How much "evil empire" do you buy?

I don’t boycott any producers, I tend to just go for beers I haven’t seen before or ones I have and know I like. This tends to mean I drink a lot of micro UK beers, but when i drink American or other beers from further afield they are often from bigger breweries sometimes owned by the giants.

Also I wouldn’t even like to guess at the real ownership of many breweries, especially those who have wide ownership through share ownership schemes / crowd funding etc. So it would seem hypocritical to boycott others.


I’ll buy anything, even from of the “big” guys. I don’t much enjoy the taste of most of those beers.

I understand why people wouldn’t - I used to be one of them. I’d take every chance I could get to take as many shots against them as I could. Then I realized that what I was doing wasn’t healthy for me, and wasn’t winning anyone over. I’ve seen people 20+ years older than me act like petulant children when it comes to who owns who.

Yes, I understand “Big Beer”'s business practices. I understand the shady things they’ve done in the market. I’m not saying that there isn’t anything we can do about it, but the attitude I see from some people will not win over the general public, and that’s really where a lot of the focus should be on.

It’s good optics though. A local pizza place that has a really good beer selection made a point to say they would not sell any beers that the Brewers Association didn’t consider craft. They sell Coca-Cola products. They buy their restaurant supplies from big restaurant supply companies. I can tell you that their pizza boxes are not handmade with ethically harvested, locally materials. It just doesn’t work that way, but it works differently for beer. The optics work because certain people in the craft beer world eat that stuff up.


I don’t seek them out, but once in a blue moon (no pun intended) i’m in a situation where there is nothing else to drink. And i’ll always to go to 10 Barrel, as their Boise location always has new (and good) beers on tap.

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I only drink Labatt products these days.


Okay, thanks. Mahou owns 30% of Avery also. Not as bad as ABI I guess?


All really good points.

And what I’ve learned from the industry is that business practices are largely related to scale. When some craft breweries get larger their business practices change accordingly. One of the loudest voices in the industry against lagers made for less privileged classes was called out on social media for case minimums, cheap/free kegs for tap handles and other practices he’s accused not only big beer companies of but also national and international craft as well. Real world practice is entirely unrelated to the Brewers Association’s criteria for craft or not, but more related to scale.

To be sure, not every company lets the market shift their practices. But what’s actually happening here are small exchanges here and there for territory, tap handles, market share – a sales game. And for me, this is a different game and it’s not mine.

Like you mention, at best I see a boycott of Big Beer as virtue signalling at its most harmless. At its worst, it’s elitist/classist with some real teeth in there that hurts the less fortunate through taxation or access. Usually though it’s somewhere in between. I feel good knowing that it was our taste buds that shifted the market and that if beer is like coffee and wine, the genie is out of the bottle, and there will be room in the market for small players for decades to come.

The biggest head-scratcher for me, is this simple and core idea that Big Beer controls the marketplace, is destroying craft and has been doing this for twenty years…Reality just seems to fly in the face of this quixotic fixation.

But yeah, if people want more feels with their beverage, that’s fine by me too. It would be healthier, fairer and all-around nicer though if it were positives that we focused on as consumers.


And to answer the question myself, I used to buy solely for new ticks, and honestly, I stopped buying expensive Anheuser-Busch products first ($20/tick) back in the early/mid 2000s because they were so disappointing every time. But every time I sat down to taste, I always tried to go in with an open mind.

I do get good vibes supporting mom and pops and local, but yeah, these are not the million-barrel producing craft that I also love but don’t get the same positive vibes from. Unless of course, they’re all solar or something like that. Then yeah. That’s really cool.


Alaskan Brewing. Quite a program of drying the mash and using it for fuel.