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Old 03-27-2013, 01:17 PM   #1
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American breweries were all cutting corners decades ago on ingredient quality in order to maximize profits. This ruined once proud companies like Schlitz and Strohs...

Fast forward to the 21st century and the microbrew boom. These companies obviously began because they wanted to make high quality products the opposite of Coors/Bud/Miller. They also are very knowledgable regarding their craft and process.

Why then is there such a disparity in quality and taste in these smaller brewers? I would think that most would be putting out better beers but sadly a lot are not. Just wondering...

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Old 03-27-2013, 01:56 PM   #2
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It ultimately depends on the knowledge & skill of the brewer,compounded by what the public may think tastes good.

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Old 03-27-2013, 02:28 PM   #3
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It ultimately depends on the knowledge & skill of the brewer,compounded by what the public may think tastes good.
Agreed that the public, by and large, have blander palates than homebrewers and will like many subpar products (is my beer snob showing?), but even then some of these beers are good for cooking only IMO!
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:59 PM   #4
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Yeah,winning converts to craft beer does complicate the equation...

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Old 03-27-2013, 03:29 PM   #5
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I think the premise is false. First, schlitz and strohs never made good beer. It might have been slightly better tasting than bud, but that isn't saying much. After that, I don't think it is fair to say they "cut corners on ingredient quality". They were just emulating brands that were kicking their butts in terms of sales. Coors, Bud and Miller are brewed to exacting standards that are incredibly impressive from a brewing standpoint. I don't really care for the taste, but the standards it takes to brew a completely flawless beer identically over billions of cans is pretty amazing.

As for why are some micro-brews subpar...... that is just the way life goes. You may as well ask why every restaurant doesn't just make incredible burgers. I mean, they are all professionals right? The reality is that some will be great, some will be OK, and some will be piss poor. (Ironically, the piss poor ones seem to sell the best.)

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Old 03-27-2013, 03:32 PM   #6
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I wonder what you mean by "better beers." That will largely depend on your personal taste.

I think that one of the big factors is that many of the new breweries are trying to stake out a niche position with "unique" beers. After the first wave of microbreweries opened, the newer entrants had to provide a reason other than using quality ingredients why investors should invest in them. Are you going to be able to compete with Guinness with a stout? Probably not because most bars will have 1 stout on tap and it is going to be Guinness. Same goes with Pale Ales. Investors would be justifiably leery if your business proposition was that you intended to compete with SN and the other established great pale ales head on; you would be lucky to get a spot on a rotating basis at most bars.

The result is that to get investors, new breweries have to find a hook. In bigger metro areas -- e.g., DC where I live -- some breweries are able to stake out a claim by being the "local" brewer who makes a great pale ale or stout. If brewers don't have that hook, they likely have to use the idea that they are going to offer a different kind of beer to the market. The result is lots and lots of beers that the vast majority of beer drinkers (even beer aficionados) will not enjoy.

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Old 03-27-2013, 05:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billl
I think the premise is false. First, schlitz and strohs never made good beer. It might have been slightly better tasting than bud, but that isn't saying much. After that, I don't think it is fair to say they "cut corners on ingredient quality". They were just emulating brands that were kicking their butts in terms of sales. Coors, Bud and Miller are brewed to exacting standards that are incredibly impressive from a brewing standpoint. I don't really care for the taste, but the standards it takes to brew a completely flawless beer identically over billions of cans is pretty amazing.

As for why are some micro-brews subpar...... that is just the way life goes. You may as well ask why every restaurant doesn't just make incredible burgers. I mean, they are all professionals right? The reality is that some will be great, some will be OK, and some will be piss poor. (Ironically, the piss poor ones seem to sell the best.)
While I agree that they were never "good" beers, several million people liked them like tens of millions like Coors/Bud/Miller now. I am certainly not one that like them. But, those two breweries most certainly DID use cheaper grains and adjuncts, shortened fermentation and shipped greener beers. It is a big reason they are a speck in the market share compared to what they once were. There are many other reasons that happened but I digress...

Taste is a personal preference but quality is more standardized by variables other than (but including) taste. I just wonder why poorer quality microbrews exist as it seems oxymoronic to me.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:52 PM   #8
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While I agree that they were never "good" beers, several million people liked them like tens of millions like Coors/Bud/Miller now. I am certainly not one that like them. But, those two breweries most certainly DID use cheaper grains and adjuncts, shortened fermentation and shipped greener beers. It is a big reason they are a speck in the market share compared to what they once were. There are many other reasons that happened but I digress...

Taste is a personal preference but quality is more standardized by variables other than (but including) taste. I just wonder why poorer quality microbrews exist as it seems oxymoronic to me.
Might want to look into how and why the likes of BMC became the big name in brewing and the accepted standard in the US.

It mostly came abut during WWII when they tailored the beer to sell to housewives who were entering the workforce while most the men of drinking age were gone to war. When they returned the women who did the shopping stocked the house with the beer they liked and the men became accustomed to it.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:59 PM   #9
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Might want to look into how and why the likes of BMC became the big name in brewing and the accepted standard in the US.

It mostly came abut during WWII when they tailored the beer to sell to housewives who were entering the workforce while most the men of drinking age were gone to war. When they returned the women who did the shopping stocked the house with the beer they liked and the men became accustomed to it.
Actually it came earlier than that....

catdaddy66, sounds like you're another zealot/beersnob. Just because you don't like it, or think you have better tastes than the average beer drinker, BMC is exactly what people seem to want.

Or ELSE they wouldn't be doing it, would they?

America like most of the world had quite an extensive array of beers available prior to the German Invasion of brewer's which later introduced the light lager. They pretty much had the "brewing culture" of all the countries that people immigrated from...Most English beer styles..you know Porters, Stouts, Partigyles, stuff like that. As well as mostly heavy German Styles of beer. Not to mention people from Scotland, Ireland, Russia and other places where beer was drank.

Remember up until then, beer was food.

In fact thew whole history of the light lager is the American populace's (not the brewer's) desire to have a lighter beer to drink, which forced the German brewers to look at adding adjuncts like corn and rice...not as the popular homebrewer's myth has been to make money by peddling and "inferior commercial product" by adding adjuncts, but in order to come up with a style of beer that the American people wanted.

Maureen Ogle proved that in Ambitious Brew it actually made the cost of a bottle of Budweiser cost around 17.00/bottle in today's dollars. Gee I've paid 17 dollars for a bomber of beer before...not too much difference there, eh?

Ambitious brew is much more historically accurate than that silly beer wars beersnob propaganda. I encourage folks to read it and learn a little more about the truth.

When AH released Budweiser with it's corn and rice adjuncts in the 1860's it was the most expensive beer out there; a single bottle retailed for $1.00 (what would equal in today's Dollars for $17.00) this was quite difference when a schooner of beer usually cost a nickel.

This is the part that blows the "cost cutting" argument out of the water. In order to use those adjuncts you have to process them separately from the rest of the mash, and then add it to the mash. You either have to do a cereal mash to pr-gelatinize them or you have to roll them with heat to make them flaked...either way, besides the labor and energy involved to grow and harvest those plants, you expend labor and energy to make them usuable. You have to boil them in a cereal mash. That's another couple hours of labor and energy involved in the cost of the product. Same with making the HFCS ad rice syrup solids they use today....It still has to be processed before it makes it to the beer.

It wasn't done to save money, it was done because heavy beers (both english style Ales and the heavier Bavarian malty beers) were not being drunk by American consumers any more. Beer initally was seen around the world as food (some even called it liquid bread), but since America, even in the 1800's was a prosperous nation compared to the rest of the world, and americans ate meat with nearly every meal, heavy beers had fallen out of favor...


And American 6-row Barley just made for heavy, hazy beer.

The American populace ate it up!

The market WAS in a sense, craving light lagers...The German brewers didn't want to make the switch. They were perfectly happy with their bocks and all those other great heavy German Beers. But the rest of us weren't into it.

So, what, they were just supposed to claim superiority by sticking to those styles until they went out of business? It wasn't until after the second world war, when GI had returned from eating the foods of the world that "gourmet culture" as we know it began......There wasn't really a "craft anything" market yet.


Bush and other German Brewers started looking at other styles of Beers, and came upon Karl Balling and Anton Schwartz's work at the Prague Polytechnic Institute with the Brewers in Bohemia who when faced with a grain shortage started using adjuncts, which produced the pils which was light, sparkly and fruity tasting...just the thing for American tastebuds.

So the brewers brought Schwartz to America where he went to work for American Brewer Magazine writing articles and technical monographs, teaching American brewers how to use Rice and Corn...

The sad moral of the story is....The big corporate brewers did not foist tasteless adjunct laced fizzy water on us, like the popular mythology all of us beersnobs like to take to bed with us to feel all warm and elitist....it was done because our American ancestors wanted it.

Blame your grandfather for having "lousy" taste in beer, NOT the brewers themselves. Like everything in business, they had to change or die.

Maureen Ogle's book Ambitious Brew is the best and most historically accurate of American Beer History books out there. I can't recommend it enough.

It a dose of reality. I used to believe the same stuff you all did until I read it. It's kinda humbling to realize we're NOT "the pawns of an evil corporate empire" after all.



http://www.amazon.com/Ambitious-Brew.../dp/0151010129

Her blog archive has a lot of material covering the imbev takeover or Anheiseur Bush as well as stuff that didin't make it into here original book, so I encourage you to dig through that as well.


http://maureenogle.com/blog/

It clears up a lot of stuff like this, and busts a ton of myths like this one.


Listen to this from Basic Brewing;

Quote:
November 30, 2006 - Ambitious Brew Part One
We learn about the history of beer in the USA from Maureen Ogle, author of "Ambitious Brew - The Story of American Beer." Part one takes us from the Pilgrims to Prohibition.

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicb...br11-30-06.mp3

December 7, 2006 - Ambitious Brew Part Two
We continue our discussion about the history of beer in the USA with Maureen Ogle, author of "Ambitious Brew - The Story of American Beer." Part two takes us from Prohibition to the present day.

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicb...br12-07-06.mp3
That's why I find the arguments the "bud basher's" like to use so amusing...It's so historically inaccurate. It really is our ancestor's "fault" that BL is the most popular beer in the world.

Go ask your grampa why he didn't choose a nice Stout or an IPA. (But if stouts, or IPAs were the biggest sellers on the planet today, you bet your bippie that beersnobs would be railing against those beers instead. )

And they had choices back then as well. They didn't HAVE to drink that style, they chose too.
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:17 PM   #10
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Fascinating info Revvy and I am off to locate that book, the history of beer fascinates me a bit so this sounds like an excellent read.

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