Big brewers love their beer too

We recently had an interesting conversation with a former executive level employee of a one of the big booze companies. He likes decent beer himself and was outraged by this.

But he also said that, in his time travelling the world for IndustroBooze, he met a lot of brewers of what most of us would consider crappy beers, and found that, to a man, they loved the beer they produced.

He said that the makers of one of the big bland American lagers drank it themselves and were genuinely convinced of its quality. They couldn’t understand why it was so reviled. After all, making it taste the way it did, consistently, was hard work for them — not just a matter of pressing a button.

Perhaps most revealingly, he described the experience of working for a big international drinks company as like being “brainwashed”. The company’s own products are wheeled out at parties; dished out as Christmas bonuses; and staff are encouraged to drink them when they’re out and about and push them to friends.

Just like mothers who think their own children are the most wonderful in the world, regardless of any evidence to the contrary, the men who slave over industrial size operations to make the bland beers most beer geeks shun think their babies are beautiful too.


PS sorry about reusing this image so soon, but we gather Stella Artois are keen to increase their profile in the world of beer blogging. Anything we can do to help!

5 replies on “Big brewers love their beer too”

I think it goes a little bit beyond that. Those brewers are making their beer to style. Those shitty lagers taste and look exactly the way they’re supposed to-for a Standard American Lager, which as it turns out, is also very difficult to make.

It’s very strange, but I actually began to appreciate the big bland American lagers more after I learned how difficult it is to make, and how it’s actually made to style. I don’t like the beer, understand, I just appreciate the skill it takes to make it on such a large scale so consistently.

But I’m not disagreeing with your point, either.

It is always interesting sitting down with Brewers from big international brand breweries. When I judge with them I learn lots, and occasionally I get to teach them a thing or two about real ale. At one comp we sat down after judging had finished and did a sparkler / non sparkler comparison.
You get some good stories, like when a certain beer switched from being imported to being brewed under license. To start with the beer was aged in the bottle to give it some of the familiar oxidation and light strike that the consumers were used to, in focus groups the fresh product was identified as not being up to scratch!

I heard, third hand, a comment some years ago from the brewer at Outlaw/Roosters complimenting Budweiser as a good neutral base that could be used to showcase varietal hops!

Of course we’re in oinky flutter territory there.

You’re right. Go on a corporate brewery trip and it can be Moonie-style stuff, especially if the Yanks have got their hands on the levers of power. However, in my experience the Eastern Europeans remain gratifyingly homespun — was in Lithuania and the guy out there took us to a brewpub that was nothing to do with his brewery, he just wanted us to experience local beer. Try that with S.Mller. in Czecho. It’s almost as if love of country/community/family/beer has been replaced byb love of company.

Hi DM, welcome. What you’ve said is probably true – which is why I don’t like this focus on styles. I mean, they’re all well and good for homebrewing competitions, but I don’t buy this idea that we, the public, should rate beer on how true it is to style…

Kieran – that’s a very cool story!

On that note, incidentally, interesting that Budweiser have started their promised marketing onslaught on the UK, going on about how their use of brown bottles helps protect the beer. Everyone’s getting into the perceived quality game.

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