When I was in college all I drank was crappy beer. We were big fans of Natty Boh (National Bohemian), Beast (Milwaukee’s Best), and all the other garbage beers. A group of us almost got a silver bullet tattooed on our chests because we were drinking so much Coors Light. I’m glad we decided that was a bad idea.
Somewhere towards the end of college I was having a party and a friend of mine (Mark Z.) showed up with a twelve pack of Pilsner Urquell. He told me to try his beer for the night instead of whatever I was drinking. That was the beginning of drinking better beer. That was just about the time that Brooklyn Brewery and a few other small breweries were starting to make the national scene with micro brews. I had a great time experimenting with what beers I could get my hands on. I went through most of the well known international brands, always looking for something better.
In 2008 InBev agreed to buy Anheuser-Busch, and I realized just how large big beer had become. At the time I was most upset by some of my beloved American brands being bought by a foreign country. As I began to look more closely, however, I came to understand that drinking those beers was just like eating at major chain restaurants, or buying my goods from big box stores. Something needed to change.
I already enjoyed locally brewed beers, so I made a point of drinking them when I had the chance in favor of the bigger beers that were on tap. What I didn’t realize is that a lot of the beers I thought were independent beers were actually made by the big beer companies. It was a masquerade meant to confuse the consumer. What finally brought this to light was watching the movie Beer Wars on Netflix. The craft beer movement was already in full swing, but that movie opened my eyes to the injustice of the big beer monopoly.
The final straw came on Labor day, September 5, 2011. My brother and I were hanging out and I had asked him to watch Beer Wars. Of course, we needed some beer to drink with this movie so we went to the store and I was relating to him how I was going to try and stay away from products by Anheuser-Busch, SABMiller, and Molson/Coors. We were in the store browsing and couldn’t figure out who made what. We decided on a 12 pack of St. Pauli Girl. It was on sale, and it would go down easy on a great End-of-Summer day.
When we got back to his house we looked up who made St. Pauli Girl. Anheuser-Busch was the answer. I was furious. How was I to know who made what beer. How could I tell with no prior knowledge what beer was made by what brewing company? It was then that I decided to start the website. I bought the domain and gave Chris a call. Chris is a great computer programmer and while I can do basic webstuff, I really wanted something that was going to be beyond my skill set. Our initial goal was to give people an easy way to determine if the beer they wanted was from an independent brewer or from one of the big beer companies.
It was from this point that the Beers to Avoid list was created.
Here’s to hoping that we can all work together to elevate the independent beers to the place they rightfully deserve in the marketplace.
Beer drinker, beer lover.