Skip to main content

Fan Fiction

Groupo Modelo write-offs cost AbInBev $6 billion this year.
It lost another $1 billion anyway, even with the Word Cup.
This is a tinfoil hat observation, but one that's fun to make. Like all kooky theories, it begins with demonstrable facts and descends into the gap between madness and unlikelihood. 
Craft beer now has 8 percent of the market and think they can make it to 20 over the next decade. Budweiser's parent company, even bolstered by the World Cup, reported losses of more than $1 billion already this year even though revenue increased. Much of that has to do with them purchasing companies that don't run at the famous AbInBev margins, but, to be fair, the revenue boost was because of Brazil.
There won't be a World Cup next year, but there also is no craft beer revolution in South America. Or in Africa. Or Russia. There also is no NFL advertising expense in those countries.
Last week, Budweiser made an uncharacteristically frank indictment of the NFL. It was a barely-veiled threat saying it wasn't happy with the NFL's domestic abuse problem.
These all are facts, now we can get to the kookiness. It begins with a question:
Since when does Budweiser give a shit about women?

The answer, of course, can be found in their objectifying ads over the last 60 years. What Budweiser probably does care about is revenues. They're not plummeting yet, but they are slipping. There's no world where they dump the NFL, but they are positioned to cut ad expenses and look good while doing it. There are emerging markets all over the world that are cheaper and a better source of revenue than the flagging American market. The NFL contract is an expense they would love to cut and, with this announcement, Budweiser probably reduced their ad bill for the 2015 season significantly.
I love watching corporations bully one another. While craft beer is making better connections with its local markets, Big Beer is counting American pennies it would be happier to spend elsewhere anyway. I don't know if it's fair to say it ceded the remaining 12 percent craft beer thinks it can capture, but the prospect of Bud reducing the amount it spends on the drinkiest game in the country only can help craft beer.

Popular posts from this blog

Your browser does not support the audio element. Download this Podcast

What is in a name?

In this week's Beer with Strangers podcast, Doug Griffith of Xtreme Brewing in Laurel and I discussed the recurring news story that craft beer is running out of names. Among the concerns is that it makes it harder for new brewers to break in and it prevents smaller brewers from having big breakout beers. Craft beers allegedly have kooky names because they are the product of one brewery making many, many beers.
It makes sense, at some level, to have weird names for beers. Brewers like to be distinctive, to set themselves apart. And people who like craft beer get a kick out of kooky names.  Raging Bitch made national news when there was a fight over whether it was an obscene name. Beyond that, as shelves get more crowded with bottles and cans, and as breweries continue to try and push the envelope with tastes and flavors, brewers want a name that is as distinctive as their beers. Plus, in absence of any other knowledge or review, lots of beer drinkers simply judge the beer book by …

Into the past

I went to college as a 30-year-old and, as I made for the graduation finish line, my first marriage came apart. If I ever write that story it will read like the lamest version of the poor man's Fear and Loathing. Come to think of it, Fear and Loathing in Delmar would be an awesome title. Doing primary source, original research was a graduation requirement, so I combined my appreciation for a good tavern with the fact that I had to write about something. While researching taverns in colonial Maryland I discovered that there was such a place a Castle Haven. More than a decade later, that paper became the first chapter in my first book, and the second installment in my blog about writing the book. This is the story of our attempt to breach Castle Haven in search of photos.