe still gives some separation from the Budweiser's of the world is the prohibition of adjunct ingredients like corn or rice in the recipes, but honestly, that may be gone as well.

Drink locally. Here on the west coast of Florida we're swimming in the good liquid.

And... It's gone.
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Scam Adams introduces BezelBrau. Only the finest ingredients with a hint of financialization. Classically American!
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Drink locally-brewed product -- or at least product where the guys running the place can manage to walk from one end to the other of the entire production facility within a few minutes, even when drunk.

You damn right! You damn right!

Some friends of mine have opened a craft brewery with the idea of staying small with high quality. Time will tell if success goes to their heads.


Here are my predictions for everyone to see:
S&P 500 at 320, DOW at 2200, Gold $300/oz, and Corn $2/bu.
No sign that housing, equities, or farmland are in a bubble- Yellen 11/14/13
Trying to leave the Rat Race to the rats...
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gig harbor wa
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That sucks, 90 min is my go to when I am out eating BBQ. That shiz will sneak up on you. But yeah we do drink local brews anywhere we are traveling, its easy to do pretty much everywhere now. I was at Ballast a couple months ago. Still has a good flight.
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SAM has been hasn't been a craft beer Brewer for at least twenty years. Boston Lager is still a darn good beer though. Not a fan of beer mixed with fruit juice. Dogfish Head seems like a fad to me.

Does anyone remember Pete's Wicked Ale?
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Pacific Northwest
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I don't understand how these 'legacy' beers, as I call them, even have a market anymore. I drank Sam Adams in the early 90's until the Seattle micro-brew revolution. Budweiser, etc is undrinkable. How the hell do they stay in business?

Sadly, I only have a single beer/month anymore, down from two or three a day five years ago. Elatedly, I have an entire wardrobe of what are now work clothes, as I took 4" off my waist.

I wonder how much keto has affected sales of craft beers...
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i actually said this to someone the other day - when was the last time you had a Sam Adams when there were better alternatives available?

To be fair, Boston Beer still crafts new beers, it's no Budweiser.

But there are so many new beers out there to try.

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Maynard wrote-
That sucks, 90 min is my go to when I am out eating BBQ. That shiz will sneak up on you.

For sure! Those "little" bottles, are 9%+ and one of the only IPAs that doesn't finish like skunk piss. Hope they don't F up the recipe or ingredients, though they likely will.

"Winter is coming." -Motto of House Stark
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90min is about how long you'll remain standing if you're pounding 'em too. They're ugly on the BAC side of things and will flatten your ass.

They're sort of the 2019 version of Colt 45..... but they do taste better.

Nonetheless ****, if you're around Tampa there are more breweries than you can drink at in a year if you do one every couple of days. Even up here in the Redneck Riviera there are five within a half-hour driving distance and several more if you're willing to make that an hour; all are small-batch with a production facility you can actually SEE while drinking the beer.

Winding it down.
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Years back my friend and I would buy out all the 120 min we could find because it was not always available. But it's definitely not a sitting at the bar and drinking beer. It's more of a one and done desert beer. I think it's ~20%.

90 min was our goto, or Stone Ruination.

"But like every one of the super-states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: Logic is an enemy and truth is a menace." - Rod Serling, 1961.
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I'm sitting within a circle of a half dozen craft breweries that are less than 10 minutes from me. Across the city, that time-to-arrive is about the same. There are probably 30 of them in the area; they come so quickly that it's too bothersome to try to keep up.

For our outing yesterday with family and friends, we hit up one winery, two breweries and one distillery (new-ish, exceptionally good bourbon and single malt, nice rye, a dozen flavored vodkas (not my thing but still like drinking vapor), and a fantastic gin. Craft cocktails, $4. Took a tour of the place with the owner (and old client of mine), and four people run the entire operation--nearly fully automated.

I sorta use factory beer only for bratwurst, after it comes off the grille. Boil for a few minutes, serve.

Omne mendacium est.
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Incept: 2019-05-12

Green Mountain
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Here is my two cents. I have been a brewer for almost four years. Currently a head brewer at a small start up. There are two kinds of macro breweries. Those that see micro brewers as competition that must be crushed and those that bend over backwards to make sure we all are successful. (Rising tides and all.) I would put Boston Beer and Dogfish Head in the later. Both have gone out of their way to help out, supply chain, sharing freely technical improvements, financing with excellent terms. I personally know several guys that were able to get loans from BB for less than 1%. A couple that were the recipients of the pilot systems for those two big breweries, which are what most of us aspire to. (Think 7 to 10 barrels.) No cost. They covered the shipping. Obviously they have huge advantages for the national market. Together they have a better portfolio to cover the market. I would rather the two of them were together, rather than selling out to big beer, or continue to take "private equity" investments, which was a huge mistake by DFH a couple years ago. They lost themselves because of it.
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I was a big fan of relaxing the laws that essentially created the craft beer boom. The old three tier system and other antiquated laws that date back to the end of prohibition needed to end and resulted in a nice little craft brewing economy. That said, as someone who has home brewed since the late 90's I'm by no means qualified to run a commercial brewery. I've had some pretty bad craft brews made by guys that thought they could scale up a home brew op. and become the next SAM or DFH. I think probably 50% of the new players in the past decade probably won't last another decade because they're brewing crap. Sure it tastes better than Bud/Miller/Coors because they use better ingredients but am I going to pay $20 for a 6-pack or 4-pack of that - not likely.

I'd like to see this shake out to having at least one good local brewery for every town of moderate size. Unfortunately I think we're going to end up with a conglomeration of the craft brewers doing volume in the 1,000,000's. Founder's has been a favorite of mine and I like that you can get a 15pk at a reasonable price but it was a lot better when it was a special treat when visiting Michigan. I see the craft guys that can brew good stuff getting bigger and the others failing and the market eventually reverting back to the oligopoly we had before.
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New Hampshire
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Up here in Concord NH, we have a small brewery that has a few selections. One I would recommend is Safe Space which has a rainbow and unicorn on the label. Poking fun at the SJW crowd in a SJW town. You gotta love it.
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Dallas, TX
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Here in Houston, the popular Karbach brewwery was bought out by Budweiser a few years ago. To the best I can tell, the brewery has maintained a large amount of independence from BigMacroBrew and the ownership group merely supports Karbach with logistics (both procurement & distribution) and a balance sheet. Everyone threw rotten fruit at Karbach when they "sold out", but in reality they have never been more popular in the city. I can definitely tell a large increase in consistency & small increase in quality for all of their beers since the buyout (their IPA was notoriously inconsistent from super hazy to crystal clear keg to keg). Plus you can get 24 oz. roadies of IPA in the gas station ice chests along with the Chelada & Bud Ice! (side note: only $100 bond-out for DUIs in Harris County now since all of the Beto straight ticket voters put in a bunch of SJW judges who want to start their own version of the booming for gas station roadies)

No idea what the marriage between Koch & Dogfish Head will look like and Dogfish Head is already big enough to not need support w/ logistics, but I would assume that Dogfish head founders are just cashing out to a bigger player and will maintain control over operations as long as they see practical. I like having a large amount of stratification in the beer market, and Dogfish Head selling out will just make room for other mid-tier breweries since Dogfish Head has been around forever and their schtick is kind of old at this point.

Also, we can stop calling them craft breweries and just call them breweries now. Everyone still likes to bring a 30-pack of Coors Light to the beach party, but all brewers Macro to Nano are interested in bringing diverse and high quality beers to market at different price points. Let's retire the qualification of "craft" and just refer to breweries by their relative size and quality.
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I spend some time talking to the reps at spirits tastings (bourbon, irish whiskey, etc.)

A lot of them are buying from contract distilleries, and selling 1-2 yo casked spirits, and doing holdbacks of 20-50% of the batch each year to slowly build up their aging. They get production quantity, and get to put the special final touches on their product while also proving out their brand.

It's interesting, I'm not sure I see a lot of future in brands doing this like you do for beer.
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