“Faux Craft” – Goliath Moving Into The Craft Beer Market

FauxCraftBrewery'sWith a cool design you would thing that Shock Top was created by an up and coming brewer, but you would be wrong… It is the newest addition from the the good folks at Anheuser-Busch. And the Blue Moon brand is a product of SABMiller.

The big boys are coming for the lucrative craft beer market and the passionate brewers are not thrilled at all by it. There is a backlash against the big boys playing in the smaller brewers pool, and they are calling out the “Faux Craft” beers coming from the big brewers.

The Boulder-based Brewers Association released a statement this month accusing multinational brewing companies of “deliberately attempting to blur the lines” between their own brands that evoke craft beer and craft beers created by small and independent brewers.

The association singled out Blue Moon, a Belgian wheat from SABMiller, and Anheuser-Busch’s Shock Top.

“We are just saying, ‘Hey, you should say who you are — not make something up that doesn’t exist,” said Eric Wallace, president of Leftt LeftBrewingin Longmont and a BA board member.

The statement raises the stakes in a battle not just about truth in labeling but shelf space and tap handles from the corner bar to sports stadiums. via The Denver Post

While I am not saying the big boys can not create a great beer, they can and as the consumer’s tastes change it is their job to create new recipes that sell. What rubs me the wrong way and many other beer lovers is the big boys use their power in the industry to force retailers to accept their products in the competitive shelf space battle and keep truly great beers out of the hands of consumers.

When Shock Top takes part of a cooler, there is a very good chance that a great beer like Bell’s never will get in the game. The big boys brands are brewed to the greatest common denominator formula instead of creating a unique experience. And again, it is their job to compete and if I was a brand manager at Miller I would be doing the same thing, but purchasing agents for grocery chains need to recognize that the smaller brands need to get shelf space for the craft beer movement to maintain it’s trajectory and allow the marketplace to develop.

The big boys job is to co-op the craft experience and protect their shelf space. We must strive to push against this every chance we get.

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