After like, 6 months of not doing this, I’ve decided to bring back the worst news wrap in craft beer. Why? Because I have actual work to do and I don’t really want to do it.
Let’s get some news.
Brisbane and Perth and I think Adelaide? Or was that the month before? Pirate Life basically won everything. Little Creatures won best beer at the one in Brisbane and people were like “see! SEE! LITTLE CREATURES AND OWNERSHIP AIN’T THE DEVIL” and others were like “oh you call THAT craft? Not even!”. That’s literally as far as the level of discourse in the beer world ever really gets.
Anyway, medals and trophies all round. Congrats to those who snared something.
Downunder buyout rumours
Last week a medium size Sydney brewery was rumoured to have been sold to Asahi. Given they addressed the rumour with an instagram pic, I have no issue saying that it was 4 Pines and we had heard from some decent sources that it was all go. They have said publicly that it isn’t.
Then the Rocks brewery sent an email around yesterday denying they had been bought as well. Which was super weird given as far as I was aware, no one said they had been. Also it was literally the first communications I’ve had from them in my life. Like someone wandering off the street and being like “hey by the way, I wasn’t involved in any crimes today”.
Well ok, I didn’t think you were… but now…well…. now I’m a little suspicious.
Also they really played up the “we are descended from convicts” aspect of their brewery. Which doesn’t really help paint you as an honest bunch? I don’t know what their convict forefathers did, but I can safely say it involved an official crime of some sort and now probably isn’t the right time to bring that up.
I don’t understand these bloody Australians. Like, people I know that have been in gaol aren’t really happy about the situation. They certainly don’t use it to market themselves to the public. In fact, ask them about and it’s generally “I really don’t want to fucking talk about being in gaol, because it sucked”.
“Don’t worry mate”, I’ll say, “your grandkids can build a brewery in Australia and the public will lap up your criminal history. You made the right choice”.
Oh and Asahi have also been rumoured to be buying a Kiwi brewery. No one in NZ has denied anything.
West Coast #1
There was a West Coast IPA Challenge in NZ. It’s an annual event at the Malthouse (and now Fork and Brewer) in Wellington. A bunch of breweries submit West Coast style IPAs, they get judged and then people drink them.
Moa won. I don’t know if anyone reacted to that or not but I really would like to go to the West Coast IPA Challenge in NZ. I suspect it’s a big part of why Kiwi’s understand what a West Coast IPA is, and they don’t go round labelling anything with a few hops in it as “West Coast” Well… most Kiwi’s, isn’t that right GARAGE PROJECT! (I’ll get to them in a second. Stay with me.)
West Coast #2
Basically the entire top-level corporate structure is no longer at Ballast Point in the wake of the billion dollar Constellation takeover. I can only assume that they’ll get a new corporate structure entirely made from fruit extract hahaha. Anyway, it leaves everyone grasping for reasons, and assuming they know why. Either way, it shows there have been some serious missteps made somewhere. I don’t know who from, but holy hell you would expect billion dollar deals to involve a little more security than this.
Oh shit, business is just a bunch of tall guys who don’t know what the fuck they are doing with all this money? Who knew!
West Coast #3
Right now a lot of people are unhappy that the Lost Abby Duck Duck Gooze online sale was a giant disaster. No one in Australia cares though. If you want to see the most riled up segment in beer having a collective meltdown, go check out the Lost Abby social media pages.
North East/New England/Vermont IPAs are causing a real kerfuffle lately. Just yesterday, one Kiwi brewer took to Facebook to tell everyone they were wrong and it’s not a style. Garage Project entered one in the above West Coast challenge and had some public back and forth with a few stalwarts of the Wellington scene about the beer, style and whether or not it counts as West Coast or whatever (It doesn’t btw. There, I said it).
People, for some reason, get really pants twisty about these beers and I have no fucking idea why.
To bring you up to speed, basically there is (or isn’t) a style of IPA that has been popularised in the North East of America that involves low flocculating yeast, oats, maybe flour, and a shitload of late hops. The idea being that the yeast/proteins left in suspension trap all of the hop flavours and you get a juicy, creamy IPA with not much bitterness. Honestly, sounds pretty neat.
But it is seriously dividing people all over the place. Go search it online and you’ll find people getting super upset by this whole thing. Admittedly, some of them look like garbage-water so I can see why that upsets some people. Personally I think it’s kind of interesting that we are seeing a new style unfold right in front of our eyes.
I can see both sides though. That is my official stance. Put it on a tshirt.
Thunder Road and Stone & Wood
The “Pacific Ale” case came to a head. Stone and Wood lost and Thunder Road can keep using the name “Pacific Ale”. The S&W version is delicious when fresh. I don’t think I’ve tried the Thunder Road version though.
What we learned along the way, was that court decisions are super boring.
Moa investors, unhappy about an American accented lady, are accusing them of misogyny. They are really gonna flip when they see the investment prospectus…
AB-InBev/SABMiller takeover is still going ahead, we think. There was a stall because of Brexit but it looks to be charging forward. I just want this to all be done so I don’t have to twist my mouth through “AB-InBev/SABMiller” any more. MegaBrew is far easier to say and it sounds kinda comic-booky, which is neat.
Again, kinda hilarious that a bunch of tall men in suits spent a lot of time convincing the public that voting to leave the EU would be good for other tall men in suits. But in reality, the other tall men in suits got fucked over and it jeopordised a deal worth over a hunder billion dollars that spans multiple countries. Again, tall men in suits with money; don’t really know what the fuck they are doing.
Business. Literally the worst thing.