With Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors, Sapporo, and other beer behemoths snapping up craft brewers left and right, the Craft Brewers Association is asking why this acquisition spree can’t also go the other way, which is why it’s trying to crowdfund a mere $213 billion to buy AB InBev, and then do… something, maybe, with it.
The group says its “Take Craft Back” effort is aimed at buying AB InBev, which it claims has taken the independence of real craft brewers as well as stealing customers’ freedom of choice.
“Since 2011, Anheuser-Busch InBev has quietly acquired 10 small and independent breweries, but they won’t tell you that on their packaging,” said the face of the campaign, a guy named Andy who appears in a campaign video for the group, and is identified only as “an avowed lover of craft beer.”
“Big Beer creates an ‘illusion of choice,’ but we are presenting them with a reality check — and hopefully, at the end of the day, with a real check too,” Andy said.
On its campaign site, the group accuses corporate overlords at Big Beer of buying up all of certain hop varietals to keep it out of the hands of independent brewers, even though they didn’t need or use the hops.
In addition, Take Craft Back claims on its site that these major companies buy up craft breweries “left and right,” and then use their “sheer financial mass to make sure that independent craft brewers who refuse to sell out get pushed to the margins.”
As of Monday at about 1:45 p.m. ET, the campaign’s site indicated it had received $265,160 worth of pledges. The group says pledges will only be collected after all $213 billion has been secured.
Yes, this is all pretty clearly just a publicity stunt by the craft brewers, but what if — just, what if — every adult in the U.S. each contributed $1,000, and miraculously made this thing happen? What would AB InBev’s new owners do with their new purchase — Break it up? Turn the factories over to homebrew aficionados? Start releasing Bud Light that tastes like something? It would be madness… though it will never actually happen.