There’s been plenty of good reading this week from intelligence on the latest AB-InBev manoeuvring to memories of 1970s Sheffield via a Sober Island.
First, the news headlines: AB-InBev have taken over Spanish brewery Cervezas La Virgen, as reported by Joan Villar-i-Martí at Birraire:
A rather peculiar move, in my opinion, if we compare it to the Belgian brewing giant’s recent operations, especially in Europe… La Virgen was born as a product designed for the Madrid market, and until a year ago it was basically focused on it. As a company, it has never quite been in the circles of the national craft movement, appearing in few festivals and without a significant presence in specialised bars. On the contrary, it has successfully penetrated the market with a craft-labelled product that delivers a similar experience to the ‘usual’ beers.
For Mel magazine Angela Chapin gives an account of the dispute over the name and location of Sober Island brewery, which is not currently brewing on Sober Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, as the name might suggest:
One of the locals most excited about her plan was [Rebecca Atkinson’s] friend Trevor Munroe. He and his wife run an oyster farm on Sober Island, and the 43-year-old thought the brewery would be great for the community. Not to mention, it was to be a mutually beneficial relationship: Munroe wanted to help Atkinson find land; she wanted to use his oysters in her beer. Better yet, they planned to team up to attract tourists to the island with tours that would end with cold beer and fresh oysters… But the relationship began to sour when Atkinson delayed the construction of the brewery and started brewing beer at her mom’s place instead.
The story highlights all kinds of issues around provenance, marketing, and the meaning of local – is Atkinson exploiting the island’s quirky name or is she sincere in her stated intent to eventually move production there?