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Old 06-14-2008, 09:47 PM   #1
Awfers
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Default Brewery consolidation and the effect on the beer

Seeing all these posts and news articles on brewery bids, takeovers etc, all I can say is this:

Since InBev bought out Boddington's the beer has gone down hill. They closed the Strangeways brewery and moved production elsewhere. Currently, I get a local pint of Boddington's and it's no longer the flowery, creamy delicious beer it was... it's now cold, tasteless and smooth, almost like a flat light lager.

Since InterBrew (Inbev) bought out the makers of Flowers IPA, it has gone from a rich, hoppy flavourful beer to a bland, light ale with little or no hop flavour.

Export Pilsner Urquell (SABMiller) is now hardly different than every other light tasting lager. Little or no of the Saaz hops it used to be famous for.

Erdinger has gone from a luscious weissbier to a cloudy, high-alcohol fizzy water with a strange taste. No more banana / clove, it's just sour smelling.

I personally can't think of any instance where a major brewer takes over a small regional one and has actually improved the beer, or even left it alone. They have almost consistently gone down hill.

Essentially, it's got the be the MBAs making the decisions about the ingredients instead of the brewers. ie: cheaper, less of the expensive ingredients. And it ruins the beers.

As a European, I'm very very surprised at how far the American craft brew has come. Today, Euroland beer is all the same (with some small exceptions and a slightly better choice in Germany): Bland lager, little/no hop flavour, very fizzy, 5% alcohol, hangover guaranteed.

While I think some microbreweries in the US aren't producing world-class beers (still stuck with the homebrewer syndrome of sweet, high gravity beers), I personally think that the US has now surpased Europe as the bastion of distinct, individual beers that are widely varied and very drinkable.

My hat is off to you guys over there.

Cheers,
Awfers

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Old 06-15-2008, 08:10 PM   #2
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Kinda sad, but I don't doubt your observations. For as much flak as America gets for making some really terrible beer, for every Budweiser, there's 14 craft breweries awesome beers of all styles. Within two hours of my house, there are 5 "major" craft breweries (Troegs, Dogfish Head, Victory, Stoudts, and Flying Fish) and another 8 or 9 brewpubs.

As for consolidation, when that company in St. Louis bought Rolling Rock, originally a source of PA pride, the beer went from an awesomely-drinkable light ale to a watered-down soda-like beer.

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Old 06-15-2008, 08:16 PM   #3
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Unibroue is owned by Sleeman-Sapporo, and is still magnificent.

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Old 06-15-2008, 08:23 PM   #4
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Yeah - with the possible exception of Belgium, I think the US kicks everyone else's ass when it comes to making good beers. But in the UK at least there are an increasing number of small brewers making original and frequently fantastic beers, so hopefully Europe isn't too far off having its own thriving microbrewing community.

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Old 06-16-2008, 08:01 AM   #5
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Well, we're trying our best to get people trained over to the idea of new and different beers other than Lager, Lager and Lager. It's happening slowly..

CAMRA does a good job of promoting Real Ale, but with the pubs being bought out by huge brewing conglomerates, they only push their beers. But you can't get those types of beers all over Europe.

Supermarkets devote masses of floor space to the national lager beers, and leave little room for specialities, except the occasional Chimay or other brewery and at outrageous prices.

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