Beavertown and Beaverworld
Beavertown and Beaverworld
Let’s all dispense with the 450,000hl, laser shooting pink elephant in the room, shall we? Yes, Beavertown have sold a minority share to Heineken. Do you really give a shit?
I wondered whether or not I should bother writing about this but after hearing so many ridiculous comments I felt I needed to address a few things.
It has been rumoured for a good few weeks now that Beavertown were heading for a sell-out; it has happened. A minority share (they have yet to divulge exactly how many shares have been sold, could be as low as 10% or it could, as many fear, be as high as 49.9%) has been sold to Heineken with the absolute promise that Beavertown with Logan Plant at the helm will remain in firm control.
It all began with Lagunitas.
In 2015 Lagunitas sold 50% of their business to Heineken in what was seen as a major shock to the craft beer community, then shortly after, sold the remaining 50% leaving Heineken the sole owner; founder Tom Magee remains CEO of the company. For many, they became that guy who was once your chum at work but is now your boss; you still like them, but you don’t want to be seen hanging out with them. The usual suspects threw them under the bus and shunned them entirely, but has their beer changed? Has the quality dropped since the buy out? I suppose, depending on whom you speak with you’ll get a different answer but from my perspective, has it fuck.
Before I go any further, let’s address an issue here - industry bullying! There are a some in the craft brewing world who are quick to chastise for personal gain and would rather see a brewery burn to the ground than gain investment from groups like Heineken. Throw them aside for a minute and consider this, would the general craft beer drinker, without the propaganda, really be too bothered? Those big names love this kind of news, their marketing teams are instantly injected with town crier-like charisma shouting amped up rhetoric and stripping their shelves of any brewery who dare to sell some shares to the likes of Heineken. They have such an influence on the craft beer scene that other aspiring craft breweries can’t do right (not unless they remain like some cave-dwelling trolls, releasing small batch hazy murk monsters only to be consumed by the most hardcore of craft beer drinker and barely breaking even) and if you don’t you’re ridiculed for their own benefit. But it is clear, that without a decent cash injection it is very difficult, if not impossible to brew great craft beer and grow your business substantially through profit margin alone. Most, if not all other craft breweries in the UK outside of Brewdog (who want to grow) have had to make money the old -fashioned way, whether that be bank loans, private equity, investment firms, you name it. But even then, this is not easy and not a guaranteed option.
This brings me to my next and final point. Whisky…
If I and CASC are to turn our backs on breweries like Beavertown, Camden and Lagunitas for selling to Heineken then I better start throwing out just about every Scotch whisky we have on the CASC gantry. Only a handful of Scottish distilleries are family owned, most are now owned by giants of industry such as Diageo, Bacardi, Beam Suntory, Brown-Foreman and the list goes on. Will I be doing that? Ha!
For a company who have done so much for the craft beer scene in the UK (and internationally for that matter) to be shamed and turned on for securing their company’s future, the future of its employees and for guaranteeing the future growth of the economy, all based on the assumption their beer will now be pish (because of Heineken), is absolute crap and I or CASC will not be a part of it.
Will we be dumping Beavertown…? Will we fuck!