October 7, 2011

The Session #56: Thanks to the Big Boys

In the 56th occurrence of The Session, Reuben Gray of The Tale of the Ale asks us to consider the contributions of and thank the large breweries.
I want people to pick a large brewery or corporation that owns a lot of breweries. There are many to chose from. Give thanks to them for something they have done. Maybe they produce a beer you do actually like. Maybe they do great things for the cause of beer in general even if their beer is bland and tasteless but enjoyed by millions every day.
If you honestly have nothing good to say about a large brewer, then make something up. Some satire might be nice, It will be a Friday after all.
I thought I would approach this post by recalling my earliest memories of "big" beer before I was a consumer (legally). Along the way my relationship moved from being a fan of the products made by these awesome faceless and monolithic enterprises to a period in which I hated them for being awesome faceless and monolithic enterprises. In the present, there is a mix of personal feelings. Inevitably what you get is a haphazard and complicated mix of praise, snark and disdain. I think most of the beer people I interact with feel similarly.

  • Thanks for the hummable catchy tunes, "If you've got the time, We've got the beer" and "When you say Budweiser, you said it all" which the Wisconsin Badgers appropriated so nicely.
  • Thanks for Rodney Dangerfield, Bob Uecker and Boog Powell. Thanks for making funny commercials. Thanks for the "Great Taste/Less Filling" arguments that you inspired in the 70's in my grade school lunch room. 
  • Thanks for building industry in my hometown of Milwaukee. Thanks for the brewhouse cathedrals you built in my Grandfather's and Father's time.
  • Thank you for underwriting the Superbowl? 
  • Thanks for the many tours we used to take at Pabst and Miller whenever we had a rain out as a Lifeguard at the County Park Pools.
  • Thank you Guinness for making a murky, mysterious and flavorful beer at a time before there was craft beer. Thank you for making people believe you were potently alcoholic when you were delightfully sessionable at a time in college when I abandoned my Gin and Tonics for you.
  • Thank you for making most of your beers with an SRM of less than 6, so I can instantly discern a table full of drinkers and be polite and non-condescending when talking about the beer that they enjoy.
  • Thank you Pabst for helping me re-understand marketing. Thank you for the mural campaign.
  • No thanks for swallowing up all the regional breweries, but thanks for bringing some of the brand name back. Thanks for Primo, Sixties recipe Schlitz. Thanks for Tenth & Blake Batch 19. Still waiting for Andeker and Blatz Culmbacher.
  • Thank you for throwing around meaningless brewing ideas and insincere marketing mumbo-jumbo such as cold brewed, vortex bottles, triple hopped, cold tasting and venting. Irony makes me happy. 
  • Thank you for your canned beer R&D dollars. I can now drink this beer at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and this one while I clean up.
  • Thanks for making some terrible commercials lately.  
  • Thank you for Mitch Steele and Charlie Bamforth.
  • Thank you for freighting kegs of Pilsner Urquell and Czechvar into my desert to compete against yourself.
  • Thank you for making us aware that you have a legal team. Thank you for being synonymous with evil. Thanks for being the boogeyman. Thanks for not letting that get you down. Thanks for the recent multi-national merger drama and the impending sequel.
  • Thank you for pairing so well with ennui. 
  • Thank you to your distributors for encouraging employees to learn to homebrew and partnering with ASH here in Phoenix.
  • Thank you for making this a difficult question to answer.
Cheers Big Boy Breweries of all sizes!


  1. A brilliant take on the topic at hand thanks.

  2. Great post, made me smile on a grim, grey, windy Monday morning in England! Cheers

  3. Big beer firms advertisement will benefit the entire industry, small producers as well. It happened the same with wine producers