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If you’re wondering what this means for the increasingly-irrelevantly-named market segment of craft beer, you’re not alone. As the article mentions, Spiros Malandrakis doesn’t think it’ll make much of a difference:
[It] will remain largely irrelevant to the scores of millennials seeking alternatives to big beer’s offerings.
While this will almost certainly be the case in the immediate future, it remains to be seen how greatly such a deal will affect consumer choice in the long term. With AB and Miller snatching up craft breweries in the last few years, it is not entirely inconceivable that distributors will return to a time when 100% of their offerings were ABInBev-Miller selections. ABInBev has not shown any squeamishness in the past in using their tremendous clout to crowd out alternatives and smaller breweries. When they have a more diverse portfolio to offer, reasons to resist the juggernaut’s attempt to control every tier of the market will dwindle.
Did you see the numbers in that article?? The two breweries combined do annual sales of **$55 billion**!! That is a force to be reckoned with. With craft beer being the only segment of the beer market growing these days, you can bet a sizeable chunk of that revenue will be used to snatch up more and more smaller breweries to snag some of that market. What will that mean for the future of craft brewing?
So we are a podcast dedicated to discussing craft beer in the Central Valley. It’s a pretty straightforward statement…or so I thought when I started this whole thing. After all, we have an “official” definition of what constitutes craft beer, right? It’s set forth by the Brewers Association, and it’s pretty easy to understand, isn’t it? Isn’t it? Bueller? So what makes thing so darn complicated? Well, in case you hadn’t heard, Lagunitas agreed to have Heineken International acquire 50% of itself in an effort to bring Lagunitas world-wide.
So is this good? Bad? Ugly? I suspect Drew and I will delve into this subject on the Ale Evangelist Show this week. We may come to different opinions. I will tell you this. I currently have five Little Sumpin’ Extras hanging out in my fridge waiting for me to enjoy them. I also have an Equinox chilled and waiting. Is Lagunitas craft? Is Heneken International an “evil brewer”?
What do you think? This is what Tony Magee thinks. Stay tuned to the next Ale Evangelist Show (Saturday 9/12) to find out what we think.
As I sit in my new-to-me home, drinking a Wolf Among Weeds by Golden Road Brewing, I ponder why we can’t just make across-the-board changes that help companies succeed. You see, I had come across this article, and as the fantastic 8% alcohol by volume IPA soothed away the frustrations of a broken sprinkler head which I don’t have time to replace, I pondered why we always have to “help” tiny sections of the economy. The mere existence of these bills mean that we recognize that our system of taxes is burdensome and clearly does the opposite of what this bill is supposed to do. Namely, help companies succeed. Specifically, this sentence is bugging me:
“We wanna make sure that we are creating the environment that makes it easier for these companies to not only start but also to be very successful,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters.
First off, did Senator Peters just say “wanna?” I expect people who think they can run this nation to speak using better grammar than that. I admit that perhaps UpNorthLive.com might be transcribing the Senator’s words, but since when is “wanna” a word used by journalists? In either case, it sort of (sorta?) set me off.
The second issue I have is that the existence of the “Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2015” shows that lawmakers believe there is a problem with the system. If the CBMaTRA is going to help breweries start and be successful, it stands to reason that it’s currently difficult for businesses to start and be successful. If that is the case, why not just create the MaTRA, and give ALL businesses the benefit of starting and being successful?
However, as the volume of beer in my glass dwindles, I realize that my railing against this issue isn’t going to do much to help Michiganders (Michiganians?) figure out that the problem with this bill is that it doesn’t go far enough. Why stop at one industry?
I know, I know…the tax system in place for Craft Breweries is weird and complex. At least in Michigan. According to one brewer:
“Right now the taxation system is so complex it’s based off carbonation level what type of fruit is in the product the alcohol level of the product and there’s a big flow chart on figuring out what tax you owe and no one really understands it,” said Scott Newman-Bale, President of Business Development with Short’s Brewing Company.
Punctuation aside, that has got to be incredibly frustrating. However, I’d venture to say that Craft Beer isn’t the only industry burdened with such stupid tax laws. Why not spend the time and effort to just fix them all? But hey, I just drained the last of my 8% ABV IPA, and am considering reaching for another…what do *I* know?