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Viva Birrerie Italiane: The Rise of Italian Craft Beers


Italian food lovers have a lot of options when it comes to what kind of alcoholic drink to pair with their pasta or pizza. There’s obviously a slew of Italian red wines like Pinot Grigio and Barolo as well as aperitifs like Campari and Aperol — although those are usually consumed before a meal — not to mention cocktails like the iconic Negroni. However, if you want to a pair a beer with your bresaola, it can seem like your options are few and far between.

There’s Peroni, the standard bearer – Italy’s equivalent to our “king of beers.” And Birra Moretti, the slightly lesser known brand — which is no longer brewed in its homeland – if you’re lucky. However, Jason White, Beverage Director at Brooklyn’s Barano, wants you to know that there is far more than just those two Italian staples. He’s built an extensive, varied beer list, which gives guests options that are as considered as their wine offerings. Barano’s beer program pays homage to, among other things, the burgeoning Italian craft beer movement.

So, who better to give us advice on what we should be trying when we want a change of pace in our Italian brews? Here are five beers White recommends:

Birrificio Italiano’s Tipopils

As one of the beers that really set a new benchmark for Italian producers a few years back, this zesty and grassy German Pilsner continues to make a great stir throughout the modern beer community as one of the original cornerstones for the Nuovo Italiano movement in artisan beer production. This style pairs well with a great range of items — my favorite is with a true Italian pizza with the focus on a really well-made crust and fresh, bright toppings to balance the beautiful tart, earthy, and smoky flavors of a great crust.

Birrificio Del Ducato’s Beersel Mattina

One of my personal favorites. The story of how this beer came to be is almost as important as the impact it’s slowly making. Based around New Morning, a farmhouse style Saison, it has refreshing qualities that will match any seasonal Spring or Summer dish; be it vegetable-driven, seafood, or any fun protein that is not red meat. This beer is floral, crisp, bright, and a great pairing with almost any earthy and acid-driven pasta, rich seafood dish, or non-red-meat dish.

LoverBeer’s BeerBera

This is where it gets really fun. A Wild Ale [editor’s note: a wild ale is a kind of beer brewed using yeast or bacteria in addition to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the typical yeast usually used] fermented with yeast on Barbera grapes that is left to spontaneously ferment in oak vats. The blur or hybridization of genres is becoming more and more relevant beyond the movement of experimentation in beer and wine. And just like wine, we should heed the thought that, like a great Bordeaux or other great full-bodied red, this also needs time to develop more balanced character. We currently have a few bottles of the 2015 vintage and it’s showing well, though still young. This is an awesome pairing for our Salt Meadow Lamb with Escarole, Pine Nuts, Raisins and Cannellini Puree.

Birrificio Torrechiara’s Panil Barriquée Riserva

This cognac-barrel-aged sour red was one of the first artisan products shown to the US market that was truly unique in the way that the native yeasts and barrel-aging give way to a very sour and complex beer. You could compare this to a full-bodied, tannic red wine, and even trade-in since the acid and tannin from this beer will actually help highlight the flavors of the sear and juicy flavor of a medium rare steak… especially over a wood fire!

Birrificio Le Baladin’s Xyauyù – Barrel 2010

A beer? A Tawny Port style fortified wine? Both?! Kind of! Well, maybe in certain flavor characteristics. Xyauyù (pronounced eck-see-eye-yoo), and it’s different variations, are some of the most unique beers on the market. Internationally. Period. Founder and Master Brewer, Teo Musso, will go as far a singing to his Oxidized Barley Wine during the two and a half year minimum it takes to age and delicately oxidize using the Solera Method — the same method used to make Sherry. For the Barrel version, he ages the beer in Trinidadian rum barrels. This with chocolate, in general, is awesome. But this with our Torta Caprese chocolate tart filled with fine & raw dark chocolate in an almond tart shell on top of a Calabrian anglaise? Heaven.

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Sapporo Buys Anchor Brewing, The Leading Pioneer Of USA Craft Beer, For $85 Million

anchor steam

Photo: James Cridland on Flickr.

One of America’s oldest craft beers, who was dubbed the leading pioneer of the craft beer movement, was just acquired by a Japanese beer giant.

Anchor Brewing, known for their Anchor Steam beer and for popularizing the “California Common” style of brew, was just bought by Sapporo for what Food and Wine reports to be a sum of $85 million. Sapporo did not purchase Anchor’s other business, Anchor Distillery, which will now become a separate company that produces spirits like Old Potrero Whisky and Junipero Gin.

Anchor chose to go with the full acquisition in order to support international expansion and a long-term future for the San Francisco brand, but Sapporo is also respecting the company’s roots. For now, Anchor will continue to use their original brewery to make their beers until production reaches full capacity (currently, the operation runs at 55 to 60 percent capacity). There’s no timetable for when max production levels would be reached, so it’s unclear at this time where the beer would be produced otherwise.

The deal may jeopardize Anchor Brewing’s craft designation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. However, executives weren’t too concerned about that debate, considering the company’s 125-year history and role as one of the original craft beer producers in the United States.

Sapporo’s acquisition also continues a pattern of major breweries buying up small craft producers, which includes Heineken’s acquisition of Lagunitas and AB InBev’s ownership of Goose Island.

Alcohol Hit-Or-Miss News

Kona Brewing Co. Accused of Being Phony, Gets Sued

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There’s nothing worse than finding out something isn’t really what you thought it was. So, you can imagine how Kona Beer lovers felt once they discovered their beloved Longboard Island Lager, wasn’t actually being brewed on the island.

In fact, a lawsuit filed by Sara Cilloni and Simone Zimmer, claim that Kona Brewing Co., a company under the Oregon-based brewing company Craft Brew Alliance, actually manufactures their beer in New Hampshire, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington State, according to the St. Louis Dispatch.

The suit alleges that Kona Brewing Co. is using Hawaiian themes, including images of “hula dancers, surfers,” and volcanoes among other imagery, to encourage consumers to purchase their beer at a higher price.

The St. Louis Dispatch wrote that the class-action lawsuit was filed March 1, in a San Jose, Calif. federal court and is seeking,”unspecified damages for Kona purchasers in that state and nationwide over four years.”

This isn’t the first time seemingly falsified labeling on beer became the subject of legal action. In February, Wal-Mart was sued over selling a contracted non-craft beer at a premium craft beer price, under a brewery that simply didn’t exist.

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Walmart Just Got Sued For Selling Fake Craft Beer

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If you bought one of Walmart’s craft beers, you may have been ripped off.

The giant retailer is being sued for deceiving consumers by selling them a line of private-label “craft beers” that aren’t actually craft beer.

Walmart claims that their line of craft beers was developed in conjunction with a craft brewing company called Trouble Brewing, according to The Consumerist. However, the only Trouble Brewing company that was found was an Irish brewery that doesn’t match up to any of the information Walmart gave about the company producing their craft beers.

The company in Walmart’s paperwork for the alcohol is called WX Brands, and they develop all types of alcohol for brands around the world. They clearly don’t fit into the legal definition of craft beer, which requires production of less than 6 million barrels of beer per year and less than 25% of a non-craft brewer to own it.

However, Walmart puts up their craft beers, which include their Cat’s Away IPA, After Party Pale Ale, Round Midnight Belgian White, and Red Flag Amber beers, next to all of the other craft beers in the store — which further distorts the customer’s image that the beers are in fact actual craft beers.

Because the beers are available in Walmarts across 45 different states, there’s a good chance you saw it and thought it was a craft beer when it in fact wasn’t. If you bought the product, you were also getting deceived by Walmart, who was able to sell the beer for a higher price because it was a “craft beer” that is perceived to be worth more.

As a result, a class-action lawsuit has been brought against Walmart by a group of residents from Ohio, who are looking for compensatory and punitive damages as well as an injunction to prevent the labeling of the beers as craft beer.

The plaintiffs are calling the marketing of the beers “wholesale fiction,” and I couldn’t think of a better way to describe what Walmart is doing.

Hopefully, this makes Walmart stop defrauding the public with its “craft beers.”

Hit-Or-Miss News

Starbucks Introduces Its First Coffee-Infused Craft Beer

Starbucks is consistently pushing the envelope when it comes to new drink concepts.

Recently, we put you on to the seven most caffeinated drinks on the Starbucks’ menu, but now, it looks like an espresso-infused craft beer will soon become a part of the Starbucks drink family.

The Espresso Cloud IPA is Starbucks’ newest and most experimental beverage to date.

Conceptualized by coffee master Justin Burns-Beach, the Espresso Cloud IPA is named aptly due to its unique mixing process. This aesthetically appealing drink boasts a light, velvety soft appearance, with a vibrant amber tone.

By shaking ice, a shot of espresso, pieces of oranges and Starbucks Classic Syrup, a cloud-like micro-foam is created.  Then, the foam is “layered on top of a freshly poured IPA, and the beer is served with the cold-shaken espresso shot on the side,” according to Pike1912, Starbuck’s company blog.

The cold-shaken espresso can also be added to the IPA, creating another beautiful layer of citrus and vanilla infused micro-foam.

Burns-Beach took inspiration for the Espresso Cloud IPA from the mixing process behind Starbucks’ Shakerato, which is 2 shots of espresso, one teaspoon of Starbucks Classic Syrup, shaken and served over ice.

“This is really exciting, because first of all, something like this has never been created for Starbucks and it just blows my mind.” — Justin Burns Beach, Coffee Master & creator of The Espresso Cloud IPA 

For years, Starbucks has not-so-secretly been selling beer and wine in more than 300 locations in the United States, Canada and The United Kingdom, according to Fortune.

Since 2010, Starbucks locations in Seattle have been promoting Starbucks’ Evenings program, where baristas serve craft beer and wine, along with other small plates. Check if your local Starbucks promotes their Evenings program here.

Last year, CNN Money reported that by 2020, “the company hopes to have beer and wine on the menu at 2,000 of its 12,000 coffee shops in America.”

It’s safe to say Starbucks will keep people wired for the wait, as locations nationwide begin incorporating more adult beverages in store.

Bottoms up!


These Small Breweries Are Making A Name For Themselves During Craft Beer Week

Since 2006, independent brewers have been celebrating a year of hard work and dedication to their craft with a week of festivities, aptly known as American Craft Beer Week.

This year, from May 16 – May 22, craft brewers are standing up against big beer companies, with an ingenious marketing campaign that represents more than 4,400 small craft breweries from around the country. The American Brewers Association introduces #TheBiggestSmallBeerEver, an imperial stout, that symbolizes the efforts of independent breweries in all 50 states.

If you’re not into corporate beer companies, then the #BiggestSmallBeerEver is meant for you. With a humorous marketing campaign developed by media company Victors & Spoils, the can is decorated with the names of 4,449 craft brewers, and can be sampled at more than 100 breweries around the country, according to

Check out a list of participating brewers near you, here.

The Biggest Small Beer

ACBW features special events in every state, and on May 19 at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT, small brewers everywhere will raise a glass of #TheBiggestSmallBeerEver as a toast to recognize fellow brewers for another year of successful brewing and healthy competition.

We hope you’ve marked your calendars.


Photo: American Craft Beer Week Facebook
Adventures Features

The Unfolding Craft Beer Boom In Amish Country


Credit: Daniel Lobo

I got hammered in Amish Country. Granted, the headline for this and my experience doing it would have been so much more exciting if I could say that I got hammered with the Amish, maybe having become involved in someone’s knock-down, drag-out rumspringa, which is something I know about Amish culture because of TV. But all I did was drink lots of great beer with other non-Amish folk, and you should too if you ever get the chance.

Lancaster County, aka Pennsylvania Dutch Country, aka Amish Country, is a 1,000-square-mile area in Southeastern Pennsylvania with a population of about a half million, half of which are Amish. It’s 80 miles from Philadelphia, 165 miles from New York, and 120 miles from Washington.

The main reason I point out the proximity of those large cities is that if you were brought to Lancaster blindfolded and asked to guess where you were based on the way the place looks and feels, you would not likely intuit that three of the Top 10 biggest metropolitan areas in the country are within a couple-hour drive. We’re talking rolling farmland, unironic overalls and single-horsepower buggies sharing the road with Fords and Chevys.

Lancaster County has about 20 licensed craft breweries.

The horse-n-buggies, of course, are one of the most visible signs you’re in Amish Country. The first one we encountered, my wife and I decided to guess how many we’d see during our two-day trip. I guessed 25; she guessed 45. Two hours later, we gave up counting because we’d both guessed way, way too low.

All that is to say, tourists from those big cities come to Lancaster and the surrounding area to get away from the noise and pace and to get a peek at the really interesting culture of the Amish, a culture which I won’t get too deep into, mostly because we’re this far in and I haven’t even begun to discuss the beer.

Lancaster County has something like 20 licensed craft breweries, and when you count the breweries just outside of the county the number is probably more like 30. If you’re someone who frequents places with an interesting beer selection, you’ve probably heard a lot of the names: Victory Brewing Co., Troegs, Appalachian Brewing Co., Lancaster Brewing Co. The area is known for its lagers, which is a somewhat underrepresented style in indie brewing, where hoppy IPAs are the most common answer to the skunk-water lagers of the macro breweries. But don’t worry: There are plenty of IPAs being cooked up in Lancaster, as well as styles I hadn’t seen anywhere else.

Wacker Brewing Co. is one of the oldest breweries in the country.

At Wacker Brewing Co. I tasted a gose, which Beer Advocate describes as having a “twang” and which I would describe as tasting more like cheese than beer. (Full disclosure: My palate is not what you would call super refined; I like what I like at any given moment, and sometimes that’s a simple pale ale or pilsner and sometimes that’s a sour beer or IPA and sometimes that’s straight-up Rolling Rock.) Like lager, gose is a German style, and you’re going to recognize that as a trend in breweries around Amish country.

Wacker is one of the oldest breweries in the country and was the first in Lancaster. They credit German immigrants to the area with introducing lager to the U.S. and birthing the brewery revolution that currently has such a strong foothold. Don’t let the cheese beer scare you — they have plenty of other styles that are super drinkable, and they share a space with the Thistle Finch Distillery, so if you somehow don’t find any of their beers to your liking, you can grab a taste of some local gin or white rye.


Credit: CucombreLibre

OK, fine, we should talk about the main reason tourists flock to the area. The Amish culture has been well documented elsewhere, so I won’t go into those details. What I will say is that traveling to a specific place just to kind of observe how someone lives feels very intrusive, though it doesn’t seem to bother the locals much. Everywhere you go there are buggy rides and Amish smorgasbords, the latter of which is essentially just an all-you-can-eat feast of fried chicken, roast beef, buttered noodles, chicken pot pie, sausages, mashed potatoes, some token vegetables and at least four different choices of dessert, including shoo-fly pie, a local specialty with a sort of custardy filling made of molasses that is uber sweet. Apparently, most of the smorgasbords are buffet-style, but the one we went to, charmingly called Plain & Fancy (as seen on Travel Channel, of course), served dinner family-style.

We were seated at a table of about 12, and our server brought us large platters of food to serve ourselves for a very reasonable price. This method, family-style all-you-can-eat, is much better than a standard buffet, for me at least, because despite the fact that the server would bring us more as soon as a platter went empty, I was painfully aware that a bunch of strangers were watching and waiting as I served myself, thus prompting me to eat a more civilized amount than I actually wanted. Don’t get me wrong: I ate way too much, but it was an overeating I didn’t immediately regret, which is not something I can say for many of my buffet experiences, if I’m being honest.

Anyway, as I was saying: Despite the tourist-focused local industry, it feels really weird to drop into someone’s world just to see how they live, like you’re at a zoo where the attractions are people put on display for being different. I get that there’s agency here — it’s not like we were walking up and looking in windows; most of the touristy stuff is well away from the actual Amish community in a controlled environment where the people being gawked at are presenting themselves voluntarily. But not always.

It feels really weird to drop into someone’s world just to see how they live, like you’re at a zoo where the attractions are people put on display for being different.

Each time a horse-n-buggy clopped by on the road, smartphones and DSLRs whirled to capture video and snapshots of what was likely a family headed to the store or a friend’s house or, you know, a funeral or whatever. The point is, Amish people actually live and work and play and exist in this community, so let’s visit and support the local economy and eat too much buttered noodles and shoo-fly pie and pay too much for a buggy ride to people who are voluntarily allowing us to engage them and take video and explore their farms. That’s all great. But I bet we could have some restraint and hold our shutters when someone’s just trying to run an errand in town.

Maybe it’s just me, though, because I’m oversensitive about making people uncomfortable, having been uncomfortable for about three decades myself. But that all made me want to stick mostly to breweries, which is easy to do in Lancaster and would likely have been my preference whatever the rest of the place had to offer. So, back to beer.

Lancaster Brewing Co. has one of the sweetest deals around. For $16 they’ll pour you 4 ounces of every beer they currently have on tap, which when I visited was 13. They also serve what looked and smelled like great food in their brewpub (I would have eaten if I wasn’t worried about saving room for beer). I was able to speak with Lancaster Brewing’s Pete Keares about what makes this area such a hotbed of breweries.

“Pennsylvania has been very progressive on the legal side of things, allowing craft breweries to open and operate,” Pete said.

“Pennsylvania has been very progressive on the legal side of things, allowing craft breweries to open and operate,” Pete said. That and the proximity to densely populated areas, the draw of tourists to the Amish community and the local indie craft spirit are contributing factors, he added. Despite lagers being what the area is known for, his personal favorites are his brewery’s stouts, and I have to agree. The Lancaster Brewing milk stout is one of the best examples of the style I’ve ever had. Their Hop Project #1 is another amazing beer, and I could go on — none of the 13 tasters I shared with one other person went undrank.

There is some direct interaction between the breweries and the Amish community, Pete said. Hop Buggy, one of Lancaster Brewing Co.’s styles I was able to try, is brewed using grain sourced locally from the Amish, though most of the ingredients they brew with come from elsewhere. But I was wondering: Is there a connection between the breweries and the Amish as patrons? Is the rumspringa and secret drinking of the Amish (whose religion forbids it) helping fund the breweries of the area? Maybe it’s no coincidence that all the craft beer in this part of the country shares air with one of the most insular groups of purportedly non-drinkers. Well, it turns out it’s not a coincidence, but for more benign reasons.

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“It’s the German culture, the German heritage,” Pete told me. You see, the Amish are descendants of some of those German immigrants that introduced lager to the area and were ultimately responsible for making Lancaster County the beer mecca it is today. Where the dividing line between those two destinies is, exactly, I couldn’t tell you, but the explanation makes perfect sense. On our horse-n-buggy ride (of course we did, and you should too), I was able to ask the Amish driver about the beer situation. Do the Amish ever enjoy a pint? And if not, can you be our DD later? His coy answer was, “Once we get married, we don’t do that anymore.” Got it.

Before we left Lancaster County, we went up to Lititz to see the Wolf Sanctuary of PA and grab lunch at the Bulls Head Pub, where we had the best meal of the trip (sorry, Plain & Fancy), and true to local form, the beer selection was also quite good. The Bulls Head is set up in the style of a traditional English pub, and the comfy interior is plush but not pretentious. Make sure you go hungry, too, because the food is outstanding. Their Scotch eggs are killer and their burgers are perfect. If you head to this area, stop by for a meal and a pint or two or three.

The Wolf Sanctuary has dozens of wolves at any given time.

The Wolf Sanctuary is a nonprofit that takes in wolves from around the country for various reasons, often having to do with people illegally attempting to own one as a pet and finding out that that is not always a great idea. The Sanctuary has dozens of wolves at any given time and is supported in part by scrap meat donations from local restaurants. The tours are extensive and happen only at scheduled times, so plan ahead. An experienced keeper will walk you from pen to pen and tell you about every pack and every animal. They’re knowledgeable and helpful and they definitely have some stories. It’s a worthwhile cause and a cool experience that you should look into if you’re ever there. Make sure you show up on time and leave your video camera in the car, though. You see, unlike for the Amish folks down the road, it’s against the rules to take video of the wolves at the Sanctuary.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a beer-focused vacation that’s off the beaten path or just happen to find yourself in Southeastern Pennsylvania, you could do worse than checking out the breweries and brewpubs of Lancaster County. Eat awesome food at the Bulls Head or at an Amish smorgasbord, take a buggy ride to a working Amish farm and bring a friend so you can try everything the area has on tap.



Diabolical Craft Beer Sell Outs Ranked From Best To Worst

It’s often been said that it takes a momma brewery and a daddy brewery to make a baby brewery. Birds and bees aside, a good quality craft establishment is usually started by a brewer that gets experience a few places, then starts his/her own. Simple enough. It’s funny though, recent buyouts and partnerships with four California breweries have shifted the old paradigm.

Now it’s more like: momma brewery gets boob job, a passport, then flies to Europe to find a sugar daddy.

It’s been a rough summer for craft beer in California, where four buyouts/mergers from foreign-owned companies have made drinkers rethink supporting their favorite local brands. Of the four deals, some are more evil than others. Here’s a look at each, and appropriate level of evil, if brand loyalty is your thing.

Tony Magee at the CA Craft Beer Summit

Tony Magee at the CA Craft Beer Summit – @OCBeerBlog

LSS-Photo-12ozLagunitas – Heineken.  By far the biggest of the deals, Lagunitas is a fine lookin’ northern California native, born some 22 years ago. It didn’t take long for lil’ miss sumpin-sumpin to be the 6th largest craft brewery in the United States. Whereas other top-ten craft breweries eyed expansion on the central east coast, Lagunitas built their second brewery in Chicago. Shortly after completion came the announcement of a third brewery in Azusa, CA, then the news of a 50-50% partnership with Heineken International.

“We waited long enough and I got the value of the business so high that we only had to sell half of it. What could be better than that? The primary focus of the partnership with Heineken provides Lagunitas with liquidity to pay long-time investors, and to get beer into hard to reach global markets, where Heineken has a stronghold.” – Founder Tony Magee

Ask now or forever hold your peace? Nah. Lagunitas found the Dutch mega-brewer Heineken to be a worthy suitor. Giving up 50% stake in the brewery was all it took to get global distribution of its hoppy-sweet beers, get liquidity to pay long-time shareholders, and give employees some great bennies, and I don’t mean Benzedrine.

Evil rating: Pepe Le Pew. Although not that evil, the amorous skunk (Heineken) got half of a craft brewer. Giving up 50% to green bottle eurotrash-pilsner? There are some drawbacks. For one, Lagunitas revoked its street-cred badge. The Brewers Association, a national trade organization, defines craft beer as small, independent, and traditional. “Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.” By their definition, Lagunitas is no longer a craft brewer.


With Heineken’s skunk spray still lingering in the air, Saint Archer Brewery in San Diego sold a majority stake to MillerCoors. Probably the worst kept secret ever, Saint Archer built itself from the ground up to be acquired. Brewed by talented brewers, their brand of high quality craft beer will now join the ranks of Blue Moon and Crispin Cider. Saint Archer’s generic can designs have always signaled a sort of “commodity beer” type of ethos; Blonde, IPA, White, etc will no doubt be strong brands outside of Southern California. I’m not sure San Diego ever forgave them for a social media snafu thanking the Dodgers for their long-time support. Many locals were over this deal as it happened. As they’re no longer a craft brewer, I am thankful for the sea of legit craft beer in San Diego. If their current brewers leave, the quality will indeed change for the worse.

Evil rating: Megatron. Like a true Decepticon, MillerCoors’ 10th and Blake division effectively transformed Blue Moon into the must-have Belgian white beer of the 2000’s. “Hey, look at this awesome new craft beer!” could be heard poolside around the globe, not knowing they were holding a genuine MillerCoor product. Saint Archer will be joining the Decepticons, no doubt causing authenticity confusion in the marketplace. (This deal could get a lot worse if AB Inbev purchases SAB Miller, an offer was made on 9/29/2015 for 106 billion dollars.)


Resistance is Futile

Golden Road – Anheuser Busch InBev: In a deal that surprised key employees mid-flight to the Great American Beer Festival, the company posted a video announcing the deal with Birkenstock enthusiast Andy Goeler from Anheuser Busch. The awkward video aside, Meg broke the blade off with an interview she did with Quotes like “they’re investing in people, separate people and marketing and operations – which is me, right – to combat (true craft beer) this.” So she’s going to combat true craft beer that isn’t owned by a Brazilian beverage conglomerate? Gill continued, “the definition (of craft) should really be about “protecting the quality” so homebrewers “can’t brew a bunch of sh*t in their bathtub and call it craft.” For one, homebrewers don’t make beer in bathtubs, sh*t is brewed in toilets, and homebrewers don’t make craft beer, they make homebrew.

Evil Rating: Star Trek’s The Borg. It’s clear Meg Gill has been assimilated into the corporate beast. Resistance was futile for the Yale grad. Anheuser Busch can call itself “craft” all day long, but the things they do in the marketplace and distribution are bad for all beer. They aim to limit consumer choice, control price, and offer inferior beverages. One peek at the AB Super Bowl commercial where they dis craft beer as a whole is really all the proof one needs. How much is a Super Bowl ad? You mean they spent that much to say craft beer drinkers are hipster millennials and craft beer sucks, then buy craft breweries? I have a real hard time believing they’re in it for the “craft”, unless it’s “craft banking.”

walker Co Owner, David Walker. @OCBeerBlog

Firestone Walker – Duvel Moortgat: Firestone Walker has been on the cutting edge with quality, true innovation and being in the forefront of the craft beer community. Selling a stake in the company to Duvel was a private transaction between two families, and no details of majority stake were revealed. The Belgian brewery investment into Firestone Walker will help them expand operations and assist with their 150 years of experience into production planning. The key difference between this sale and others is Firestone Walker relies on the quality of their beer to sell itself.

Evil Rating: Box full of cute, cuddly kittens.