Anheuser Busch has harsh response to new “Independent” logo

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This week, the Brewers Association released their new Independent logo, which was intended to distinguish which breweries are independently owned and which breweries are owned by Independent craft brewer seal“Big Beer.” The logo has riled up the Big vs. Craft debate in an increasing competitive market.

Yesterday, AB took an official stance on the logo. They got together members of their High End brand and shot a video with responses from each brewery’s owner, including David Buhler of Elysian, Walt Dickinson of Wicked Weed, Garrett Wales of 10 Barrel, Andy Ingram of Four Peaks, and Steve Crandall of Devils Backbone.

The opinions (video below) were pretty pointed and harsh and it sounds like an escalating civil war within the beer space. AB’s video frames the conflict and usage of the independent logo as unnecessary and petty. The owners tell us that the real issue isn’t craft vs big beer, that is wine an spirits. Honestly, I just hate this shit altogether.

Does anyone else see this debate as any different than two competing political ideologies, conflicted countries, or bickering parents? Each side is propping up the other as the villain, some for good reason some for not. They inflate the potential impact of the other’s incursion into their space and build propaganda to support their side. All the while, the populace (consumer) is in the middle going “Hey, what the fuck?!”

Some choice quotes from the video

“To be independent means you don’t put the logo on and follow your own rules.” – David Buhler

“That little bottle told me that’s what I have to buy, that doesn’t mean shit to me.” – Garret Wales

I gotta say, I kinda agree with Buhler. Are you independent? How independent are you if you to place a logo from a directed larger group to state that independence? I understand that the logo is more of an educational piece for the consumer. Frankly, I’m happy it’s Friday and that I live in Bellingham where we’re surrounded by awesome beer, breweries and a strong beer community. I say we ignore this civil war and just do our thing.

1 COMMENT

  1. I see where you’re going with that and I can understand your sentiment at the surface level, but have to disagree a bit when you start to go a little deeper. When one entity can buy out an entire country worth of hops, I think it does start to matter and it does become relevant and should determine who you want to support. For diversity’s sake if nothing else. Strength in numbers is important to keeping your voice heard verse a giant. I for one want to support whomever has the closest values to my own and who I believe has our community’s best interest. Like most things in America it has to be brought down to the lowest denominator to make that easy and simple to do. A little bottle logo fits that bill. I’m willing to research a brewery because zymurgy is a passion and I care about where and how things are made and what impact it has on others in addition to how good the product is. But obviously most people won’t be willing to do that. At least this gives them a visual clue to make some sort of thought about what they are buying. I personally don’t hate AB, nor blame those that sold out to AB. But I don’t really want to support their monopolizing tendencies in legislation or more recently in buying power either. I’d be cool with what they do so long as they let others do what they do. So by my choice I avoid their products more and instead choose local breweries most often. Which for us here is easy to do because our breweries are killing it. In the end, I don’t see it as being any different than organic verse mass agriculture, GMO, fair trade or anything like that. It’s just information there for those that want it. If you didn’t care before you still won’t. I hope eventually we even get more info on our boxes. As far as the AB “High End” brands backlash, that just sounds like someone that used get invited to the party but can’t get in anymore.

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