Rumors continue to circulate about a true merger of giant brewers Anheuser-Busch and InBev. I've heard them for a while, but the pace is accelerating, and today an industry analyst said that the SABMiller purchase of Grolsch would give such a merger more urgency.
Madness. Take a look at Stan's exegesis of Melisa "Girl's Guide to Beer" Cole's post about the "tumbling" pub beer sales in the UK. It's not beer sales that are down, it's lowest common denominator beer sales that are down. Specialty beers are up 7.5%, and it looks like they'll be up in double digits again this year in the U.S., too. The big guys are so busy merging and consolidating and making the market safe for their one kind of beer, that they apparently haven't noticed that the thing people seem to want less and less of is ... one kind of beer.
Anyone know where these guys can buy a clue? A-B is making some good beers, but it sure looks like they're afraid to go all-in on them. Miller sees that variety means good business, but then executes with Chill, essentially High Life with lime flavoring, which completely misses the point. And Coors has Blue Moon zooming, and seems to have no idea how to handle it, they're scared to death that if they come right out and publicly admit it's theirs, people will stop drinking it.
The hell of it is, Coors may well be right. No one really knows for certain why craft beers are doing so well, and the scary thought is that it may have nothing to do with how they taste. I see it a lot. People are buying this stuff, they have no idea what it is, or what it tastes like, but it's different and it looks different, and it costs more, so...they drink it. Kinda mindless. Kinda scary.