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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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Three Pint Stance - Celebrate the independents!

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The Fourth of July is upon us and that means that the time has come for fireworks and beer and the celebrating of independence!

But this Independence Day can be about much more. Not only can we celebrate our independence from foreign monarchies, we can ALSO be celebrating our independence from foreign brewing conglomerates as well!

It should come as no surprise to readers of this column that the vast majority of pale, fizzy, light beer produced and consumed in our fair country isn’t even made by American-owned firms!

Did you know that Anheuser Busch is owned by ABInBev, a Belgian company? How about the fact that SABMiller, which used to be a South African-owned firm that owned all of the Miller brands of beer was recently purchased by ABInBev? And because it would create a monopoly for Bud and Miller to be owned by the same company in the US, they were forced to allow MillerCoors’ joint operation (yeah, Miller and Coors have been operated in the US by the same people for years, bet you didn’t know that either?) to continue to maintain the status quo in the US market.

I’m no market economist, but when companies are getting so large that they are encroaching upon the monopoly territory, I can’t see that as being a good thing for consumers.

I’ve mentioned ABInBev and MillerCoors here, and those names give you an idea of the big brands they represent, but did you know that ABInBev also owns these breweries:

10 Barrel Brewing

Blue Point



Devil’s Backbone

Four Peaks

Golden Road

Goose Island

Wicked Weed

And MillerCoors owns these brands:


Blue Moon





Terripin Brewing


It’s crazy to think about. All of these brews that you may have believed came from smaller-scale operations are in fact shaded by the same massive umbrella of every inexplicably-beloved mass-market domestic beer. Even as craft beer experiences proportionally huge growth, it still accounts for a relatively tiny percentage of overall sales. That monopoly talk is no joke.

So when you go to stock up for your Fourth of July festivities, look for locally-made beer. Additionally, you should also look for the Brewers Association’s Certified Independent Craft Seal on the label. Not every brewery is using the seal, but many of them are adopting it as an easy way to illustrate to consumers that they are indeed an independent brewery, and thus should be celebrated! Drink responsibly, drink locally, and drink smart!


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