Jester King Founder Speaks Out on Beavertown/ Heineken Deal
Jester King Brewery Founder Jeffrey Stuffings took to his brewery’s blog to address the latest acquisition of a craft brewer by Big Beer, this time Dutch brewer Heineken taking a stake in London-based brewer Beavertown.
“We choose to work with brewers who support the values and ideals we hold dear — namely independence, local ownership, producing a craft or artisan product, staying small, and having above-board, upstanding business practices. Heineken is an international conglomerate, and they’re the second largest brewer in the world. The commoditization of beer is their business. We don’t think it’s unfair to assume that they view small, independent breweries as pests, which if they can’t eliminate, they can either subsume through purchase or at least suppress to manageable levels. They’re a major contributor toward the “illusion of choice” that plagues beer today.”
Read Stuffing’s entire post on the Jester King blog, here.
Stuffings was hesitant to address the Beavertown/Heineken deal citing Jester King’s previous position statement after the purchase of North Carolina brewery, Wicked Weed by Anheuser-Busch InBev. However, Jester King’s recent collaborations with Beavertown and inquiries from others spurred Stuffings — rightly so — to speak up. The attack on independent brewers is not just an issue domestically, it is a global battle, one that craft brewers will lose if brewers and beer lover alike don’t speak out.
We choose to work with brewers who support the values and ideals we hold dear — namely independence.
We all have a part in calling out the high jacking of Craft by Big Beer. As has been customary in these deals, rationalizations on both the brewer and beer lover-side erode awareness of the impact of consolidation. Should instances of another talented craft brewer being swallowed up by a giant and the prevarication that “nothing will change” be accepted without consideration to its impact? Have not some beer lovers’ values already been undermined to a point that they justify waving the white flag of “all that matters is taste.”
Thankfully, Jester King’s position has not wavered and Stuffings has the courage to speak up. It was easy to get up in arms when Elysian was bought, or Breckenridge, or Wicked Weed. Now beer fans must fight the urge to be complacent. The impact of these deals has a direct effect on the variety and choices of beers we enjoy in the future. As beer lovers, we need to think about beer, not as a CPG (Consumer Packaged Good), but as a beverage that is representative of the values for which we want to live.