AB InBev Brewers Responds to Brewers Association's Craft Label

by Alexander Frane on Jul 11, 2017 in Beer

Recently, The Drink Nation reported on a logo developed by the Brewers Association. Qualifying breweries will be able to place the symbol, an upside down beer bottle, on their beer labels to declare themselves “small, traditional, and independent”. The seal was designed to distinguish such breweries from those owned by larger beer companies, most notably the beverage behemoth AB InBev, in an attempt for transparency for the benefit of consumers.  Now, brewers whose companies are owned by AB InBev have released a video response to this new form of labeling.

Six Viewpoints from The High End from The High End on Vimeo.

The video, created by AB InBev’s High End, features brewers and founders from 10 Barrel, Elysian, Wicked Weed, Four Peaks, and more. The general argument is that, as 10 Barrel founder Garrett Wales says, “At the end of the day the beer does the talking, not the label on the package, and the consumer makes up their own mind”. They point to the fact that the seal does not guarantee quality, just independence, and simply being bought by a larger company doesn’t mean the product will suddenly change.

Furthermore, the argument is made that it’s not “the big guys” that are the threat to small breweries, but the growing popularity of wine and spirits over beers. There’s some evidence to suggest that spirits are outpacing beers, though there is less so with wine. Walt Dickinson of Wicked Weed calls for unity amongst breweries, saying they’re fighting a “civil war” while facing an external threat, and that there’s room in the industry for any good beer.

It’s unlikely that an alliance between independent and corporate owned breweries will happen anytime soon, but one thing is for certain: as Wales says, the consumer makes up their own mind. Whether that’s going to mean turning away from larger breweries and focusing on the ones with the BA’s seal or not remains to be seen.

Photo via the Brewer's Association

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