Brewing your competitor’s beer

Acquired by Carlsberg Heineken
Family owned breweries keep getting bought up by the beermeister conglomerates. It’s very easy to illustrate why this is a bad thing, in terms we can all savor at the tip of our tongues, to lament as they slip from us.

Say you’re a tomato farmer who’s perfected the tasteless red orb. It looks nice, held up to the light it has no imperfections, it has a shelf life of uranium (not by coincidence), with your advertising budget you’ve dubbed it the King of whatever, and your huge outfit is selling gangbusters.

Say there linger still some small-timers growing old-tyme tomatoes that still taste of whatever inspired people to eat tomatoes in the first place. In comparison they make your tasteless thingies look bad. No one’s buying your dismissive tomayto – tomahto rebuke, your toMAHtoes taste like buffalo piss, excuse me, like stalks of tasteless ruffage.

It’s not your fault, the growing market, the demands of mass distribution, the lower expectations of middle of the road taste buds have dictated less dramatic flavors and aromas. Your product is what the doctor ordered, which explains hospital food.

But upstarts and throwbacks reminding your customers of the savors of yore is the last thing your tomato and his deservedly fragile self-esteme can handle. Buy those damn farmers out and serve up their moldy oldies like the inconsistent, pungent manure patch kids they are. Tweak ’em to make sure they only ever appeal to the fringe. Like buttermilk and salted meat, you’ll see the last of ’em.

If you’re a beer executive, and you’ve got a cheap beer. It’s inexpensive to make, easy to sell and yields the profit margins that made you a powerhouse in the first place. Say you’ve finally acquired that damn boutique beer but that it is less profitable. Which would you rather be selling to your customers? What if the less lucrative beer threatened to cannibalize the sales of the other? What are you going to do about that?

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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