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Big Beer, Big Data, and the Big Implications of AB InBev’s RateBeer Acquisition

I’m not sure if you all have seen this before. Sorry if you have.

https://vinepair.com/articles/ab-inbev-ratebeer-acquisition-analysis/

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Lots of implications - but the acquisition may be potentially more hurtful to the other super-macro-conglomerates - if, if, the RB data can be used to insert super-profitable new products before those competitive s-m-cs can realize there’s a new niche product.

However, what super-profitable “niche” product is going to cover hundreds of thousands of square miles?* The best way to get a new “craft” product is to have in-house “craft” breweries keep on truckin. When one develops a new and profitable thing, the other craft breweries seem to jump on the band wagon. And eventually the wheels come off and a new wagon shows up. Being first doesn’t mean running the table.

I hypothesize the data won’t really do much for AB-InBev in terms of beer production. What it could be used for is to monitor the popularity of a brewer’s brews and serve as a guide to further acquisitions. But why bother buying RateBeer for acquisition guidance, when they could datamine the web (Untappd comes to mind) and figure out which breweries sell well? Maybe, just maybe, AB-InBev has done something that didn’t really make any sense for them. Like dumping Pierre Celis. Big usually means lots of interference between the brains and the real world.

*Michelada could be considered such, but no one had a big advantage for long. Heck, even craft brewers produce it these days.

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Given that ratebeer has six or seven active members I do not think it is remotely useful for gauging regional beer tastes like the article alleged.

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What do we have? 1% of the active users posting in the forums?
I checked recent ratings but there’s no way to gauge the activity cuz they don’t show dates.

I feel they may be exaggerating the importance of RateBeer at the current point in time:

“The acquisition threatens to squelch individual creativity and could single-handedly dictate beer trends to meet corporate needs.”

Feels that way. I don’t see how can a site with 1-2k active users provide enough data to be relevant.

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Joe just recently posted 1:20 ratio for forum vs active raters, and another 1:20 for active raters vs casual/passive users.

From this, we can easily extrapolate the total number of active raters and casual users: if we (very) generously say that the forum has 200 active users, then there are 4000 active raters and 80000 casual users.

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You can find dates if you click through the ratings though. April 29 has somewhere in the realm of 50 pages worth of ratings, of 15 ratings each, so 750 ratings total for a given day. I haven’t looked to count the users but it would be pretty easy to write a script to do that. In fact, it would be trivial to write a script to constantly monitor this page and get real time traffic data in terms of DAUs/MAUs and rating volume.

What would be the point, though? To prove that the site has paltry traffic? We already know that. 750 ratings a day… Untappd probably gets 750 ticks a minute, if not more.

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To shine some light on the active users (or should we say contributors?) number here is an interesting list.

Last user on the page Active Inactive
100 86 14
200 76 24
300 56 44
400 53 47
500 56 44
600 49 51
700 39 61
800 49 51
900 40 60
1000 42 58
1100 42 58
1200 37 63
1300 27 73
1400 31 69
1500 37 63
1600 31 69
1700 30 70
1800 18 82
1900 20 80
2000 20 80
Total 839

Active users are those which had 50 rates/ticks in last 6 months and at least 10 of them since early February.

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i can’t say i mind so much the possibility that:

One corporation now has the power to … create the beers we like

but just the ab inbev corporation? because they have direct access to the underlying databases and not just to the public web pages?
it would even the playing field, and maybe mean even more better beer, if there were an api anyone could use.

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For the past decade, Big Beer has been systematically buying up the craft breweries they couldn’t beat, and ABI has bought the most — 10 in all that were snapped up in a six-year shopping spree that touched virtually every major beer market in the country.

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