I’m not going to justify a piece of propaganda from a supposed news source by providing a link to it, but I am going to respond to the August 1 article on Bloomberg’s website entitled; Blue Moon Tells Beer Snobs to Drink Up and Show Respect: Retail. Why do I call it propaganda? Well, we can start with the title, which sets the article up to be an attack on craft beer and its drinkers.
The article repeatedly refers to the Brewer’s Association’s definition of what is craft beer, what is a craft brewery and the list of Macros as a “blacklist” without ever obtaining any sort of rebuttal from the BA that seemed to be anything more than an afterthought by the reporter. (Realistically, the reporter never got any rebuttal specific to referring to this list as a blacklist). On the flip side, the author of the piece presented us with the following;
“We should be proud to make beers that grow and are popular — that’s the American way,” MillerCoors Chief Executive Officer Tom Long said in a interview. “Being small and unpopular, what’s the utility in that?”
Blue Moon’s decision to confront its critics is a tactical necessity. The brand is the centerpiece of MillerCoors’ Tenth & Blake Beer Co., created to capitalize on the rapid growth of craft and import brews and offset slowing sales of light beers.
So…here’s my question to the reporter – if MillerCoors CEO Tom Long says, “We should be proud to make beers that grow and are popular,” then why didn’t you ask Long, “if you’re so proud of the product, why keep the MillerCoors name off the label?”
Let’s face it, we all know the answer to that. But it’s still the responsible question for the reporter to have asked.
With the big brewers having used a variety of other bully tactics, it’s laughable that Bloomberg presents us with an article that paints the craft brewers as the bully and the macros as the victims. Let’s face it – the macros can and do monopolize shelf space, they lobby for legislation that makes it harder for the small brewer, in one of the southern states one of the macros claimed a micro stole kegs, the macros have advertising dollars to burn that none (not even the biggest) of the micros have, and the list goes on.
So, why go on an attack like this? Why attack the very drinkers you’re trying to attract?
There are only two reasons I can think of.
One: Last year, overall beer sales were down by over two percent. Craft beer sales were up by, if I recall, somewhere in the vicinity of 16 percent (or roughly just over one percent of the overall market, I believe). That means that Macros have lost roughly three to four percent of the market in the last year. That’s a lot of market to lose in one year. And the Macros haven’t figured out how to adjust to the changing marketplace.
Two: Maybe, just maybe the purpose isn’t to attract the craft beer crowd. Maybe they’re looking to retain that person that isn’t looking to jump into the craft beer deep end – they want that person that wants to stand in the craft beer puddle. Why else would you be part of an article that has a headline that attacks the drinkers you claim to covet?
Look – Blue Moon isn’t a terrible beer, and it’s certainly better than anything else coming out of the brew kettles owned by MillerCoors. But there are dozens of better Belgian-style beers made by American breweries than the MillerCoors’ faux craft product. So, if you’re going on the offensive, and attacking the drinkers of craft beer, the only thing I can conclude is that those people are not actually the customer base that you’re targeting.
The bottom line – I walked away from the article feeling like its editorial content was likely dictated by an advertiser.
And now that I have chatted up an article about macro beer, let’s talk about some fine microbrew in
Tapped and Uncapped
And this week, as you might have guessed from the picture above, we have Flying Dog’s new Imperial IPA, The Truth. This is truly a worthy addition to Flying Dog’s year-round portfolio. A hop bomb that hooks your nose with a piney aroma, and then smacks you around with citrussy and piney notes. The beer is good on the first sip and gets better with each passing sip.
If this isn’t on the shelves of your local beer store yet, it will be soon. Keep an eye out.
Until next week, be well and drink good beer.