Sell-outs Or Smart Thinkers?
Beavertown Brewery are one of my favourite breweries around, they are the brewery behind what is still my favourite beer of all time - Tropigamma. So when the news broke today confirming what had long been rumoured - that Heineken were buying a minority stake in Beavertown, I was understandably, initially, slightly worried.
I've long had this notion driven in to me; partly due to the craft beer culture as a whole, and partly due to marketing from BrewDog and general craft beer culture, that all big brewing companies are evil, and any craft brewery that gives up any of its stake to them are total sell-outs. But are they really? Lets look at this realistically before we all jump to conclusions and stop drinking Beavertown. Before I get in to some of the facts and my own thoughts about it, check out the press release from Beavertown here. They also have links to a document with just the facts, and a Q & A with Logan Plant - founder of Beavertown.
“The decision to align ourselves with Heineken was all about their expertise, resource, route to market and most importantly the dynamic of the deal. They want us to continue doing exactly what we do now, and they will be there as a support network if needed.
Lets take a look at some of the facts of the deal. I'm not going to go through everything, just what I think is most important.
It’s a minority deal: Heineken are not going to own Beavertown. They are going to be a minority shareholder. Beavertown's destiny will still be their own to shape.
Logan Plant will remain founder & CEO: He's led Beavertown on this journey until now, and he'll continue leading them with his vision for the company.
Beaverworld will create up to 150 new jobs: What's not positive about jobs being created? And further to Beaverworld, they hope this deal will allow them to open up bars across the UK, which will in turn create more jobs.
There will be no recipe changes: For me, this is key. The beer has always been the key factor when it came to Beavertown for me, and as long as the beer doesn't change, then neither will my opinions of the brewery.
As for my own thoughts on this - sure, I love craft beer and everything that it stands for. But I am not going to lose any immediate sleep over this. I've read the press release, and I've read the facts - so unless Beavertown are straight up lying to us, then things sound like they are only going to get better.
Certainly in my experience there's plenty breweries out there who are either owned or partly owned by large companies and haven't compromised on quality; Ballast Point still make fantastic beer, Camden Town? I enjoy their beer, and even Goose Island to a point still make pretty good beer.
I'm not going to go on and on and make out like I'm some kind of financial expert, or make out like I know what kind of impact this might have on other breweries - I'm just saying things like I see them.
This news is understandably going to upset some people, and I have no doubt they will lose their fare share of customers, and they might have even broken some links with other breweries with this move. For me however, as long as the beer remains great - then I'll keep drinking it.
And who knows, I might even take a trip to Beaverworld one day 🍻