Can't Be 'Em? Buy 'Em - Crowdfunding An AB InBev Takeover

15 December, 2017

While the campaign is more tongue-in-check the sentiment is real. is a well done statement spearheaded by the Brewers Association to establish a clear line between what is authentically independent craft brewed beer in the Craft Beer world and what is not. To help educate beer lovers about which beers are independently produced, the BA launched a seal touting independent craft brewers. Featuring an iconic beer bottle shape flipped upside down, the seal captures the spirit with which craft brewers have upended beer, while informing beer lovers they are choosing a beer from a brewery that is independently owned. To date, more than 2,700 small and independent craft brewing companies, representing more than 75 percent of domestic volume, have signed on to use the seal.


The launch of the crowdfuning campaign to raise $231,000,000,000 uses a page from ABI’s playbook. The global giant has purchased 10 formerly independent U.S. craft brewers within the last few years, starting with Goose Island in 2011 and most recently Wicked Weed out of North Carolina this year. Take Craft Back not only declares the importance of independent ownership of U.S. breweries, but also represents the craft brewing community’s intent to Take Craft Back from Big Beer. After all, independent ownership does matter to many beer lovers—and for good reason. Craft brewers put community over corporation, people and principles over profit, and beer over the bottom line.

If indie ownership wasn’t important, why wouldn’t ABI put its name on the labels of their acquired, formerly independent beer brands? Beer drinkers know that big brewers are buying up little brewers, but it’s hard to tell who has been purchased based on the beer label and packaging. People. We have the right to know who makes our beer. This gallant effort is a humorous rally call to bring attention to a serious issue: ABI’s intention to dominate and forever alter the beer market by presenting purchased brands as if they were truly, authentically independent—thus presenting an illusion of choice to distributors and retailers and narrowing real choice for us beer lovers. This type of illusion should not become a common marketplace reality.

Here in the U.S., craft brewers represent 98 percent of today’s 5,700 breweries, yet they only have less than 13 percent market share by volume. Think about that. Is that a balanced beer marketplace?

Now to reach the goal, they would literally need to raise $213 billion. But hey. Craft brewers are entrepreneurs and eternal optimists. It’s OK to dream. The astronomical number for this goal—the largest “crowdfunding” effort ever in the history of man and womankind as we know it—helps put the gigantic size of this one, specific global beer company in perspective. If everyone on the planet gave $10 to the campaign, we would still only be about a third of the way there. No, we’re not collecting actual dollars here, but instead are collecting pledges of support. Change is more likely to come from people choosing a craft beer from a small, independent brewer, but you get the idea. We also hope beer lovers seek out the new independent craft brewer seal that more than 2,500 brewing companies, and counting, are now incorporating into their marketing as the result of desiring to differentiate.