Today Goose Island was purchased by Anheuser-Busch Inbev. This got me thinking. Is that a bad thing or not? Large companies buying smaller operations to extend their portfolio. However some would think of it as the small guy being pressured to sell out. I have to say I fall into the first camp on this one.
Goose Island for me have never been a small operation. Im sure that some people remember the good ole' days when they started out. Me, I dont and I have only ever considered them as a big craft brewery; much in the same way I would consider Sierra Nevada or Brooklyn. I realise that for some this will not take the sting out of them being bought by a large multinational but if AB have no plans to drastically change what Goose Island are doing then for me its not a problem. If on the other hand they try to stop seasonal special brews and water down the existing brand then I will be pretty annoyed. However it doesnt seem like thats the intention here.
The deal has cost AB Inbev a reported $38.8 million. Although it seems like a lot of money I bet this deal has been weighed up very carefully by the relevant people at AB. I am pretty sure that they will do pretty well out of this deal. Lets not forget that AB Inbev already owned a part of Goose Island and pretty much took care of all its distribution; something which has certainly helped Goose Island to get where it is now. The only changes that we know for certain that are being made is that Greg Hall the current Brewmaster and son of the original founder is leaving and that the current head brewer is filling his shoes. It also seems that AB Inbev have committed to spending $1.3 million on upping production too, which I think is a good thing.
It is important to remember that this deal doesnt give AB full control of the company as 42% is still owned by The Craft Brewers Alliance. Nevertheless it does give a multinational majoirty control of the company. I know that some will feel that this is a negative step for the US craft beer scene but I think only time will tell and for the moment I feel pretty positive about the deal. Even if it does mean giving some of my cash to the money men at AB Inbev when I want a nice cold bottle of Honkers
France doesn't exactly have a great reputation for beer. After all its the country that brought us 1664, Desperados and 33. Contrary to popular belief they do have a small but thriving craft beer industry.
The French craft beer industry is full of great little breweries but it never seems to get the international reputation amongst beer geeks like Italy or Denmark. Maybe that's because it lacks a world renowned brewer with a big voice like Mikkeller or Grado Plato or maybe its because the wine industry over shadows too much. I mean France has its fair share of already world renowned drinks industries right; Wine, Champagne (a wine I know), Cognac, Absinthe, Pastis. I don't see why a craft beer industry cant fit in to that too though.
Brasserie Craig Allan, Uberach, St Reuil, Fleurac, Garrigues. Only a few of the hundreds of fantastic micro brewers in France. Not just creating the usual three French styles either; Blonde, Brune and Ambree. Black IPA, wood aging, hoppy IPA and the rest. The French micro brewing scene is just as experimental as the rest of Europe and the world. If you are in Paris you must visit la cave a bulles which is a fantastic shop specialising in French micro breweries, although he does stock some Italian, Scottish, English, and Belgian stuff too.
We must stop thinking about France as purely a destination for those of us who also like a spot of wine as it can be a great destination for craft beer lovers too. I for one would love to see an Auld Alliance style collaboration brew with a Scottish and a French brewery, or maybe a beer between an English brewer that can be shipped across the channel. Ok maybe those are a step too far. Maybe we should encourage some importers to start looking to the growing French craft beer scene and let us taste some of this wonderful beer back in Blighty. I shall continue to post about my discoveries and after lent I will upload some Vblogs and some tasting notes of my favourites.
Contrary to the title I gave this post this is not a religious message. It is infact an apology for anyone who reads this blog. Recently I havent been devoting enough time to the blog but this has not meant I havent been enjoying craft beer. I have tasted many wonderful craft French beers, I have visited Belgium once again and I have made a few UK orders too. I havent been writing about them though.......
So this year for lent I am giving up alcohol. I hope that during this time I will be encouraged to write more and to get this blog to where I want it to be, as it is currently far from it! So bare with me during this time as there is little chance of any Vblogs but I shall endevour to put some of the past few months into text.
Traditionally lent allows 4 Sundays away from the absention. I will not be taking these on Sundays but rather when my good friends visit from Scotland (Im cheating, I know)