Last night, M and I watched Beer Wars by Anat Baron about the competition and monopoly style strangle hold the ‘Big 3’ have on the beer industry. She frames it in a very classic Goliath (Budweiser, Coors, Miller) v. David (local or small breweries) way.
What I didn’t know (not in any particular order): 75% of the people in charge of stocking beer at groceries, supermarkets and liquor stores work for Budweiser, 3 beer companies produce and sell 78% of the beer consumed in the US, Bud has 49% market share!, Coors and Miller were allowed to merger to ‘take on’ Bud, laws restrict smaller (read independent) breweries from delivering their beer to stores or bars, and the Beer Lobby spends billions of dollars each year to win support in Congress.
Granted, I did find Anat’s voice to be a little grating. But, she did raise some really great questions about monopoly, control, marketing, and the stifling of creativity.
I will most certainly be much much more aware of what beer I pick up, namely I will try to support more craft breweries, more local breweries, more honestly American and not corporate breweries.