craft brewer acting illegally in Chicago!?

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bb239605

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So Greg Koch of stone brewing said on Twitter that there is a large craft brewery in Chicago participating in illegal/unethical things in Chicago.

My first thoughts are who, what, how and why.

Is it goose island? Is it laguintas?

What are they doing?

How does Greg know and why?

What are you guys thoughts? I'll post the tweet if I can find it.
 

phatspade

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Interesting read. Now I know what the complaint is about and I agree with a lot of what he talks about. Sad to see that this stuff goes on, but when it comes to ethics it's all in the the eye of the beholder. I agree with some and would debate other parts. I for one am not happy about a lot of "imported" beers not really being imports, but I see a reason as to why it's ok yet my preference is to have the real deal. Buying other breweries to capitalize on the beer they crafted isn't right in my book, but that's just how businesses work.
 

Phunhog

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I hate when people throw stuff out there like this but don't go into any other details.
 

mikescooling

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Meh, its Chicago. So if I'm correct the bitch is a brewery has more than one plant (out side of IL) but selling a beer called "312" because that's the old north side area code. AKA it's saying it's a local beer? It's Chicago, what do you want? I think it's more of a representation of this city that their being gangsters misleading their customers.
 

phatspade

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I hate when people throw stuff out there like this but don't go into any other details.
click the link in the second post. it'll take you to a message on beeradvocate.com. i'm still reading it, but it's all about the comments afterwards.

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IMO beer labels should follow suit as soft drinks. Coke, RC Cola and Pepsi have their drink products state on the label where they were made/canned and if they were licensed/contracted by those companies.

Just to add more to my thoughts in my last post. I like to try new beers, but if I had to pick from the tap I'll always choose a brew from my native state as I have pride in what my home state offers the nation and even the world.
 

phatspade

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well it seems to boil down to what the brewer's assoc. defines as craft brewery. it turned ugly like when the astronomy world decided to make a more distinctive definition of what a planet is. with that the mud-flinging started and now it's all about why this or that isn't considered traditional or "crafted". still reading the comments, but mostly the latter pages are about the labels and knowing that you don't know if a beer is made down the street or at the actual brewery.
 

IffyG

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Does it matter where a beer is brewed as long as it retains the same flavor profile? I don't give a damn if a beer is contract brewed or not as long as it tastes good.

Hell, I know for a fact that Schlafly started contract brewing at a place in Nashville in 2011, but that didn't stop me from drinking their beer.
 

MoPhunk

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Wait!!! Ethics issues in chi-town? No!!! I can't believe it, not in a whilesome, morLly inclined town like that.
 

Glynn

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well it seems to boil down to what the brewer's assoc. defines as craft brewery. it turned ugly like when the astronomy world decided to make a more distinctive definition of what a planet is. with that the mud-flinging started and now it's all about why this or that isn't considered traditional or "crafted". still reading the comments, but mostly the latter pages are about the labels and knowing that you don't know if a beer is made down the street or at the actual brewery.
Poor Pluto. your still a planet to me big guy
 

drainbamage

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The last time I bought a GI product (Harvest Ale, last fall) it said on the 6-pack "brewed and bottled in Baldwinsille, NY". I don't know if that was listed on the bottles as well, but it seems pretty clear to me.

If the whole issue is that 312 has a name referencing Chicago, but it isn't brewed in Chicago, then why isn't anyone getting up in arms about beers labeled "Irish Stout" that aren't brewed in Ireland?
 

Cathedral

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I hate it when I see people driving a Chevy Colorado. I have to stop myself from saying, "Hey! That wasn't made in Colorado, you hypocrite!"

Or when I have Szechuan cooking, MADE AT THE RESTAURANT IN TOLEDO. That's not Szechuan!

Oh wait, that doesn't follow your point? What is your point?

Illegal? Unethical? Are you serious?
 

phenry

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Does it matter where a beer is brewed as long as it retains the same flavor profile? I don't give a damn if a beer is contract brewed or not as long as it tastes good.

Hell, I know for a fact that Schlafly started contract brewing at a place in Nashville in 2011, but that didn't stop me from drinking their beer.
http://schlafly.com/blog/2011/06/22/schlafly-beer-to-be-brewed-in-nashville/

While I don't really care to delve too far into the details of this whole Chicago ordeal, Schlafly did openly announce their plans to expand their production through contracting some brewing out to Blackstone. That kind of transparency (along with some awesome beer) is a reason I really respect Schlafly.
 

Gear101

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The last time I bought a GI product (Harvest Ale, last fall) it said on the 6-pack "brewed and bottled in Baldwinsille, NY". I don't know if that was listed on the bottles as well, but it seems pretty clear to me.

If the whole issue is that 312 has a name referencing Chicago, but it isn't brewed in Chicago, then why isn't anyone getting up in arms about beers labeled "Irish Stout" that aren't brewed in Ireland?
I totally agree, someone for ward that statement to stone. :mug:
 

forstmeister

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Wait, this is about GI being brewed elsewhere? So what? Noone who likes craft beer in Chicago cares much about GI anymore anyway...I haven't bought a single beer by them since they sold out. Their product is still good, but I am not putting money in the pockets of the very people who are trying to crush the small breweries, one of which is owned and operated by a very good friend of mine.

Also, this is the very reason GI sold in the first place from what I understand. They simply could not meet market demand with their setup and didn't want to expand significantly because and didn't want to contract brew. They were stuck and the owner made a choice to get out. He then went on to start a meadery on his own if I am not mistaken.
 

BrewKnurd

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Interesting read. Now I know what the complaint is about and I agree with a lot of what he talks about. Sad to see that this stuff goes on, but when it comes to ethics it's all in the the eye of the beholder. I agree with some and would debate other parts. I for one am not happy about a lot of "imported" beers not really being imports, but I see a reason as to why it's ok yet my preference is to have the real deal. Buying other breweries to capitalize on the beer they crafted isn't right in my book, but that's just how businesses work.
I don't think the beer advocate post is what his tweet referred to. The commenter was just pointing out that he has called "crafty" brewers out by name on practices he didn't like (in the beer advocate post), but is not calling out a craft brewer by name (in the tweet). The link was provided as contrast, not as evidence of what he was talking about. At least that's how I took it.

I mean, the tweet was yesterday, the beer advocate post was from mid december, there's no reason to think they have to be about the same thing. And if he was happy to mention GI by name in the BA post, why would he now just say a craft brewer in chicago?
 

forstmeister

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I don't think the beer advocate post is what his tweet referred to. The commenter was just pointing out that he has called "crafty" brewers out by name on practices he didn't like (in the beer advocate post), but is not calling out a craft brewer by name (in the tweet). The link was provided as contrast, not as evidence of what he was talking about. At least that's how I took it.

I mean, the tweet was yesterday, the beer advocate post was from mid december, there's no reason to think they have to be about the same thing. And if he was happy to mention GI by name in the BA post, why would he now just say a craft brewer in chicago?
His tweet referenced a large craft brewer, right? There are no other large breweries in Chicago. Metropolitan, Revolution, Half Acre, Finch's, probably produce the most with the rest being brewpubs and chains (Rock Bottom). Maybe RB is the brewery he was talking about...who knows really unless he feels like clarifying...

One more point, GI has been losing it's top brewers over the past year to small start-ups. At what point are the best people going to be gone to where the product starts to suffer? If the best brewers and the people behind what made their product so good to begin with are gone, the product can't go on being the same, right?
 

Rundownhouse

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Does it matter where a beer is brewed as long as it retains the same flavor profile? I don't give a damn if a beer is contract brewed or not as long as it tastes good.

Hell, I know for a fact that Schlafly started contract brewing at a place in Nashville in 2011, but that didn't stop me from drinking their beer.
Koch's point, if I'm reading him right, isn't about the quality of the beer at all. It's about transparency. I guess it's good that a site that has so many people who are grateful they have a LHBS for emergency runs on a Saturday and are upset that BMC put out brands imitating craft with no indication they are BMC-owned and -brewed also has people who couldn't care less if local businesses are opened or where the beer they drink comes from. Diversity equals strength, right?

And I "know for a fact" that the Schlafly beer brewed in Nashville isn't the same. You should talk to Schlafly's QA guy the next time he's in town... which is, sadly, almost every week.
 

Rundownhouse

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One more point, GI has been losing it's top brewers over the past year to small start-ups. At what point are the best people going to be gone to where the product starts to suffer? If the best brewers and the people behind what made their product so good to begin with are gone, the product can't go on being the same, right?
AB, and probably other large brewers although I can't speak to their practices, significantly invest in their brewers. There will always be guys willing to work for AB simply for the top notch training and experience they offer. A craft brewer really cannot compete, in human resource terms, with AB or the other bigs.
 

jbaysurfer

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Let's face it. BMC should be easy to spot because if it's not, our more casual friends are going to mistakenly bring 6 packs of Rolling Rock when they come to dinner at our houses.

Me: "Ooh Rolling Rock, I used to drink this in college"
Me (inner voice): "ya know, back when it was a craft brew?":p
 

Gavagai

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Look at his more recent tweets. It's about a brewery bribing retailers to stock their brand.
 

jpc

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What I don't get is that people, including Mr. Koch himself, seem to forget that beer is produced by companies who have to make business decisions. It would be great if they weren't constrained by finances, but that isn't reality. The point is that they have to make decisions based on the bottom line, and sometimes that means [GASP!] contract brewing. So be it.

The bottom line-- drink the beer you like. Don't drink the beer you don't like. It doesn't matter where it is brewed.
 

ryno84

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After reading the discussion on Beeradvocate forums, I am surprised how many people seem to get so emotional over the "craft" brew distinction. To me, "micro brew" or "craft brew" are just marketing terms used by smaller breweries to distinguish themselves from the big breweries. I mean, beer is beer. it has a huge range of styles.

I get that the big boys are trying to move into the "craft" section of the store shelves by buying up previously craft breweries. The consumers though are the ones who ultimately decide. With so many different types of beer and "craft" brews gaining in popularity, obviously some people are realizing there is more than the adjunct lager side of the shelf.

The whole fight over what is and is not "craft" beer seems kind of silly to me, but then again, I am just a consumer and not in the business.
 

BrewKnurd

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The bottom line-- drink the beer you like. Don't drink the beer you don't like. It doesn't matter where it is brewed.
To you, it doesn't. To those who might want to support what they believe is local industry, maybe it does. That's the advantage of accurate labeling. You can go on not caring, and those who DO care can actually be informed without a lot of effort. Not sure what the advantage of misleading labeling is, except for the brewer who wants you to believe it was brewed somewhere other than where it was.
 

Gavagai

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Once again, Greg's recent comments were NOT about contract brewing or misleading labeling. They were about illegal bribery. Does that matter?
 

Demon

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Too many people here completely missed what Greg is talking about. This is NOT about GI, Greg would never refer to them as "craft" anymore. This is about illegally buying shelf space in stores by another largish brewer.
 

GodsStepBrother

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Demon is right, it has to be another craft brewery. A lot of distributors will pay for draft equipment and buy out managers at different accounts (paid trips etc...) in order to win shelf space and tap markers.
 
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