Beer and Pavement

Goose Island Is Beer’s Sub Pop, Matador

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Rock vs. Beer by Zac on April 17, 2012

Folks were worried that Goose Island was ruined forever when they sold out to AB-InBev or whatever they’re called. It seems – at the moment, at least – that those worry warts were wrong.

According to this article from the Chicagoist, GI is using the unlimited resources of its master to expand their barrel program. What does that mean? It means that there will be enough Bourbon County Stout for year-round production.

Let that sink in for a moment.

One of the world’s best, most sought-after, and rarest beers is going to be a year-round release. There will simply be more of one of our favorite beers available at any time of the year. That’s a good thing, worry warts.

This reminds me of labels like Sub Pop and Matador signing big deals with major labels. These indies, realizing the limitations of their distribution and recording resources, signed away something like 49% of their companies to corporate interests in order to get some cash flowing. They then used this influx of capital to promote previously-unknown bands and to give them a boost in touring expenses and recording studios. The result is that they extended their reach and prolonged their lives as productive labels. The bands have benefited as well.

As mentioned above, Goose Island selling out signaled the end of craft breweries for some. However, if GI plays their cards right, it could mean more growth for them and continued struggles for corporate beer makers as their own flagship brands suffer in the wake of quality, craft beer.

So, is Goose Island beer’s Sub Pop or Matador?

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4 Responses

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  1. Rob said, on April 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Many of the worries had nothing to do with quality from the new servant of the Budweiser Zen Master. I heard many people say they would NEVER buy another GI beer b/c the cash went to the Evil Empire Overlord. So basically, I can’t wait to watch those people watch me drink BCS in the bathtub!

    I am guessing, though, that after mass distribution, that’s when to watch these evildoers and how their corporate monster board watches the bottom line to have a profitable company. This “expand at our cost” effort is clearly a ploy.

    • Zac said, on April 17, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      It still has a long way to go. My point was that this worked out fine for indie labels in the 90′s. So, why can’t it work out here. Still, it will be funny to watch those who have sworn off GI turn down a BCS. More for the rest of us, I suppose.

  2. Barleywhiner said, on April 18, 2012 at 10:01 am

    The only problem that I have with GI selling out is that their distributors are Bud distributors who could care less about selling such a small amount of beer. There used to be BCS on the shelves for months in KC, but the last two years it has been scarce. I haven’t been able to buy any in two years. We don’t get any Lolita, Juliet or the other interesting beers. Hopefully that will change.

    Your new layout is kind of weird. The comments are waaay down on the bottom.

    • Zac said, on April 18, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Yeah, the distribution part is troubling, but that was a similar concern with the music labels 15-20 years ago. I don’t think the lack of BCS is due to the AB deal. I just think it’s hard to keep up with demand. The article suggests that with more barrels will come more beer. Let’s wait and see…

      Yeah, I like the layout except for this fact. I’m not sure what to do about it. I could write longer posts, but that would mean less content. I’ll have to change something, possibly the layout again.


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