Pete Brown captured the decline of Stella beautifully in this recent piece I’ve mentioned here before. It came down to:
After the merger, Inbev instituted an aggressive cost-cutting culture. Out went the lavish TV ad production budgets. In came cheaper, high-visibility posters. Out went the embossed cans; in came a smaller bottle size for supermarket multipacks.
The beer itself, brewed in the traditional style with quality ingredients, had always tasted more full-bodied than its competitors. That put some people off. Inbev started to brew with maize, cheaper than barley, producing a blander-tasting beer.
There is a particular corporate mindset that seeks to redress this by returning to more lavish ads while keeping the beer cheap, but that seems to be the InBev way. The fact that it often works says a lot about us.
I think Roger Protz has the best answer.
Last week saw one of the few occasions when I disagreed with Roger Protz. He’s back in form today though with a great post about brewers stirring up the establishment and creating further problems for the brewing industry. Only, this time the problem is with a supposedly craft brewer.
I can’t think of any local microbrewers who resort to this type of garbage with the sole intention of promoting themselves and selling their product with little regard for the industry. Though there is this mob of beer marketers who will no doubt come into anti-alcohol sights soon and take the whole brewing industry with them.
I drink responsibly and I don’t want government intervention to interfere with my choice to drink sensibly. However, alcohol does have a potential for harm and care must be exercised in its sale and use. While my libertarian nature wants no regulations because I am responsible, the sad truth is that like many philosophies, it doesn’t take into account human nature or business. Being liberal carries with it some obligation towards restraint, otherwise limits will be imposed by government. Unfortunately, some companies that generate profits from the making and sale of alcohol have exhibited a reluctance to show restraint in their products or pricing in the name of ‘growing the market’ and are making all alcohol a target.
Roger Protz is a giant of beer writing...but I'm taller
It’s fine to have an opinion about beer and write about it, but a few beer writers write with authority. Roger Protz is one that does.
Read this and think of it whenever you hear of a brewery being bought by a beer maker promising not to make changes…
And then I came across this earlier post.