For a brewery truly rooted in the community, consider forming a cooperative!
March 12, 2015, Darren Link
Sara Stephens posted a very informative blog on Micro Brewr about cooperative breweries in North America. She has listed all the current brewery cooperatives in the US and Canada including Fifth Street Brewpub and our great friends Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery down in Austin, TX!
“The cooperative business model is gaining popularity. Even many craft breweries are forming as co-ops. If you’re thinking of starting a brewpub, the cooperative business model might be the way to go.” Sara Stephens
Check out her article at http://microbrewr.com/for-brewery-truly-rooted-community-consider-forming-cooperative/
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November 12, 2014, Darren Link
It’s an interesting time to be a craft beer lover in America. With the skyrocketing number of breweries that are opening to the innovative techniques and ingredients being used, the craft beer industry is booming. Along with that, there are craft breweries becoming so large that the guidelines for what IS a craft brewery have to change. The biggest of the big guys have noticed and want in on the action.
In 2011, when Anheuser-Busch InBev acquired one of the largest and most established brands in Chicago, Goose Island, beer geeks were up in arms about the sale and cried foul…a loss of quality, a loss of jobs, the sky is falling! But the sky did not fall. Cut to today: Goose Island premium brands, like Bourbon County Brand Stout, have not only not gone down in quality but have quadrupled their barrel aging facility to a whopping 143,000 square feet. Just imagine for a second what YOU would do with deeper than deep pockets and virtually unlimited resources.
We are now seeing the next “sky is falling” moment unfold. Anheuser-Busch InBev announced that they are acquiring Bend, Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing Company, a small brewery that makes some really unique beers, like their fantastic “Swill,” a grapefruit berliner-weisse. Again, some beer geeks thought this was the end of the craft beer industry as we know it. Check out the video about the sale. http://vimeo.com/111005605
The debate will not go away any time soon, whether or not it’s a positive move or not. There have been rumors for years about Anheuser-Busch InBev attempting to purchase SABMiller, which would give them a gigantic chunk of the worlds beer market share. My question is where would they go from there? There will be more acquisitions, which is fine. But when the largest beer companies in the world start to feel desperate and resort to the more dirty tactics like putting a pinch on, or buying all of, a raw beer ingredient, then what? No more Cascade? No more of a certain yeast strain?
With one stroke of a pen, the sale of a small brewery to a behemoth company can change lives beyond wildest dreams while a new start-up brewery that is technologically superior or focused on a specific niche of craft beers struggles to compete.