Photo courtesy of https://twitter.com/Copeasaurus
There are just too many questions around Buyouts and Supermarkets, multiple questions and multiple answers / opinions, which questions are right to ask? and what are the answers? I’ve tried to have a balanced view of both sides here…
Lets think Positive:
Multinational brewer buys high profile indie brewer, leaves brewer alone to do what they do, that brewer now gets into all manner of tied lines in pubs and supermarket shelves. The price of their beer comes down and makes more people able to drink it. Consumer Win! Brewery fortifies the job security of their employees.
Supermarkets now have such a good range of beer that any regular shopper can try beers that were previously only available in bars and specialist bottle shops. Win for Consumer!
Small indie producers now fill the market gap that the recently bought out brewery used to fill and all the small and local businesses flourish. You can get your ‘main stay’ beers from the supermarket shelves then you go down to your local Pub or Bottle shop to get the more varied and interesting beers. Overall the introduction of more choice in supermarkets is good for the industry and make a whole range of new consumers aware of beers amazingly varied and different attributes, this brings in a new group of consumers. Industry Win.
Lets think Negative:
Multinational brewer buys high profile indie brewer and makes their beer available in may more places, supermarkets have such a great range of beer on their shelves that anyone can buy beer at supermarket prices while ordering their shopping online. Consumer Win! Now the consumers don’t have to leave the house, they no longer bother with the specialist bottle shop they used to spend their hard earned coin in, the no longer go to that little Micropub where they used to try all the different beers and made so many new friends in the process.
The brewer now makes less per Can than they ever have, the overall price point at wholesale of beer drops and creates a market where small operators find it increasingly difficult to enter the market and sustain a business unless you can afford to drop your prices to supermarket levels. You only have to watch Dragons Den on TV to see the Dragons eyes light up with ££-signs when they find out they already have a Supermarket deal… unbridled capitalism right there! Kerrching!
Small indie businesses die out leaving only the large scale production breweries. Consumer choice slowly dwindles to that which big business sees fit to give us.
Now what about the Multinational business that bought the high profile indie:
Where does the profit go, Does it move out of the country and into the pockets of shareholders?
What are the credentials of the big business behind the new owner, we hear of less good stuff about their support of various regimes in certain countries.
Where does your beer come from:
As a consumers we are all becoming more savvy and asking where the products we buy come from, who makes it, who owns the business, is it ethical, is it vegan, is it local, etc, etc…
We want to know the names of the people that make the stuff we put in our mouths, we want it to be local and the local support we give to these indie businesses to have the knock-on effect of feeding back into the local environment and community.
What does it all mean? I’ll be stuffed if I know, maybe you can tell me….
We are obviously going to see a lot more buyouts over the coming years, I’ll be honest, on a personal level it makes me sad. I won’t avoid the beer from bought out brewers but I will favour the independent producers.
Whats for sure is consumers want Maximum flavour for Minimum effort, consumers will take the shortest route from A to B.