Friday, December 14, 2012

Big Oil? Big Beer

Here's an article about how increasingly large beverage conglomerates are increasingly pressuring microbreweries. Though serious beer snobs will already know this, the golden age of American microbreweries was ushered in with a change in the law. But this is not enough to guarantee their continues survival. I just recently learned (direct from the founder of Stone Brewing at the craft beer stadium debate) that the giant breweries have exclusivity contracts with bars and other venues, like stadiums. That's why even here in San Diego it's harder than you would think to find bars and restaurants serving your favorite brews. Recently, century+-old breweries in Germany have been getting gobbled up by big companies. Did you read that? Beer in Germany is being damaged by this process. If that doesn't scare you I don't know what will! In most industries, this would be considered anticompetitive. That said, in many industries there are de facto arrangements between product-makers and distributors if the two businesses are separate. Case in point, big entertainment companies and radio stations. And that must be why music radio stations are the cutting edge of art for the serious music connoisseur, producing a high-quality product for a diverse range of discriminating tastes. Just like Anheuser-Busch.

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