It didn’t take long for The Beer Necessities, a handsome new website underwritten by Anheuser-Busch’s division The High End, to upset the hops cart. Via a May 3 Facebook post, Beachwood Brewing, a company headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., admitted that they should have done better research before agreeing to be interviewed by a writer for the site, which was not yet live at the time.
Nevertheless, the folks at Beachwood were not happy once the article was published and they realized that it had a direct lineage to Anheuser-Busch. They requested the article be removed and at press time, it has been. From the Facebook post:
We feel there’s no coincidence that The Beer Necessities chose to feature Beachwood as a successful brewpub just as AB-InBev launches full force into opening its own brewpubs in new markets. Some of you may write this off as conspiracy theory talk, but we are entering a whole new battle for the hearts and minds of the consumer. When The High End now has media arms that are actively supporting us in order to make the correlation to consumers that we’re all the same, they are most certainly trying to move us into a “post-craft” era. However, we reject this completely. In our opinion, AB-InBev has not embraced “craft” brands and quality beer because they share the values of independence and creativity that have fueled the craft beer revolution; they do so because it furthers their only real interest—the endless pursuit of profits.
The incident has sparked a lot of discussion across the craft beer world. Comments to articles like this one, on TheFullPint.com, further remind just how blended the lines have become:
Tara Nurin: I adore and respect Beachwood but it should be said that the website is very clear about its ownership. The writer may not have felt it necessary to mention it but anyone can easily find that info on the site. I realize it wasn’t live at the time but now a simple click on the site will tell you. In full disclosure, my first story appears on the site today.
In an introductory letter, The Beer Necessities editor in chief Ethan Fixell explains that he too had his doubts about the fact that a publication about all beers was owned by the purveyor of some. But he writes that those fears were quickly allayed and that he is committed to building something that is “bigger than all of us.”