Beer in 2016: Capitalism & the local
If I could remember I might post about my favourite beers of 2016 but the chances I won’t be able to remember them (I don’t take notes mostly). A piece on my favourite breweries will certainly appear by New Year.
In the mean time I can write on something I do actually know something about: capitalism.
Matthew Curtis posted an, as usual, interesting piece on the appearance of Goose Island in the UK on 19th December:
I don’t doubt that despite being owned by ABInBev that Goose Island produce some decent beers and, in small quantities, some exceptional ones too. They are hardly alone in that. They plan to market themselves in a substantial way in the UK. Their first Vintage inn is now open in Balham (Gateway to the South and founding location of British Trotskyism)
Meanwhile another ABInBev owned craft brewery, Camden in North London, is to be marketed in the US.
Yes indeed, despite Brexit and Farage’s dreaming, capitalism is a world system and will remain so. I do puzzle however why instead of launching Goose Island here AB don’t do more to promote Camden beers in the UK. I don’t mean their Hells and lager brands but the smaller batch stuff they do, that I for one hardly ever see in craft beer bars. Capitalism’s search for market share and profit is not always rational of course.
Lex in the FT (19.12)- I’d post a link but its firewalled. If you have access to the FT you’ll be able to see it- in a further piece about US hop production and prices notes that US giants like AB and Molson Coors while not exactly booming are doing OK, partly by buying and promoting craft breweries.
Meanwhile an independent like Samuel Adams of Boston is struggling a little. Lex concludes that its problem is that it is a national brand while drinkers seek ever more local beers. Do they? I’m not entirely sure but I do take particular interest its true in beers produced in my twin residences of Tottenham and Cardiff.
In which case the appearance of Goose Island in the UK instead of the promotion of Camden is not such a good idea. As ever we shall see and to be honest a lot depends, as it should, not on the brand or the marketing but whether the beer sold on draught in the UK is any good. I suspect that it is, but we shall see.