We all saw that horrific Budweiser Superbowl ad which proudly denounced craft brewing in favor of “brewing the hard way” in a macrobrewery. And we all saw the various responses to it which range from defending the beer giant to general head shaking to all-out rage. I just have one question.
What is so hard about Macrobrewing, exactly?
Anheuser-Busch InBev (producer of Budweiser) has the ability to provide automated brewing facilities, brand new equipment, the highest degree of laboratory research and technology, and state of the art bottling and kegging lines. They can purchase brand new equipment when the old stuff gets worn. They can dedicate time, money, and personnel to cutting edge yeast research with gene splicing. While simultaneously nailing specifications by producing large quantities and diluting or blending until each batch hits data requirements perfectly. They can leave a beer in a fermenter longer than expected, because they have another tank open elsewhere. They can have all the raw materials they need with no battling or recipe changes. They can afford to have a well staffed brewhouse and cellar.
Yet, apparently when you’ve been brewing for nearly 140 years and you boast your beer hasn’t changed since then – this is brewing “the hard way”???
Let me tell you what IS brewing the hard way. What is hard is brewers and cellars fighting over what’s left in the hot liquor tank. What is hard is finding cellars to work in cold, wet conditions with used equipment that is reminiscent of Frankenstein’s monster. What’s hard is having enough cooler space. What is hard is throwing 10 bags of malt back to back. What is hard is finding enough room in your budget to pull together a MacGyver’d laboratory for your yeast propagation. What is hard is when that brew is 1% lower in ABV than the label, but you can’t afford to dump it, and there’s no extra tanks for blending. What’s hard is using an 8ft ladder to do hop additions to an 11ft tank. What’s hard is when the bottling line goes down but the broken part isn’t made anymore, so a specialized part has be manufactored in Germany (which arrives in two weeks). What is hard is transferring a beer to packaging, running caustic and sani on the tank, and then immediately pumping out from the brew house because you have no more tank space. What is hard is finding the right hops, battling for a share of them, and running out at the end of the season. These are everyday problems in every craft brewery.
These are problems that beer giants like AB no longer understand. Clearly. So please, tell me, tell BrewLab, and tell the interwebs what it means to be #brewedthehardway.
Discovered leaking zwickle clogged overnight #brewedthehardway