This blog may make it seem like I hate Macro beer companies, I don’t actually hate them…
I’ve made a few posts recently that make it seem like I hate all Big Beer Companies and their brands. While I don’t agree with their business practices (see here for a great article explaining what I mean exactly), you have to respect the consistency in their level of quality. Bud makes the exact same beer over and over again, and that is extremely difficult. If you open a can of Bud in Sweden, Brazil, Japan or the US it will taste the same. That takes a serious commitment to rigorous brewing procedures and manufacturing standards. Don’t, for a moment, underestimate how hard that is to accomplish.
A few more things we beer lovers should realize is that Big Beer introduced freshness dates (that’s pretty nice). They also helped innovate longer shelf-life with iced rail cars and pasteurization. They, too, also used to be small (even if it was 100+ years ago, there was a very first bbl ever brewed), and it was probably the first beer you ever had.
My first beers (like most) were Buds stolen from the garage fridge and shared with neighborhood friends. Big beer brands were really the only option available to my father (a baby boomer) while he was growing up. Aside from the random import brew, Macro-brews are what remained in the fridge while I was a teenager. So that’s what I drank. Like religious beliefs and political views, most people grow up to become the same beer drinkers as their parents. In college, I drank the cheapest brands offered by the Macro-breweries. It was easy to get and inexpensive, but looking back, so were ramen noodles. The craft beer movement was still in its very early stages when I entered college. Not many people knew it was an option. How could they? The only advertisements people ever saw were for Macro Light Lagers.
However, today there are much more easily available, delicious, and unique beers in the market. I see craft beer like going to your favorite local eatery, or a state/regional chain restaurant. It’s great to support them, you have a connection with them, and the food is usually of much higher quality. I get more from the experience and you don’t feel like a cog. On the other hand, fast-food is cheap and (generally) consistent wherever you happen to be (so is big beer). My question is who wants to eat McDonalds every night though? If you must, a good rule of thumb is when it’s the only option on the freeway exit.
For the foreseeable future, we will have Walmart, McDonalds, and of course, Big Beer. This is the world we live in. So if you’re a Bud fan, don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere (I promise). Yes, the beer world is changing and change is scary, but you will be able to order your ice-cold light lagers at nearly any bar you visit for a long time. If you’re a craft fan (gold star) you are in luck because the industry is growing rapidly. Craft fans can expect many cool, innovative, and tasty new brews will be created and available to enjoy for many years.