Editorial Board: Craft Beer for the New Millennium

Ed. Note: The following article reflects the views of the Midwest Beer Collective Editorial Staff as a whole, unified body. The opinion was reached and dedicated to webspace after many beers and much consternation.

We care deeply about beer. We care about the craft, the ingredients and the people. People like Dean Coffee at Ale Asylum, Doug and Tracy Hurst at Metropolitan Brewing Company, Michael Kiser at Good Beer Hunting, make what we do fun and rewarding and constantly fresh. As we’ve grown, what started as a love of flavor and comparing styles has become something bigger. As a Midwestern beer blog, our mission is to promote the culture that has grown alongside the beer.

Since the start of this blog, a number of craft breweries have been purchased by multi-national beverage corporations. In each one—Goose Island in particular—the same emotions have surfaced. Initially, the sale hurts. It feels understandably enough like betrayal, or even a bad breakup. We support certain breweries for a number of reasons, and oftentimes it happens because we can claim a certain amount of ownership and a sense of geographic location (regionalism and beer is a topic for another time). Goose Island belonged to the beer drinkers of Chicago (“Silly New Yorker, it’s 3-1-2 not 3-12”). Their sale forced us to recognize a painful truth: breweries outgrow the craft beer community they once served.

Although this is not something that we like, objectively, we can live with it. We agree that everyone deserves the right to mourn their favorite craft-brew acquisition; however, we don’t see the point of calling for a boycott of recently acquired craft beers or see them as deserving of prolonged animosity. Instead, these sales present an opportunity for us to grow and explore as a community.

A comment followed Brian’s editorial on the Crispin sale last week that correctly pointed out the sale of Crispin will only lead to greater sales for cider in general. The umbrella has expanded, so to speak, and now there is more room underneath for smaller breweries. As craft beer drinkers, we can reallocate our priorities and our money. The general public will buy more Crispin and Goose Island and hopefully realize that there is so much beer to explore. More niches become exposed as more people become beer enthusiasts, and overall more people drink beer. These seem like obvious conclusions associated with industry expansion, but they are also reasons not to get so worked up over the sale of your favorite beer. Remember tradition always, but don’t forget to look forward every once in a while.

For these reasons, as a community, we must choose to support the local brewers. Ale Asylum plays such a vital role in the culture and life of this blog because it is more than just beer, like the community is more than just people who like drinking beer. As a blog, hereafter we will always err on the side of the new, the bold, the artistic, the weird. It is why we started loving beer in the first place, and see no reason to change.

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