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Steve H

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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by Steve H » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:00 pm

Roger A. Baylor wrote:Coors will use this to keep genuine craft products off store shelves. It's how they've always operated, and will continue to operate. Anyone interested in free trade who slams a Coors bottle to the table to make his or her point quite simply is delusional about the way the world works.

Don't blame Coors or the distributors for restraining free trade in alcoholic beverages. Look no further than your Kentucky (or Indiana, or any other ) state government. They are the ones that required going through distribution. They are the ones that set up a gazillion rules and requirements that basically ensures a oligarchy of big distributors that can donate to political campaigns. And this oligarchy of distributors basically is the mechanism that guarantees that we have few powerful national brands to grease politico palms. Stop blaming the big brewers for playing the game by the rules that the government has set up.

If you were really for "free trade" you would advocate getting the government out of the way, thus undercutting the artificial support for the big distributors and big brands. That's the way small retailers truly could stock their shelves with the products that they want.

Once again, it is government interference in the markets that screws things up for the not so politically well connected.
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by Robin Garr » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:14 pm

Leah s wrote:Along this same line of thinking, a lot of bottled waters are from public water companies. Aquafina and Dasani, for example.

If memory serves me right, even Perrier is a product of Nestlé. It's also still water when it comes out of the spring ... the bubbles are added in an industrial process. Tsk.
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by Steve P » Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:03 pm

Roger A. Baylor wrote:Coors will use this to keep genuine craft products off store shelves.


Just another in a long list of examples of "The Man" tryin' tah keep a brutha down. :wink:
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Todd Antz

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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by Todd Antz » Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:08 pm

None of the mega breweries ever put their names on the beers they brew as a "craft brand". For some reason the seem ashamed to put their name on them. Blue Moon was always "Blue Moon Brewing Company" Anheuser names their "breweries" right after the name of the beer (Hop Hound Brewing, Blue Dog Brewing, etc). While it is deceptive, its been pointed out that this has happened for years with other products in the alcohol industry. I've personally never understood why they wouldn't just put their name somewhere on the label. If you are known for making a cheap a$$ whiskey, but can crank out something respectable, and sometimes amazing (Heaven Hill is the king of this) then be proud and put your name somewhere on the label. Just because a bottle of Bernheim Wheat has Distilled and bottled by Heaven Hill on it wouldn't scare me away, but they won't put their name on it at all. As it is, I look at a label now, and wonder exactly how Bardstown Kentucky manages to fit 50+ distilleries in such a small geographic area.

You would think that a brand like Coors would have enough brand equity in their name that they would put it on everything they make. They might even sell more if the Coors drinkers know its one of "their beers" they might be more inclined to try it.

I know I am one retailer that stocks my shelves based on one thing.... what the customer wants, not what the distributor wants on my shelves. That's why I have 800 different beers on hand. The main limiting factor we've run into on getting in certain brands is more the fact that the breweries don't have capacity to distribute in our state as opposed to the distributors not wanting to carry their products. But without those distributors, we would not have 99% of the variety that we do today.
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Keeping Kentuckiana Beer'd since 1976
http://www.kegliquors.com

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Clarksville, IN 47129
812-283-3988

4304 Charlestown Road
New Albany, IN 47150
812-948-0444
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by DanB » Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:53 am

I haven't drank a mega-brewer rice beer in 15 years but I'm still a bit mystified by the notion that buying from small guys is inherently more ethical than buying products from big guys. For all I know a local craft brewer might be sticking the profits into buckets of cocaine or kiddie porn. Maybe he even beats his employees with a rubber hose. How should I know?

I would be very interested in the hows and whys of mega brewers keeping craft brewers off retail shelves. Once a year I visit Mom in Jeffersonville, and the first thing I do is drive to Meijers or Kroger to stock up on supplies, including beer. To my knowledge I have never seen a local beer on those shelves. I would be interested in knowing what is keeping local brewers from driving their truck over there once a week and stocking six-packs. Have they tried? Have these retailers refused to stock their products? Does Coors/Bud/Miller have a thug watching the door?

Seriously, every year I visit Rich O's at least once, and since last year Bank St is on the annual visit list. I always get to BBC and usually that other place on Bardstown Rd whose name I forget. But I also like to drink a beer or thirty at home and I just can't find these brews at my grocery store. That means an extra trip to the Keg (Dude, I'm on your facebook group!) or all the way to St Matthews to Whole Foods. So, seriously, why aren't local craft beers in my grocery and how are rice beer makers to blame?
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by David R. Pierce » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:38 am

DanB wrote:I haven't drank a mega-brewer rice beer in 15 years but I'm still a bit mystified by the notion that buying from small guys is inherently more ethical than buying products from big guys. For all I know a local craft brewer might be sticking the profits into buckets of cocaine or kiddie porn. Maybe he even beats his employees with a rubber hose. How should I know?

I would be very interested in the hows and whys of mega brewers keeping craft brewers off retail shelves. Once a year I visit Mom in Jeffersonville, and the first thing I do is drive to Meijers or Kroger to stock up on supplies, including beer. To my knowledge I have never seen a local beer on those shelves. I would be interested in knowing what is keeping local brewers from driving their truck over there once a week and stocking six-packs. Have they tried? Have these retailers refused to stock their products? Does Coors/Bud/Miller have a thug watching the door?

Seriously, every year I visit Rich O's at least once, and since last year Bank St is on the annual visit list. I always get to BBC and usually that other place on Bardstown Rd whose name I forget. But I also like to drink a beer or thirty at home and I just can't find these brews at my grocery store. That means an extra trip to the Keg (Dude, I'm on your facebook group!) or all the way to St Matthews to Whole Foods. So, seriously, why aren't local craft beers in my grocery and how are rice beer makers to blame?


For the best explanation of how shelf space is divided: Beer Wars: The Movie. The movie is available for streaming on NetFlix.
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David R. Pierce
The Original BBC Brewmaster
Bluegrass Brewing Co.
St. Matthews branch
Craft Brewing Louisville continuously since 1992
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by Robin Garr » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:08 am

David R. Pierce wrote:For the best explanation of how shelf space is divided: Beer Wars: The Movie. The movie is available for streaming on NetFlix.

Excellent! I know what I'll be watching tonight. 8)
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by DanB » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:36 am

You know I'm not trying to be an ass, but if the answer to the question why can't I get a Floyd County beer in my grocery store in Clark County is "Go on the internet and download some movie", then I'm going to have to remain underwhelmed. To me, it beggars belief to suggest that someone in Denver or Brussels can prevent someone from driving 20 minutes down a perfectly good highway and plonking some beer on a shelf once a week.

I'm hard pressed to believe the answer is so complicated that I need to watch a documentary to understand it.
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by Ryan B » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:52 am

Interesting discussion. Its nice to see people bring up legitimate points on both sides of the issue. Since I'm pretty well tuned in to the workings of the beer market place, I thought I would share some of my opinions. Apologies if I go a little long...

First, as it relates to the beer being discussed here, we will most likely never see this product in the local market place. If so, it will be years before it ever happens. AC Golden is a subsidiary that was created by Coors prior to their JV with Miller in order to explore new ideas and be a brand incubator for above premium brands. Currently they only brew and sell one other beer and I believe only in Colorado.

Whether or not this is viewed as a craft brand or a "faux craft" most likely depends on how you define craft. I imagine that David follows the definition provided by the Brewer's Association (http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/business-tools/craft-brewing-statistics/craft-brewer-defined). That definition eliminates it by way of the brewery's ownership. Following that logic, there are lots of other "crafts" that should be judged accordingly - Goose Island, Widmer, Kona, Blue Moon, etc. For me, while ownership is an important consideration in my consumption, I ,like most consumers, ultimately judge a beer by how it tastes. I think the response on the ProBrewer forum that was included earlier nails a lot of the issues on the head.

Now, regarding the decision to label the beer as a Coor's product. I can see how some would see it as deceptive but, as mentioned by a few people, it is a pretty common practice in the alcohol industry. There are even a bunch of craft brewers who do the same thing. I don't think creating private labels brands is very different.

When it comes to choices, or lack thereof, for consumers the blame falls almost entirely on the retailer. They determine what brands and products they stock. There is no way to force someone to carry or not carry any certain item. Any brewer or distributor that tries to strong arm a retailer usually has that back fire on them. DanB mentioned Kroger and Meijer... The cooler's in these stores are "set" at a corporate level and usually have very little, if any, local input into what gets stocked. Most items have to meet a certain sales threshold to be considered for placement. That said, you should be able to find BBC in most Krogers in Jefferson Co.

I think in the next year most major retailers will look at expanding their "above premium" offerings to capitalize on consumer trends and preferences for more flavorful beer. Their whole m.o. is to sell consumers what they want. Typically they are not leaders in this matters but rather react to trends in the overall market. That is why independent retailers usually do a better job of catering to new and emerging trends. Think of the beer offerings at Liquor Barn, Keg Liquors, Valu Market and others. They are all successful by offering a unique experience for the shopper. They also have the ability to react to new products instantly whereas the chains usually take a few months. The struggle for any retailer is to find the balance between offering a wide choice while still maintaining enough space for your high volume brands. It takes serious commitment on a retailers part to devote a lot of space to products that don't turn quickly or generate enough revenue relative to others in the category.

Finally, regarding the "oligarchy of big distributors". To my knowledge, there are 6 different beer distributors that service Jefferson Co. 5 of them have a pretty decent presence in the market and only 2 of those carry "major" brands. I'm fairly certain that any brewer interested in coming to the market can find a distributor who would be willing to sell their brands. If there is someone else who thinks they want to get into the distribution game I'm pretty sure all that is required by the palm-greased politcos is a clean record, a completed license application and the $2k license fee.
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by David R. Pierce » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:56 am

DanB wrote:You know I'm not trying to be an ass, but if the answer to the question why can't I get a Floyd County beer in my grocery store in Clark County is "Go on the internet and download some movie", then I'm going to have to remain underwhelmed. To me, it beggars belief to suggest that someone in Denver or Brussels can prevent someone from driving 20 minutes down a perfectly good highway and plonking some beer on a shelf once a week.

I'm hard pressed to believe the answer is so complicated that I need to watch a documentary to understand it.


You can't get a Floyd County beer in the grocery store because we only produce draft. As soon as we package beer in a shelf worthy container you will be able to buy at the grocery. You can buy growlers of our beer from either of our locations, Whole Foods, and Valu Market in Mid-City Mall.

To better understand how shelf space in a store is allocated and to fully understand this discussion, watch the movie.
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David R. Pierce
The Original BBC Brewmaster
Bluegrass Brewing Co.
St. Matthews branch
Craft Brewing Louisville continuously since 1992
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by Rob Coffey » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:04 am

DanB wrote:You know I'm not trying to be an ass, but if the answer to the question why can't I get a Floyd County beer in my grocery store in Clark County is "Go on the internet and download some movie", then I'm going to have to remain underwhelmed. To me, it beggars belief to suggest that someone in Denver or Brussels can prevent someone from driving 20 minutes down a perfectly good highway and plonking some beer on a shelf once a week.

I'm hard pressed to believe the answer is so complicated that I need to watch a documentary to understand it.


While it varies from state to state, in many it is illegal for the brewery to drive down the highway and plonk some beer on the shelf. The 3 tier laws require the distributor to do this (some states allow self distributorship -- IIRC, KY is not one of them, dont know about IN).
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by David R. Pierce » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:25 am

Rob Coffey wrote:
DanB wrote:You know I'm not trying to be an ass, but if the answer to the question why can't I get a Floyd County beer in my grocery store in Clark County is "Go on the internet and download some movie", then I'm going to have to remain underwhelmed. To me, it beggars belief to suggest that someone in Denver or Brussels can prevent someone from driving 20 minutes down a perfectly good highway and plonking some beer on a shelf once a week.

I'm hard pressed to believe the answer is so complicated that I need to watch a documentary to understand it.


While it varies from state to state, in many it is illegal for the brewery to drive down the highway and plonk some beer on the shelf. The 3 tier laws require the distributor to do this (some states allow self distributorship -- IIRC, KY is not one of them, dont know about IN).


We can and do self-distribute in Indiana, mainly Clark & Floyd County.
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David R. Pierce
The Original BBC Brewmaster
Bluegrass Brewing Co.
St. Matthews branch
Craft Brewing Louisville continuously since 1992
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by DanB » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:02 pm

Well I'm getting a bit of an education... I realize my ignorance on the subject is on full display. I can see where the groceries are behind the curve on what their customers (me) really want. I would say however that if the craft industry leans towards draft only (assuming that's the case) then they can hardly grouse about megabrewers keeping them off shelves since they wouldn't be on the shelves anyway!

Anyway, I'm just a bewildered consumer who likes good beer. The distribution system seems rather intransparent to an outsider. The strange thing though, is that I work in a city of 600,000 in Germany and the beer choice in Kentuckiana is far and away (and by this I mean light years) better than what we have here. The restaurants here are dominated by the truly shiteous Binding/Henninger brands which are worse than Coors. And you can't find a Belgian beer in this town to save your life. It's hard to explain to people you live in Germany and this part of it is beer Hell.

Anyhoo, see y'all at Bank St this Summer for sure.
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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by Shawn Vest » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:30 pm

On the notion of local beer being sold at major retail stores -

Upland Brewing is currently available at Walmart (the first Indiana brewer to manage this, i believe)

Many major retail stores have certain requirements that must be met in order to carry said products on their shelves (this is true of many products including beer). Many of these requirements relate directly to being able to maintain a certain supply of inventory for said retailer. For example, Kroger may not carry a product if the producer can not supply "X" amount of cases each month in order to supply all of their locations.

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Re: Another Faux Craft Beer from MillerCoors

by Doug W » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:54 pm

The Krogers I hit - Springhurst and Westport Road- both carry BBC brands and I'm a better person for it.

On the deceptive or omitted labeling question - doesn't BBC brew the Sheltowee line for Liquor Barn? I can't remember if that is evident on the labeling or not. I do remember that I like the Hop-a-lot IPA though...

Cheers,

Doug
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