Did you ever hear about Molson Coors? The Canadian brewer, who focuses is on Northern America. They just merged with SABMiller, another beergiant that owns the Dutch beerbrand Grolsch. This conglomerate is called MillerCoors and it competes mainly with Inbev-Anheuser Bush, that other merger giant. Two enormous companies, battling each other over a shrinking beer market.
These companies own dozens of brands. Every target-group, every market and every type of beer is in their portfolio. They reach every inch of the market. Or do they? There is a group that is out of their reach. That’s you and me. Beer lovers who don’t care about commercials for beer on TV. People who want the real stuff. People who drink beer from breweries that only employ six people. Beer from kitchens, garages and sheds. Real beer. Craft beer, as the Americans call it.
We pay two euro’s for a bottle of real good beer. A bottle of Grolsch costs 50 cents. In your face and give the shareholders all the best. And your tasting panels as well. We will drink beer brewed by the Texelse brouwerij, by Brewdog, by Sigtuna Brygghus and by Six Pints.
Talking about Six Pints: that’s a nice new brewery in Toronto, Canada. They’ve got big plans for brewing exciting beers. Beers hardly available in Canada now, since all you can get there is beer made by the big breweries. But now a number of small breweries is changing that and Six Pints is the latest among them.
No little boy’s dream
Nice story, you think? There’s a catch. It’s Molson Soors that started Six Pints. That same beer brand eater that’s already brewing about half of all the beers in the world, is starting it’s very own craft beer brand. Not a little boy’s dream becoming reality. Just shareholders having a laugh about the profit margins on a two euro’s bottle of beer.
And it’s not just Six Pints. Already Molson Coors has bought Creemore Springs Brewing Company and the Granville Island Brewing Company. But now there are no more craft breweries to buy, so they just start their own. At least they know howe to take the initiative.
Worst of all is that it’s not even one big joke. It’s actually a proper craft brewery. They intent to brew some nice beers. They want to contribute to a true and vivid beer culture. Exactly the way you like it. Funny names, nice labels and interesting beers. You know what I’m talking about.
I’m really not sure what to think of this. From an objective point of view it’s always good to have more small breweries in existence. But I can’t help feeling a bit screwed. Imagine Brouwerij De Molen in Bodegraven being started by nearby Heineken. Imagine that all the misspelled words on their label are in fact part of a marketing plan. It would give their beer a bit of a different taste.
There is something else that’s funny about Molson Coors. It’s the main sponsor of the beerbloggers festival we’ve attended. And they did a very good job doing that. They were very welcoming and serious. They had a very good understanding of the added value bloggers can have to their marketing. Even when they can’t have any direct influence on the content of our blogs. Contributing to the overall quality of the beerblogs is in a breweries interest and Molson Coors understands that very well. Just as they realize that most profits can be made by small, authentic breweries. In that sense, they know how to react to changing circumstances.
You know what I think? I think this shows that the craft beer market is growing up. Especially in the Anglo-Saxon parts of the world. Simple truths, such as ‘small is good’ and ‘big is bad’ don’t exist anymore. This segment of the beer market is the only one that’s growing and obviously that is something to be exited about. And there’s more good news: that segment is big enough to invest in.
Too bad beerlovers. Our kind of beer is serious business now. The age of innocence is behind us 😉