Craft Beer Sell-A-Thon

Beer Companies

Tenth & Blake (aka MillerCoors) and Heineken gobble up two more craft breweries.

If it is Thursday, it must be time to announce MORE craft beer business deals. Following on the heels of the news that Lagunitas is joining forces with Heineken, a press release revealed that Saint Archer Brewing Company is joining the ranks of Tenth & Blake (aka MillerCoors).

By this point you need a scorecard to know who is partnered up with whom and why. One thing we know for sure is that 2015 will go down in the books as the Year of the Deal. Whether those deals are with the devil as the hothead hopheads may think, or are simply strategic business, only time will tell.

Once you get past the superficial disdain of the word “business,” the question that I have is in regards to succession. People may swear off Lagnuitas Sucks IPA now, but what happens when the philosopher quoting leader, Tony Magee, leaves? Will someone born and bred in the Lagunitas culture take the helm? Or will it be someone from Team Heineken? How will that change/not change the beers that are made? The same goes for the culture created by the founders of Saint Archer. How will that translate when they are gone?

What may be causing the disturbance in the force is that craft beer fans are having to face the mortality of their beer family. It is one thing if a family run business calls it day because the owners are retiring but when a business (which craft beer is, don’t fool yourself) loses the public face and private soul of the company, is it the same brand?

Most people probably don’t want to think about a world where their favorite small brewery disbands but in the years to come that beloved brewery might be run by a second generation owner. Or it might be Duvel or Heineken or Tenth & Blake or some other “corporation” calling the shots. This isn’t new. Remember Pete’s Wicked Ale? As the craft brewers adjust and re-finance, so must fans.

Your Beer of the Week comes from Kinetic Brewing in Lancaster, which also recently announced big news. Some serious expansion plans, no acquisitions or mergers. Actually, it is not one beer, but a taster tray of their regular line-up Potential Blonde, Rusted Gear, Propulsion, and Torque. Hit the road and test drive the beers that will make up their canned line-up in a couple years.

Homework is to relive the past while drinking a present beer. Button Mash will soon open up in Echo Park and will be serving 12 taps of craft beer alongside classic arcade games. You can Ms. Pac Man with an IPA, Donkey Kong with a barrel-aged imperial stout, or just close your eyes and listen to the sounds of Asteroids being blown to bits.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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