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Thursday, May 29, 2014

About that Special Growler Fill Deal...

The growler craze sometimes leaves me mystified when it comes to pricing. The range of prices for the same beer at different retailers is confusing. And then you have the nutty policies that come into play at places that offer special growler fill days. Whimsical.
Newest in my collection

First off, I'm not a huge fan of growlers. I've had far too many marginal experiences with under-fills and poor carbonation and, more recently, nasty broken glass. But I still get the occasional growler fill, usually the smaller 32 oz grenade so I can actually drink the beer before it goes flat.

The grenade is probably where the problem starts when it comes to special fill days. Pricing is what is it is for standard growlers. Grenades are another matter entirely. They seem to draw the ire of pub owners and managers. Which brings wacky pricing.

My first stop on this virtual tour is Alameda Brewing on NE Fremont. They offer $5 growler fills of most beers on Saturdays. That's a heck of a deal. Up until recently, you could get two grenades filled for the same price. Again, great deal.

When I visited Alameda last Saturday, the gal behind the bar told me she could not honor the special price for two grenades. Instead, it would cost me $5 per container...the same price as a standard growler.

"The owner changed the policy, but it's still a great deal," she offered.

I contacted Alameda owner Matt Schumacher about the policy. He gave me a brief rundown of the $5 growler program. It started as a summer promo for the neighborhood last year, set to end on Labor Day. When customers expressed dismay about the end date, he extended it through the Super Bowl. After the big game, he left it in place with no set end date. But there were problems.

"Word got out and we started seeing containers in every size and variety imaginable," Schumacher said. "Then a few people wanted to haggle with my staff on price depending on the size of their container. It got out of hand. I had to think of my staff. So I told them all growlers (64 oz and smaller) are $5. That's it."

The effect of the policy for me was simple. If I wanted to get two grenades instead of a single growler, it would cost me double for the same amount of beer. Even though I understand the reason for the decision and realize $10 isn't a bad deal, I don't like it.

It turns out Alameda isn't alone. McMenamins offers $7 growler fills on Mondays. Their approach is a little different. They choose the special beer each week and the beer varies from pub to pub. They make no allowance for smaller growlers. If you show up with a grenade or two grenades, each will cost $7. No exceptions or satisfaction there.

Migration Brewing on NE Glisan has a slightly different view. They offer special growler fill pricing on Sundays...most beers for $8. It turns out they don't have a policy on small growlers. However, what you actually find when you get there may depend on who's behind the bar.

"We have no specific policy on grenades," the gent on the phone said. "If you bring in two grenades and want a growler fill, I wouldn't have a problem giving you the special price. Someone else might see it differently. A single grenade on Sunday would be full price." Okie dokie.

This is all slightly perplexing. The pricing issues I keep running into are mostly the result of wanting to use grenades to slow down my consumption. I guess it's time to toss that strategy, move up to standard size growlers and start drinking faster. Or forget about growlers completely.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bridgeport's Revisionist History, Uncertain Future

Portlanders know Bridgeport Brewing. Founded in 1984, it is our oldest craft brewery. Only the failed Cartwright came before it. It became the oldest operating brewery in Oregon when Blitz-Weinhard was sold and closed in 1999. Bridgeport is celebrating 30 iconic years in 2014. Kudos all around.

There was a media event held a couple of weeks ago to celebrate the milestone. They invited a few members of the beer media, who were treated to beers, food and some presentations about where Bridgeport has been and where it is headed.

I didn't attend that event. Not invited...couldn't have attended if I had been because I was in Kauai. Fortunately, Jeff Alworth did get invited and wrote a piece describing what transpired. It was a candid, thoughtful piece. When you want good writing and perspective, the Beervana blog is a good place to find it.

A little background on Bridgeport from my own virtual archives. The brewpub was founded and operated for its first 11 years by Dick and Nancy Ponzi. They acquired the rustic space on NW Marshall and built a robust business there. Bridgeport was the first authentic brewpub experience for many Oregonians. The place reeked of local charm. Even the gigantic potholes on the nearby "streets" had it.

When the Ponzis sold Bridgeport to Gambrinus in 1995 (the deal was announced October 4), many were aghast. As Jeff noted in his piece, Bridgeport's identity was fused with the city. It was the pub and the brand against which all others were measured. How could it be owned by a company based in Texas?

The old rope factory in 1983, pre-Bridgeport
At the time of the sale, Bridgeport was at a sort of crossroads. The Ponzis knew that to stay relevant in the increasingly competitive world of craft beer they would have to expand and upgrade their facilities and invest heavily in marketing. But they had lost interest in the beer business. So they took the best of several offers and sold. You can't blame them. They preferred the wine business.

What Bridgeport truly needed to build on its strong local following was a national partner that would invest and provide distribution channels outside the area. Of course, that's not the easiest thing to arrange. Of Portland's four founding breweries, only Widmer successfully negotiated and benefited from a national partnership...via the deal it signed with Anheuser-Busch in 1997.

Gambrinus, though it didn't quite have a national presence, had the look of a company that could take the Bridgeport brand to another level. Founded by Carlos Alvarez, Gambrinus made its mark selling Grupo Modelo (think Corona) to the eastern US and Texas beginning in 1986. A few years later, it acquired Spoetzl Brewing of Shiner, Tex. and built Shiner Bock into a solid brand. Bridgeport looked to be next.

Soon after it purchased Bridgeport, Gambrinus embarked on what would turn out to be a bizarre effort to build Bridgeport up by stripping away its local identity. There was some logic to it, even if you don't agree with it. Gambrinus figured Bridgeport could only be a viable regional brand if it were less Portland-centric.

The beer names, rooted in Portland history and lore, were tossed. That created such a stir here that they eventually had to bring back some of the names. Later, Gambrinus made a another blunder when it renovated the brewpub on NW Marshall, creating an upscale restaurant. When the place opened in 2006, many fans were shocked. They wondered what happened to the simplicity and grubby comfort of the original brewpub. The fancy new place has never been fully accepted by many.

The main bar in current brewpub
The changes at Bridgeport are probably best viewed in retrospect. Many didn't see the big picture at the time. But the effort to create a brand with wider appeal had sparse traction. The regional brand Gambrinus envisioned never materialized. In effect, sacrificing Bridgeport's local identity to build something bigger was a bust.

Outcomes like this usually bring consequences in the corporate world. To save face, Alvarez might have followed the path of countless politicians and celebs...claimed impairment and checked into rehab. But that wasn't to be. Instead, Gambrinus opted to create an altered version of what Bridgeport had always been and what it will be. That, in a nutshell, is what the recent media event was all about.

The Gambrinus folks would like people to think Bridgeport is all about hops. They carted out Phil Sexton, the Aussie who developed the recipe for Bridgeport IPA, to promote the notion that Bridgeport is and always has been about hoppy beers. They transported event attendees to a nearby hops farm to visually reinforce the point.

East side of the rope factory, 1981
When I was reading Jeff's account of the event, I was stunned to discover that Karl Ockert, the founding brewer at Bridgeport who helped build the brewery and later suggested part of the approach that created the IPA, was not present or mentioned. His contribution has been completely erased from the Gambrinus version of Bridgeport's history. Amazing.

When I contacted Ockert and asked about the apparent snub, he took the high road:
It's a silly story. I am very proud that Bridgeport has seen its 30th birthday. The anniversary means a lot to those of us who were there in the very early days, or in my case before the early days. In those days, I often joked that we didn't know if we'd be around in 30 days. Now it's 30 years. Honestly, I hope the brewery can continue on for another 30 years. It's a great legacy to a special idea born in the Ponzi's kitchen in 1983.
Getting back to Bridgeport IPA, it certainly was one of the first beers of its kind. There were other hoppy beers at the time, but Bridgeport IPA suggested where craft beer was headed. Look around. Go into any brewpub, taproom or grocery store. IPA is the most popular craft beer style in the land. Bridgeport IPA did not start that revolution, but it was there at or near the start.

In contrast to the current cover story, Bridgeport never ran with the hops focus. For years and years, they brewed a standard line of beers...exactly what you would expect from a brewery trying to build a stronger regional identity via a variety of unoffensive flavors and styles.

The point is, the notion that Bridgeport was activity participating in what became a hops arms race is revisionist history. That movement was being led mostly by smaller brewers who were exploring methods of dry-hopping and other creative approaches. By pursuing a broader audience, Bridgeport turned away from the hoppy styles that were infiltrating the craft beer scene. There is great irony in that given the story they are now trying to sell.

Now that its focus has turned to hoppy styles, Bridgeport expects to release something like eight hoppy beers as part of their 30th anniversary celebration. There's also the sponsorship agreement with the Hillsboro Hops baseball club. Bridgeport brews the official beer, Long Ball Ale, and supplies most of the beer served in the ballpark. Hops are in their DNA, one way or another, it seems.

If you're wondering, they have a solid brewing staff at Bridgeport. Brewmaster Jeff Edgerton could surely produce beers that would compete with anything out there. Large breweries often have a tough time competing with the boutique beers produced in small breweries, but Bridgeport probably has the talent and the means to do so.

I was going to say Bridgeport's problem is lack of vision. But that's not right. There's a distinct vision and it emanates from Alvarez, who dictates strategy and maintains veto power over recipes under development. Unfortunately, that kind of leadership very often leads to stifled creativity...which may help explain why they have latched onto a brewing trend that started well over a decade ago and is likely to produce mostly "me too" beers. So much for innovation.

Alworth, in his piece, suggests the odd place Bridgeport occupies in the beer world may look a lot less odd in the future. He expects we will see a growing number of breweries that are "more corporate and generic, less tied to place." I'm not so sure about that. Even if it turns out to be true, I have a hard time seeing Bridgeport fitting into that kind of role with its present leadership.

Bridgeport is not a bad brewery. It remains among the top 10 Oregon breweries in production. They sell a lot of beer here. But the generic branding project flopped. And even though they're making a serious effort to reclaim their rightful place in Oregon, production has dropped in each of the past three years. That trend continues into 2014.

The reality for Bridgeport is pretty simple: Revisionist narratives and trend-jumping are no substitute for a vibrant strategy that features smarts and innovation. As things stand, the future looks a little dicey.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Portland Fruit Beer Fest, Vol. 4

A lot of press releases float across my computer screen on any given day. Senders usually want free publicity for a product, event or service. Most I view as informational. But some contain info worth passing on to readers. There's no future in doing that, if you're wondering. I'd be better off writing poetry. But never mind.

The upcoming Fruit Beer Festival is an event that deserves mention here. It's happening the weekend of June 6-8 in the parking lot at Burnside Brewing. I have some thoughts on the venue, which I'll get to momentarily. What you need to know, if you don't already, is that this is a pretty good beer event.

This is the Fourth Annual Portland Fruit Beer Festival. The reason it's become a great event is the taplist is first rate. The 50+ beers and ciders they'll serve up will be similar in quality to what you saw at the recent FredFest, if you were lucky enough to attend that shindig. The PFBF list is here. Keep in mind they will have an additional 25 or so mystery kegs and firkins appearing on rotating taps both days. Good stuff.

The festival kicks off with a pre-Fest Pig Roast Dinner at East Burn on Wednesday, June 4. They plan to feature beers from their annual homebrew competition and there will be sneak previews of some festival entries. At $50 a pop, you may want to skip the pig and save your pennies for the actual event. You didn't hear that here. I'm sure it will be a well-attended party.

Honestly, the single worse thing about this event is the venue. It's too small. After the second year, the PFBF probably should have moved to a park or comparable site. Or offered drinking sessions. It was so packed on Saturday last year that it was tough to move around. It took 20 minutes or more to get many beers. Of course, the weather was perfect last year. If it goes sideways, the venue may be just fine this year. June festivals are like that in Oregon.

One of the things they've done this year, essentially an effort to alleviate overcrowding, is offer a Friday night VIP session. Makes sense. The cost is $30 for a glass and 12 tickets, but Friday night attendance is limited to 300...which means access to the beers, including some special tappings, will be more or less assured. If you're interested in the VIP session, do not delay...tickets are sure to go fast. Early birds, ya know.

General Admission and VIP tickets can be had on the event website. General Admission tickets cost $20 for the same glass and ticket count as the VIP version. Be advised a ticket won't get you a taste of every beer on the menu. Some will set you back two tickets or more. Still, the worse thing that can happen is you'll have to contend with lines, particularly if the weather is good.

You need to know that tickets, if bought in advance online, will cost you an extra couple of bucks. That logic mystifies me. Event organizers (across the board, not just here) should be encouraging people to purchase tickets in advance to smooth the flow of traffic at entry points. Charging more online than at the door has exactly the opposite effect. Not the brightest.

Regardless of its issues, this is one of those events where you just have to look the other way and go for it. The beers are that good. Food will be available and you can even bring along to kiddies, if you wish. There's a lot more info on the website. It's sure to be a good time. Trust me.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Connecting Kauai's Beer Dots

Poipu, Kauai - As vacation destinations go, Kauai is what you make of it. The island has a lot to offer. If you want to see spectacular geography, you're in business. If you like surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, boogie boarding, golf, zip-lining, hiking or sea critter watching, this place is for you.

Possibly the most challenged visitor is the beer geek. That's because, as numerous people have told me, "Kauai is a beer desert." To a large extent, it's true. Most of the mainstream bars and restaurants have tap lists that would only turn heads in Portland and other beer-centric locales because they are so meek.

But the geography of beer is changing here. People on this island, whether locals or tourists, are starved for good beer. Craft beer, increasingly, is a poorly kept secret. The popular Kalapaki Joe's sports bar offers a growing beer selection. Other places are following suit...or will.

My treat this trip was a Thursday evening engagement at the Kauai Beer Company in downtown Lihue. I visited this place last October, a month or so after they opened. It was a pretty spartan arrangement. The place is much changed today. They've got a growing staff, an evolving beer list and a plan. The sweet smell of success is in the air...and it's not just the bubbling wort.

Thursday is a special night at the KBC. A short while ago, they launched Truck Stop Thursday. Several food cart trucks park out front and offer up a selection of fare. The atmosphere is festive, with a combination of locals and tourists packing the joint. There were lines for beer and food.

The fact that KBC is doing well illustrates the progress here. The combination of fresh beer and local food is a gigantic hit. They expect to have their own food and more promotions soon. The place is exploding. I'll have a more to say about KBC in an article for BeerAdvocate. Watch for it.

Getting back to the point of this piece, it's always amusing to discover connections to Portland when I'm on safari. Because our fair city adopted craft beer early on, we have a lot of connections to the developing industry around the country and world...including Hawaii.

At dinner the other night, I ordered a bottle of Big Island Brewhaus Overboard IPA. I was surprised to see it on the menu in this beer desert, but there it was. The beer has more in common with San Diego IPAs than Oregon IPAs...meaning it isn't as bold on aroma and flavor as it might be. Still, pretty damn good.

It turns out Big Island Brewhaus is the brainchild of Tom Kerns, who launched a brewery in the Philippines and helped open what became Maui Brewing. Once upon a time, Kerns earned his brewing stripes at McMenamin's, apparently working at several of their brewpubs. Kerns and his wife, Jayne, founded Big Island in 2011. They specialize in quality small batches. Portland connection No. 1.

Then there's Kauai Beer Company. I knew two of the brewers passed through Portland on their way to Kauai. What I did not know is that the KBC brewhouse was once part of the Portland brewing scene. It's a small world, right?

You may recall the defunct Roots Brewing Company, operated by Craig Nicholls for about five years before being shuttered in 2010. When he abruptly closed the brewery, the hardware went into storage. Several years later, the Kauai Beer Company bought it and uses it today. Portland connection No. 2.

Well, the warm tropical days and time spent playing in the salt water are nearing an end. It's been fun, as always. The beer situation here is improving and I like to pace of life. But home beckons. The Labs have been locked up and are anxiously awaiting our return. See ya in a few days, Portland.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Putting the Sting on Craft Beer in Hawaii

Poipu, Kauai - Setting foot outside the People's Craft Beer Republic of Portland can be a sketchy business. Our beer choices are virtually unlimited. Then you swoop into some foreign land or state and find the pickings mighty slim. Such is the case in much of Hawaii.

If you want to be blown away by a lousy selection of beer, I suggest Stinger Ray's Tropical Bar and Grill at the Honolulu airport. Honestly, I've been in this place before...many times. I may not have been as picky in those days. A couple of Kona beers might have been enough to appease me. Not now.

I realize this is an airport bar mostly full of tourists in transit to outer islands or the mainland. Fine. But the draft list here is abominable. And never mind the prices...highway robbery! The choices: Shock Top, Boston Lager, Kona Longboard, Goose Island IPA, Stella and Bud Light. Nothing worthwhile in bottles, either.

I sucked it up and ordered the Goose IPA. Not terrible...or great. Goose beers started showing up in Hawaii a few trips ago, not long after Anheuser-Busch bought them out. I remember seeing Goose Island handles in a brewpub on Kauai and being astonished. Today, the standard line-up in many island bars is Kona, Goose, Bud, Shock Top, etc. Shabby stuff.

There are two major beer distributors in Hawaii...Paradise (MillerCoors) and Anheuser-Busch of Hawaii. Looking at that dreadful Stinger Ray's tap list, it occurred to me that the AB people are winning the tap handle battle. All but Boston Lager are AB brands. The formation of Maui-Stone Distributing (story here) is altering the craft beer landscape for visitors and residents of Maui, but the timing for the rest of the islands is uncertain for now.

Seeing all that Shock Top and Goose IPA made me briefly wonder if perhaps AB's el-cheapo keg program (mentioned here a few weeks back) might be in play in Hawaii. My sources can't say. I seriously doubt it. AB is losing market share and tap handles like crazy in the Northwest. That's why they introduced the cheap kegs. No reason to do that here...they're doing fine.

Speaking of that program, I've heard some rumors of it backfiring. It works like this: AB goes into a bar and gets them to replace a craft handle with Shock Top. Seems like a win. Days later, the rep of the lost handle comes in and gets the bar manager to replace an AB brand (Kona or Widmer are likely suspects) with a full-priced craft brand. Wherever this is happening, AB is effectively trading a profitable handle for a loss leader...not the best financial bargain.

The other thing that's apt to happen longterm is brand equity damage to Shock Top and Goose. AB hoped to alleviate this by limiting fire sale discounting to kegs, while packaged pricing didn't change. The problem is, how do you get bars to pay $110 for kegs of Shock Top and Goose Island when they've been paying half that? The answer is, you don't. Or you have a hard time.

Oh well. Time to catch some rays and drink a decent beer.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Portland's Craft Beer Market Share Understated

Last week's piece that announced craft beer's emerging control of Portland's beer market drew a firestorm of traffic, a lot of it from reddit.com. I like that. It also drew quite a few 'Hoorahs!" from folks happy to see the news. Alas, the data from which the conclusions were drawn might be considered a crock.

Don't misunderstand. The numbers are accurate as far as they go. It's just that they're wildly incomplete in several ways...which I'll get to. They paint only a sketchy picture of what's actually going on. The blunt reality is that craft beer is almost certainly in a far more dominant position in Portland then last week's piece suggested.

The overriding reason for the disparity is under-sampling retail and complete blindness to draft sales. You will recall that IRI (Information Resources, Inc.) is the market research organization that buys scan data from grocery stores, convenience store chains, etc. Good stuff, as far as it goes.

Packaged beer
Let's first deal with under-sampling in packaged beer. Because the IRI buys data mostly from large grocery stores and chains, it leaves a huge amount of significant data on craft beer (and other stuff) on the table. How can that be?

The answer is that Portland (like a lot of cities) has a large number of independent (mostly small) grocery and convenience stores that aren't part of IRI data collection. Specialty stores like New Seasons and Whole Foods, which sell a lot of craft beer, also aren't included, sources tell me. Bottleshops are in the same boat...not part of the mix, either.

If you look at all the places craft beer is sold around the city in packaged form, you quickly realize the IRI data paints a partial picture at best. Instead of the 45 percent shown in last week's graphic, craft beer likely accounts for around 60 percent of dollars in packaged sales. Keep in mind that's for Portland. The number drops outside the city core, where yellow beer still has some appeal.

Draft beer
Some people commented on the absence of draft data in last week's post. Draft is far more difficult to track than packaged sales for some fairly obvious reasons, and it isn't part of what IRI collects. In fact, no one really knows how much draft beer is sold in Portland. We just know it's a huge number.

After talking to some industry folks, I came to understand the draft figure is much larger than I imagined. Portland's core consumes draft beer like there's no tomorrow. The national average for draft consumption in cities and towns is around 30 percent. A reliable industry source told me Portland's number is 50-60 percent by volume, over 60 percent in dollars. Another source said that number is probably accurate.

One thing I need to mention is that no one seems to know where growlers fit in. This is draft beer sold for consumption off-premise. Brewpubs and beer-centric establishments that fill growlers surely track those sales differently than beer sold for on-site consumption. But we have no exposure to the numbers.

Grocery stores are another matter. More and more stores fill growlers. Yet no one I talked to could tell me how those sales are tracked. I suspect Fred Meyer, which recently joined the growler craze, tracks growler fills alongside packaged beer sales, and passes that data on to IRI. It might be hard to extract growler fill data from packaged sales. So it's a blank page for now.

Reality check
If you look at where craft sales are underreported or not represented in IRI data, you quickly realize craft market share in Portland is significantly higher than the 45 percent shown last week. Craft may have only recently passed the combined packaged sales of Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors in IRI stores, but it has surely dominated the overall picture for several years, at least.

Forming a statistical representation of the Portland beer market is a bit of a guessing game. That's because there's so much missing hard evidence. Nonetheless, looking at the likely scenarios for draft and packaged product, you have to conclude craft owns more than 60 percent of the PDX market in dollars.

So the IRI numbers used in last week's post aren't wrong and they aren't even a crock, really. But they are so woefully incomplete that they present a skewed picture of what's happening. You have to look deeper.

Given all that, we really ought to take another look at Seattle and San Francisco, the top craft markets in the country behind Portland. Both are probably craft-dominant at this point. If you could see data from all sales channels, both likely passed combined AB/MC dollar share a while ago.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Delusional in Denver: Pete Coors and Craft Beer

There are some things about the craft beer movement that seem to be completely lost on the kings of macro. Pete Coors, the 67-year-old head of MillerCoors, revealed his disconnect from reality in a recent conversation with the Denver Post.

Mr. Coors seems to completely miss the point that a paradigm shift in tastes has occurred, a shift that is working against yellow beer. Instead, he cites a litany of delusional reasons for the declining fortunes of macro beer.

For starters, Mr. Coors suggests that pesky bar owners are to blame. These turncoats have become "enamored" with craft beer and are removing macro tap handles and replacing them with craft handles. Macro beer then lives in bottles behind the bar.

With respect to bar owners, most of them were slow to embrace the craft beer concept. When they did, it was because that's what their customers demanded. You provide craft beer to your customers or you don't have any customers...or enough to stay in business. Simple.

Of course you're going to replace macro handles with craft beer. That's what your customers want and it's far better to have a product that moves on tap. Relegating macro to bottle status is a smart move. In a growing number of craft-centric cities, macro tap handles are becoming an endangered species.

Give Mr. Coors credit for inventiveness. He points to research conducted by MillerCoors that suggests people stick around longer and spend more in establishments where light beer is served. There's a clever algorithm and app that helps explain it all for these businesses, he says. Real handy.

Again, the problem you run into if you're serving primarily macro beer is customers . The algorithm may be perfectly workable, but it misses the point that consumers seeking a better product aren't going to frequent establishments that don't serve it. They'll go elsewhere. Nice try, though.

Mr. Coors has a puff of reality when he talks about Millennials, the generation driving much of the present growth in craft beer. They don't own houses or drive cars, Coors says, but they will spend good money things they value...craft beer being one of those things. There's an element of truth there.

The fact is, MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch are in a bind with the Millennial crowd. The kids prefer craft beer at least partly because they perceive it as being less corporate. MillerCoors and AB would like to win this crowd over, but they seem unable imagine an effective way to do it.

It may well be that Pete Coors and his ilk are frozen in another era, a time when macro dominated. His favorite beer, he says, is Coors Banquet Brand, which he's been drinking for decades. Banquet beer made Coors a force well before the iconic 70s flick, Smokey and the Bandit, made it legendary. You could only get it in some states, so people hoarded and smuggled it.

Oddly enough, Coors tried to restore some luster to the Banquet brand in 2012, when Mr. Coors and his son embarked on a nationwide promotional tour. The timing was a little off. Craft beer was relentlessly gobbling up macro market share at the time, and has been ever since. Some dogs, even tried and true ones, just don't hunt in this market.

At some point, you wonder if the large brewing companies aren't merely relics of another era, built to tap a mass audience with a marginal product and unable to adapt to change. Efforts to defend and revive dying brands seem like poorly formed strategies at a time when consumer tastes have fundamentally shifted, apparently for good. Time will tell.