Widmer and Redhook Unite...yawn

Unless you don't read any other beer news outlets, you already know that Widmer and Redhook are teaming up to become the third largest craft brewer, and break into the top ten overall, with about 600,000 bbl annual production. All I have to say is "yawn".

The only Widmer I've had is the hefeweizen, which was fine, but not really spectacularly memorable. Based on their ads, I thought they were less micro and more macro, sort of like a Blue Moon, or even whatever Micheolb calls their beers in different styles. And while Widmer is owned by Anheuser-Busch, they apparently maintain some craft cred overall.

Back in the day, like mid-90's, Red Hook was cool. They were one of a few, and I got a lot out of them in those days. To me, they sort of remained in my past, and perhaps I now take them for granted. To me they are just unexciting and verging on mild. I group them with Harpoon, Sam Adams, Otter Creek, etc. I would drink them if offered them, but for the most part, I am not likely to buy them. Although at least Otter Creek has their big beer series, which is commendable.

In fact, today at the local liquor store (not any sort of special beer store, but above average), I was going to buy a Sam Adams Winter Ale just to try it again. I found Sam Adams to be $8.29 for any style. Then I noticed Dogfish Head was $7.99. I just could not resist my first six pack of Indian Brown Ale at 7.2% ABV for less than a plain ol' Sam Adams Winter. What ever happened to economy of scale? Shouldn't Sam Adams' beer, which is made probably at tenfold the volumes of DFH, be at least the same price? And I always felt DFH had a reputation as being overpriced.

So what are we to do when two "boring" micros merge? Nothing. This is really about the same as Miller and Coors joining forces. It just seems somehow pointless. Consolidation helps them run their businesses at a better profit margin perhaps, and could widen their customer bases. But it is a fact in this country today that people like new beers that taste exceptional. Until Widmer-Redhook do something new and interesting in the product department, it won't make a difference.

No comments: