One of the things I had in the back of my head when I created this blog was that it wasn’t going to turn into a bash Anheuser-Busch site. If you’re skilled in the art of brewing you’re aware that making an American Style Pilsner is actually one of the most difficult beers in the world to produce. Because the beer is so light, clear and crisp it doesn’t leave much room for error. And while it may not be the first (or tenth) beer an enthusiast reaches for, you have to respect the craft of producing this difficult of a product on the grand level they do.
So when I came across a recent article detailing AB’s earnings and their outlook on the future, it makes them that much harder to defend:
“We do have aspirations to regain our global beer leadership position,” Busch said. “We need to look to diversify our global footprint in the years ahead.”
Busch touted the company’s commitment to developing and selling products that may not add much to volume but would satisfy consumers’ desires. A recent agreement, for example, will let A-B distribute “drinkable skin care,” a beverage that purportedly helps improve the skin.
How does Mr. Busch’s first sentence in the first paragraph jive with his second? In my mind if you’re looking to “regain our global beer leadership position” you don’t do so by moving further away from the art of brewing. I realize that products like Michelob Ultra are wildly successful because they tapped into a specific market that was looking for a beer even lower in calories and carbohydrates than was currently out there. But a skin care drink?
I also realize AB isn’t the only macro-brewer guilty of things like this and it’s not entirely fair to single them out (though one could argue that this is a St. Louis beer website and most people can’t think of St. Louis without thinking of AB) but I know AB is capable of making a good (if not great) product at times. They really stepped up big and helped to put on the St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival, a celebration of the brewing craft in St. Louis and was in my mind it was a rousing success.
Maybe it’s just the optimist in me, I’d like to think that the way you regain your global beer leadership position is not with energy and skin care drinks, but with better beers and more education. I mean, here’s to beer?