Last week, we brought you a story of Jake Leinenkugel explaining how selling the Leinenkugel Brewing Co. was the right thing to do, pointing to a new brewhouse, improved quality and massive distribution. Now, another beloved craft brewer is selling to a larger brewer, and this time, it’s global.
[Char O’Hara, a Kansas City, Mo., resident] is a little leery about Duvel taking over [the] brand. “These people came from the outside, and took something that’s native to us, and it’s kind of a bummer,” she says. “It makes the future uncertain.”
But John McDonald, Boulevard Brewing’s founder, sees things differently. “I think a lot of people were kind of shocked at the news, and I kind of knew that would happen.”
Craft brewers often tout the home-grown flavor of their beers. The “small, local” isn’t necessarily a mantra of circumstance, many craft brewers tout it as an industry battle cry. In fact, one of the hottest debates this year revolved around the question “What is craft beer?” after the Brewers Association published an op-ed entitled “Craft vs. Crafty,” and it drew a craft dividing line in the beer sand.
Yet the fact remains: Craft brewers have never before seen this size of popularity and exposure. In the end, while craft brewing is a passion among brewers, it’s also a business. Businesses are bought and sold every day. So we put the question to you, our craft brewing audience: How do you feel about selling to a larger brewer?