I went to the fridge the other day looking for something to quench the thirst. First thing I saw was a bottle of Beck’s non-alcoholic beer. I popped the cap, sat back in my recliner, and fully enjoyed the experience. I recall studying the label and reading that it was a product of Germany and brewed in accordance with the German Purity Law of 1516.
This afternoon I came across a Businessweek article about Beck’s being owned by AB InBev, a company that owns over 200 world beer brands and controls 48% of America’s beer sales. The AB in AB InBev stands for Anheuser-Busch, the brewers of Bud and America’s favorite brew, Bud Light.
Maybe it’s the contrarian in me but I’ve never been much of a fan of Bud or other Anheuser-Busch products. I’m one of those who rues the demise of local brands and
breweries. I want my bottle of Wiedemann that once put food on the table for brewery workers in Newport, KY.
Well, those days are mostly gone and it is increasingly difficult to find a beer not owned by AB InBev or its major rival, SABMiller. In the minds of most beer aficionados these companies care more about the bottom line than they do keeping true to original recipes and brewing standards. Case in point is the world’s favorite German beer, Beck’s. Since being acquired by AB InBev it was announced that Beck’s would, beginning early this year, be brewed in St. Louis, MO and not Breman, Germany.
In the brewing biz this kind of thing frequently happens. A good example is Samuel Adams products. They are brewed by the Boston Brewing Company but very little is actually brewed in Boston. Most is cooked in Breinigsville, PA and Cincinnati, OH. At one time Sam Adams brewed its beer by contracting surplus brewing capacity with other companies.
Sam Adams is an American beer and to me it doesn’t make much difference what part of America it comes from. Buying an imported beer, however, is different. If one wants a German beer it certainly should come from Germany, not Missouri. There is a growing backlash towards AB InBev and its decision to brew Beck’s domestically. There is more than one social network campaign aimed at pressuring the company to return to Beck’s origins. The complaint centers on the product simply not being as good as what came out of Germany, lacking body, flavor, and being too fizzy.
So much of this sort of thing happens today, a half-gallon of ice cream is no longer a half-gallon, bacon is now sold in 12 ounce packages but at the 16 ounce price, Snicker bars are “New & Improved” but smaller, and toilet paper is “Double Strength” but more expensive and yes, narrower. Reminds me of Orwell’s 1984!
Click HERE to read the Businessweek article claiming that AB InBev is out to destroy America’s beer.