Much has been made about the buyout of Goose Island by AB/Inbev. The fallout has yet to be totally determined, but many in the craft beer world are outraged. Some have tweeted they will never buy a Goose Island beer again. Some have lamented Goose Island’s choices to raise capital to expand. Others just seemed to have shrugged.
In perspective, the Goose Island brewery is a business and like all businesses, choices have to be made to go in a certain direction. Several years ago, the choice was made to partner with A-B to get exposed to a wider distribution chain. RedHook did something similar. Though they claimed there would be no changes, fans of the ESB took note of some. The same wonders were present among some fans of Goose Island, but given their beer line additions of the last few years, it looked as though A-B was more hands-off. It was good that their beers garnered a wider audience, even if the evil A-B was helping.
On the latest news, I’ve decided to wait and see. Will this end up being like Rolling Rock where the brewery was eventually closed and the beer suffered greatly? Will it be more like RedHook where changes were minor (and perhaps only in the heads of the drinker)? If it is the latter and Goose Island beers are to be had unmolested, it really doesn’t bother me that A-B gets a cut. I still shop at Wal-Mart. Not because I like the store brands, but I can get the brands I like. My eyes will be warily watching though, as should A-B interfere, then it will be time to cut the cord.