Reason #2- Drink American

“I drink American” says the beer-bellied redneck, while he sits in his braided lawn chair next to his “American” auto that was made in Mexico (don’t get me started on that) up on cinderblocks, drinking swill out of a red and white can.  “I’m proud of this country, and I’m going to drink an American beer.  You can’t get any more red, white, and blue than an ice-cold can of (enter shitty brand here)!”

That’s a nice little piece of Americana for you right there.  Warms the heart, doesn’t it?  I mean, what’s more patriotic than a cooler full of Bud and/or Bud Light, and wheeling in a beautiful, shiny keg of Coors Light?  What’s more true-blue USA than a case of Miller Lite to continuously fill your beer dispensing helmet?  Well, let me open a little door and show you what’s better…

BEER THAT IS ACTUALLY AMERICAN!  If that is your main argument for drinking whatever spills through your liver on a regular basis then you need to be better informed of your product.  Who doesn’t want to be a better informed consumer?  People research cars before they buy them, they try out cell phones and laptops before deciding on a keeper, etc, etc.  Well, if the research needs to be spoon fed through as many different forums as possible to help turn one more person then open wide…

All of this information can be found in multiple areas throughout the internet, a few of which include:

http://www.drinkamerican.us/faq/59-who-owns-what-beers.html

http://beerwarsmovie.com/2009/12/10/who-owns-what-part-ii/#more-934

Also, if you go to the major AB/MC websites and do a little nosing around you can eventually find all the info, as well.  Because the information is so readily available, I’m just going to highlight a few silver bullet points, if you will.

Might as well start at the top, so let’s look at AB-InBev.  AB-InBev refers to themselves as “the leading global brewer.”  Due to the merger that brought Anheuser-Busch to the InBev company, they now produce 250 beer brands world-wide.  As you can gleam from the name, the entire AB family is now owned and distributed by the Belgian/Brazilian parent company, and that includes all the Buds, all the Michelob, all the Busch, and yes, even the beer-pong staple of Natty Light.  Where things get a little sneaky are once we step away from the major labels, and look at what other beers have been bought out along the way to the juggernaut that is AB-InBev.

A couple that hit close to home for me were Rolling Rock and Boddington’s.  High school and early college years found my fridge frequented with the lovely green RR bottles, and I consumed the brew from the glass lined tanks of Latrobe quite often.  Boddington’s was later in my college life, and it was a beer I was turned on to by my Anatomy teacher/research adviser, who was a direct import from across the pond.  Sweet trip down memory lane aside, the bitter truth eventually came to Lite.  AB bought out Rolling Rock in May of 2006 (which RR at that point was owned by InBev, ironically enough), at which point they closed the brewery in Latrobe and moved production to Newark.  Nuts and bolts of the deal were that AB bought the label, the recipe, and everything else.  No more glass lined tanks of Latrobe, no more mystique around the “33” on the bottle.  Now it’s just another cog in the machine.  Similar story to Boddington’s, which is a brew from Manchester, UK.

Other “imports” that fall under this umbrella of AB-InBev include Stella Artois, Brahma, Beck’s, Leffe, Boddingtons, Hoegaarden, Labatt (Oh Canada!), Löwenbräu, St. Pauli Girl and Bass.  AB-InBev also has part ownership and distribution deals with many other beers that we know and love, including Grupo Modelo (who make Corona and Negra Modelo, among others), Red Hook, and Widmer Bros.  The list goes on for a surprising amount of time.  It really is unfortunate.

Now, let’s take a look at Miller/Coors…don’t worry, the picture stays pretty bleak.  Miller Brewing Company is owned by SABMiller, a company out of South Africa.  From this company you are going to get your Miller and Coors beers in all of their different packaging, as well as Red Dog, Icehouse, the Milwaukee’s brands, Gambrinus, Grolsch, Pilsner Urquell, Henry Weinhard’s, Leinenkugel’s, Blue Moon, and Olde English, amongst a bevy of others.

So, what does any of this mean?  It depends on how you look at it.  If you are looking for a good tasting, high quality product, then you are very likely going to find some within these huge lists of beer.  Is there anything wrong with that?  Absolutely not.  If you are buying it for taste then you have the wonderful freedom of choice.  If you like Stella, drink Stella.  I happen to still love how Boddington’s tastes, but I won’t buy it.  This is where interpretation comes into play. 

I don’t buy their products because of their marketing strategies and business practices.  The beer may taste good, but I’m not paying for it.  And I am as pro-America as you can get, but I’m not boycotting because they are foreign companies, either.  Some of my favorite beers come from Belgium, Germany, etc.  I choose not to buy their products because of their constant strong-arm techniques towards Craft Breweries.  However, the point of this little rant does focus on the American aspect of it.  As I said before, it does not have any influence on my tastes, but what does annoy me is the people who claim to drink it from a patriotic standpoint.  Your precious beers and all the images that come along with it are no longer “American” as you once thought they were.  The Clydesdales might as well be wearing Brazilian soccer jerseys, and Sam Elliot is being paid by checks emanating from South Africa.  There is nothing wrong with any of this, it’s business as usual, actually.  But Bud, Miller, Coors, etc is not American Beer anymore.  It just isn’t happening, so I challenge you to find another excuse, or choose a truly American product, like a local microbrewery, or one that is brewed, bottled, and distributed by American owned companies, if the good ol’ US of A is going to continue to be your driving force for the beer you choose.

Here’s to everyone drinking smarter!  Cheers!

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