Brewery press releases are usually upbeat missives extolling a new beer or talking about a collaboration with another brewery or the 411 on an upcoming event. However, Beachwood Brewing recently had to release a bit of cease and desist.
Beachwood unknowingly granted an interview for a blog run by the “High End” group of breweries (now joined by Wicked Weed of North Carolina) that are owned by subsidiaries of foreign corporate interests, AKA SABInBev.
The old adage of “any publicity is good publicity” could apply, but in a succinct and direct response Beachwood states, “We wholly reject this free promotion and all that it stands for. We don’t want it. We don’t need it. And if we knew that it would be used, in our opinion, to help AB-InBev in their intensifying quest to dilute the definition of ‘craft,’ we certainly would have refused participation.”
This is no little problem. If the waters are muddied enough, then how can one tell what is craft and what isn’t? SABInBev is trying to hide amongst true craft beer with the companies that they purchase and through their marketing, and insidiously, through their distribution and marketing might.
There is an easy way to break through the veil that they are trying to throw over consumers’ eyes. Find the websites for the L.A. County Brewers Guild and the guilds for San Diego and San Francisco or the entire State of Oregon and you will find a list of breweries that meet the standards set by these respective guilds. Or just keep a pocket list of the “High End” Ten (10 Barrel, Blue Point, Breckenridge, Devil’s Backbone, Elysian, Four Peaks, Golden Road, Goose Island, Karbach and Wicked Weed) and walk on by their displays and cut-rate pricing schemes.
In this time of beer plenty, the craft beer consumer can be picky without compromising any quality or quantity.
The BEER OF THE WEEK might be a little too on point for SABInBev’s media machinations. Juicy Lies IPA from Brewyard Beer Co. in Glendale utilizes Mandarina Bavaria Hops to create a citrusy hoppy flavor. No deceit involved.
This week’s HOMEWORK is to check out the Orange County Beer Week website. OCBW runs May 19-28 and starts with the OC Invitational, where you can sample from over 70 of the new and old breweries on hand. Why limit yourself to just L.A. when the county south of us puts on a good show as well?
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.