November 9, 2017 – In a clever, sassy move the Brewers Association, a trade group for small and independent brewers, has set a goal to raise $213 billion, repeat Billion with a B, to buy AB-InBev, the Belgian parent of Anheuser-Busch and the biggest beer company in the world. You are invited to join in.
The highly entertaining campaign was launched mid-October with a very amusing video featuring a spokesman named Andy marching through a small brewery to the Civil War tune “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” collecting a following of feisty, cheering, independent brewers along the way www.takecraftback.com.
As of writing, through crowdfunding pledges, Take Craft Back has raised $3,346,790 which is slightly more than 0.001408507 percent of A-B InBev’s market value of $213,000,000,000. Accuracy is important here when we’re negotiating big financial deals and 0.001408507 percent was based on raising just $3 million but they are well past that as we can see.
Of course anyone with just a smidgen of business acumen knows that they only need to raise just over half of $213,000,000,000 to get control of the company, but then there would be a takeover battle with other stockholders requiring expensive legal advice and this is all getting way too complicated and no fun at all.
So what’s really behind this clever, aggressive attack on big beer? The brewing giants, especially A-B InBev, watched independent craft beers cut into their market share and sprang into action buying up the more successful brands. With financial backing and distribution muscle, these brands grew exponentially. Armed with a portfolio of “craft” beers, distributors and their clients, the retailers, were encouraged shall we say, to concentrate on the brands offered by Anheuser-Busch which, whether we like to admit or not, is still the biggest selling brand in America.
Thus public confusion ensued. Research showed that the consumer had a problem discerning a true craft beer from a crafty, giant ownership beer. To qualify as a craft or independently owned beer, the ownership by another entity such as Anheuser-Busch or Coors, etc. had to be 25 percent or less “owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer,” according to the Craft Brewers Association. This has been the defining rule for the past …well, for a very long time.
The research showed that consumers valued the ideas of independence and transparency, both rather lacking by brands owned by the big guys who like to pretend the formerly craft beers are still craft beers. So back in July the Brewers Association introduced a seal that small breweries could use to indicate that they were indeed independent. Response was immediate and excellent. AB InBev also responded that such a seal had naught to do with quality.
So we are back to where we started. The Brewers Association doesn’t really expect to raise $213 billion (with a B) dollars but then, you never know. They are not actually taking dollars, just a pledge that when they reach their goal, the pledger will come through with a credit card. But the campaign could go anywhere. With about 5.000 independent brewers and umpteen enthusiasts, who knows what might happen. Usually, trying to get everyone on board in an industry group is like herding cats but these cats are passionate about their independence, as are their supporters, and the call to save the craft brewing industry from the dark forces of Big Brewing.
Do take a look at the web site and click on the video at www.takecraftback.com and enjoy the joke. It will have you laughing and maybe even thinking next time you buy a beer. Mission accomplished.