With the ending of 2015, one thing has become certain and it is that it’s a great time for beer lovers. European beers are being unseated from their thrones as some of the best brews in the world as professional and hobbyist brewers experiment with a wide spectrum of new flavors and home-invented methods. Today, we have the privilege of seeing the rise of craft beers at a rate never before witnessed as more breweries are popping up around the country and the macro breweries have noticed.
Major macro breweries are purchasing the most successful microbreweries in the nation for increasingly higher and higher price tags to solidify their stake in the craft beer world. Craft brews have now secured 11% of the total beer market, with almost $20 billion in retail sales as the amount sold by mainstream names is on a steady decline even though they still account for more than 95% of the beer sold in the nation. Anheuser-Busch shows that they aren’t close-minded at all as they not only develop their own craft brews like Shocktop, but have also spent more than $200 million dollars recently, acquiring 5 microbreweries to add to its lineup of product names. These breweries include Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian, and Golden Road Brewing – based out of Illinois, New York, Oregon, Washington, and California respectively.
Other well-known macro breweries like Miller Coors have also acquired craft brewery companies in the past few years such as Saint Archer Brewing Company, while Heineken acquired Lagunitas, established in California. With each of these microbreweries based out of all different regions of the United States, it has been thought that this could suggest a potential regional pattern in the acquisition of these craft breweries by the large-scale brewers.
Will craft breweries that sellout lose their unique qualities due to the macro-brewers? The answer may vary depending on who you ask. Andy Goeler, CEO of craft for Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Anheuser-Busch division, says no. “The number one principle is to make sure that we let them maintain their culture, their authenticity, so we’re not buying them to make them into Anheuser-Busch companies,” states Goeler in an online article posted on CNBC. “We’re buying them for who they are and what they’ve achieved and what they’ve done in the world of beer.”
Some may wonder if the flavor of the brews will change or if the backing of a major corporation will actually provide the capital and groundwork for the microbrewery to prosper and fully develop its unique tastes. “We look for owners that share a passion, have an amazing beer culture and have partners that take a long-term view and who want to keep expanding and do more things in the world of beer,” said Goeler. From the opposite perspective, some craft beer aficionados are disappointed and, at times, even unsupportive of the acquisition of craft breweries by the major macro brewers. They believe in the uniqueness of the craft brews and the passion that goes into the process of creating them and some fear that these sell-outs could potentially alter the very characteristics that make the brew special.
Either way, the world of craft beer had a successful 2015 and the future looks promising. If you live in Tucson, you’re in luck, because we have some great breweries local to Wildcat country that are a must try. Well-known Tucsonan brands include Barrio Brewing, Dragoon Brewing Co., and Thunder Canyon and there are several hidden gems that have some really rich flavors in their portfolio as well like Ten Fifty-Five Brewing, Iron John’s Brewing Company, and Sentinel Peak. Tours of these breweries make for a great activity on your weekend off. However, without a doubt, the best beer to pair with a slice of pizza comes from The Address Brewery. So come into our bottle shop to enjoy a slice of pizza and pick up a local-gems six-pack.