Page 5 of 5
Speaking of that something else… what's your take on the proliferation of the "crafty beer" movement?
My outlook on it is somewhat philosophical. Am I annoyed? Yes. It's very annoying to see people who are not you walking around dressed as you and claiming to be you, essentially, and using the advantages they have to try to get people to think, "beer is beer, it's all the same," etc. What I say to people is, take the big breweries, and anyone, anyone in the room I'm in, sometimes hundreds of people, can you name the brewmaster? Anyone got a name? No, there is no name. There's no name. There's nothing but money. And money moves, and this liquid moves around the world, and there's nothing but money. If you want to understand what it's about, it's about money. And we are about something else. If we were about money, we know what the answer is to the question, "What's the thing that's going to be the most popular?" There are ways of doing this. Focus groups can tell you all these things. We've never asked anybody what they thought about our beer. We're glad people like it, but that's a different thing. So we really are a different animal than they are, and I don't accept this idea that beer is just beer.
However, the other side of it is, what did you expect the big breweries to do? The writing's on the wall. Things are only going in one direction. They can read the writing on the wall as well as we can. Did you expect that these breweries were going to die? Because I think there are a lot of really smart guys at these places. What else are they gonna do? They can see that this is where the juice is, and it's where it's going to be in the future. So everything they want to do is on our turf. So we just have to get used to the fact that this is a sign that we're winning. We don't have to be happy about it, but when you're winning, it's important to win gracefully. There's a lot to complain about, and we all get in a room and bitch to each other about it, but at the end of the day it's only because we're doing a good job.