By Templars Guest Blogger Mike Malsed
There's Nothing You, or Anyone, Can do . . . Really?
Yes, we all know by now that Wicked Weed has been bought out by Anheuser Busch Inbev. Yet another high-profile craft brewer has left our ranks of independents. The outrage was easily predicted and, interestingly enough, came from both sides of the argument. A significant portion came from those of us who lashed out against ABI and Wicked Weed; another large portion came out against us, saying that it was perfectly fine and even good that Wicked Weed got paid for their efforts (something I don’t disagree with, by the way).
However, there seems to be a growing group that is becoming fatalistic about it all, saying that there's nothing we, or anyone, can do about it, so just get used to it.
Really? Nothing we can do?
Excuse me while I "cough" into my sleeve a little bs . . .
Sure, we cannot immediately stop ABI from acting like what it is, a large, predatory, monopolistic entity that wants to behave like the Borg, there ARE things we can do to help our craft beer community and to further the fight against the Borg, err, ABI.
Push Local! Listen, not everything can be local anymore. I saw mention of $200 jeans and, yes, we're going to have to buy our blue-jeans or our slacks or whatever from someplace not local. But where we can, it would be good for us to buy local. For our home-made meads, we buy locally sourced honey - it's a bit more expensive, but it supports our local agriculture and our local bees (they're industrious little buggers!) and it's just darned good! For our beer, we tend to buy local and to support our local breweries. And we support local, non-chain stores for the other beers we buy. Do it when and where possible and feasible.
What does pushing local do? It keeps money in our community, for one thing. It employs local people. It boosts our community's economy. Giving money to ABI does little of that. The only "local" for ABI is some of the distributor (although most of the profits go TO the ABI distributor, unless it's a local independent) and some of the retailer (unless it's a chain.) It sounds trite, but the more we can do local, the healthier our communities become.
Jacob McKean from Modern Times put it this way, although referring to the community of brewers, but it's still a community:
"I got into this business precisely because of that interconnectedness, because of collaboration, because of our willingness to share information and support each other in times of need. With the head winds growing a little stronger and Big Beer throwing around huge sums of cash, it would be easy for us to lose sight of the slogan many of us have repeated for years: a rising tide lifts all boats.” Source
Push Politicians! You know that a significant portion of ABI's budget goes to legislative lobbying, right? So push back. We have a local state congressman who is a fan of home and artisan brewing. Many of us try to stay in contact with him to push him to counter moves from big beer to restrict craft brewing. It does work. Work your way up. Make your voice heard - and make your club's (if you're in one - and if you're not, join one!) voice heard.
Push Principle! I know it's a pain. I know that ABI does make some damnably good beer. NOT buying BCBS sucks. Not buying Wicked Weed is going to be unpleasant. Jeffrey Stuffings, founder of Jester King agrees, but feels the principle is more important:
"Because of this core principle, it pains us to say that we won’t be carrying Wicked Weed anymore at Jester King. We think Wicked Weed beer is some of the best in the world. Their talent, techniques, and patience produces some of the most beautiful beer we’ve ever tasted. That, combined with their great friendship, is what makes this decision so tough for us. But like we said, our core values must be paramount at the end of the day." Source
Push Your Voice! This is a big one, and it's actually what the original comment was aimed at. "There's nothing you, or anyone, can do, so just roll over, be a sheeple, and take it. . ." NO! Stand up. Speak up. Don't let people shut you up. Push back.
We are a nation of ideas. We are a country based on discussion - especially discussion around a table in pubs! (Where did the Marines get "born?" Tun Tavern, November 1775) When did it become fashionable or right for us to sit down and shut up just because someone else tells us to?
If you disagree, that's absolutely fine! Please understand, your disagreeing with us does not change what we feel is right and will not change what we feel needs to be done.
But there IS something we can do.
* The opinions in this post are of the Blogger in the byline and is not necessarily the official standing/opinion of The Pints Templars.