Not everybody is toasting this news.
A local craft brewery, Saint Archer, has been gobbled up (or downed?) by macro-brewer MillerCoors. That means it won't be a humble, quaint, independent brewer anymore, but part of a huge suds empire.
Yep, it sold out.
And, you bet, it's got some people bummed. Part of the reason for the explosion in the popularity of craft beer — and San Diego is one of the nation's leaders in the movement — is because people were sick of drinking flavorless, watered-down mass-produced beers.
So small brewers got the bright idea of making bold and unique-tasting beers and marketed them locally because they didn't have the money to do anything beyond that. The breweries became part of the region's fabric. San Diego is believed to have more than 100 local craft brewers.
Big brewers, seeing their market share drop because of the craft beer movement, have begun buying some small brewers to bolster sales. They try to do so on the sly, so consumers still think they are buying something unique.
They've also come out with their own craft-style beers, but don't promote them as part of the larger company as another way of gaining a share of the craft beer audience. Blue Moon is example. It's made by MillerCoors, but you don't see that on the bottle anywhere.
A San Diego man filed a class-action lawsuit against the beer maker, claiming it's pretending Blue Moon is a craft beer so it can charge more for it.
John P. Anderson, writing for the website, San Diego Free Press, is not happy with this trend of big brewers buying the little guys. He had heard rumors of the Saint Archer sale and wrote an article called: “San Diego Brewery May Be 'Selling Out.' Does it Matter?”
To him, it does.“When friends and family, or strangers, visit us in San Diego I love highlighting unique experiences that are rooted here.”
He also worries that craft brewers that are part of larger corporations will have more power to dominate grocery shelves.
“If Saint Archer, or any brewery, is sold what will happen when that brewery buys premium space in grocery stores? If the label says 'San Diego beer' and is next to Stone, Green Flash, and Modern Times will a person in Texas or Wisconsin know which is owned by San Diegans and which is owned by a faceless corporation? '
However, the Wall Street Journal estimated that the sale of Saint Archer was for more than $35 million.
So here's another good question:
Can you blame them?