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Do you know your beer dinosaur’s ‘born on’ date?

Let’s play connect the dots:

– Why those long trips can kill your wine. Beer is just as vulnerable.

– Anheuser-Busch InBev has decided its beer really has a longer shelf life than previously advertised and is dropping the “born on” date for its smaller brands (which just might be the ones that don’t sell as quickly).

Thanks to Charlie Papazian for pointing out this story. It has generated a firestorm of comments, so set aside a little time and go read them. Just for fun, one of my favorites:

Wait for the announcement that InBev has found a way to “without affecting quality” shorten the brewing process.

– Now stick with me for a paragraph or two. Maureen Ogle often comments on the future of print, meaning both books and newspapers, so maybe this won’t seem like such a leap. Thoughts from Bill Wyman’s Hitsville blog:

But let’s face it, most newspapers sucked in all sorts of ways, and one of the main ways was opting toward blandness and timidity wherever possible, as as not to offend the older folks subscribing to the papers.

The truth was, it didn’t matter what they published. People just subscribed to newspapers! For the ads, because they always had, some even for the news. . . . Now, things are different. Online, you have to publish stuff people want to read, or fashion it to seem that way.

What happens if you replace the word newspaper with big breweries, publish with brew, read with drink and consider craft breweries are as “disruptive” as online publications?

Do you see any dinosaurs in the room?

There’s a lot going on in St. Louis these days — I hope we’re going to be able to spend a few days there next month — that’s interesting to watch even if you don’t want to drink the beer. And I expect you, I and the guys who’ve been drinking Bud at the corner bar for 30 years don’t necessarily see things the same way. (You might be shaking your head at my newspaper analogy, but then that’s where I used to work.)

My view: Big breweries created opportunity for small-batch breweries by only offering incredibly bland beer. Now Inbev brings ruthless cost-cutting to the game. Perhaps the company’s consummate skills in the marketplace will crush the competition, but it looks to me like more opportunity for small-batch breweries. But remembering it takes more than “simply” brewing beer with flavor. It takes the skill to get that flavor clear to our glasses.


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