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Indie beer brand pens open letter accusing multinationals of masquerading as craft beer brewers

' Make no mistake, in the long term this spells an almost certain end for the vast majority of independents'

Christopher Hooton
Wednesday 07 December 2016 13:08 GMT

Even if you’re not a massive beer fan, you’ve probably noticed the shifts taking place in the industry recently through the changing selection of bottles on the shelves in bars, supermarkets and corner shops.

The nation has gotten a taste for a higher quality beer and big companies are rushing to get a piece of the pie, redesigning ranges to give them an independent, craft look and buying out local breweries.

Honest Brew, a craft beer subscription service, has had enough and wants to “stand up against big multinationals that are beginning to enter the industry under the guise of craft beer”.

Today, it posts an open letter (below) about the situation, which it claims “make no mistake, in the long term spells an almost certain end for the vast majority of independents.”

Read it in full:

'An Honest Letter: Craft or Crafty?

It was a sunny spring afternoon and we at HonestBrew were happy. We were happy because we had designed nifty new packaging to snugly fit three cans of beer. It looked awesome. And, most importantly, the beer inside tasted awesome. We called it the Howler – a kind of play on the Growler you can buy from your local bottle shop. Fast forward six months and we were forced to cry foul.

Three weeks ago Beer Hawk took our Howler and tried to pass it off as their own innovation. Credit to them, good ideas are there for the taking, but this isn’t about three beers in a tube. This isn’t even about HonestBrew. This is about global players muscling in, dominating markets and steamrolling small businesses.

You see, the honest truth about Beer Hawk is that they are owned by AB InBev, the multinational behemoth behind Budweiser. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call them Blandy. Blandy likes a world where mediocre beer is made as cheaply as possible, sold at profit-maximising prices, and where as much shelf (and online) space as possible is colonised by its own ubiquitous brands.

Hardworking independent brewers across the globe have successfully challenged this multinational monotony, bringing us the diversity of beer we enjoy today. Blandy’s response? Aggressively acquiring once-independent breweries such as Camden Town, Birra Del Borgo and Goose Island, and more recently moving into the market through retailers like Beer Hawk and Hopt.

By hiding behind these brands, Blandy are tricking conscientious beer lovers into believing their hard-earned money is supporting the independent brewers who created this market. The reality? They are doing the one thing they know how to do well: dominate the market, reduce consumer choice and maximise their own profits. Make no mistake, in the long term this spells an almost certain end for the vast majority of independents.

You have a right to know who you’re supporting. You have the choice to get behind independent brewers, distributors & retailers who do what they do out of pure dedication and the drive for creating and sharing something unique.

At HonestBrew, we stand with the independents. We are proud to be a member of the UK beer industry, and look forward to a future where we continue to bring independent, world-class brews to beer lovers across the UK. We pledge to only support and purchase beer that is not controlled by Blandy.

If you love beer as much as we do, then join us and ensure that the standard of beer continues to rise and independent producers thrive. Don’t let Blandy muscle in.'

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