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I'm with those saying it's a good thing. It's great for Richard because after so many years in the vanguard creating the craft market, he's getting the benefit of all that work. It's good for us because it gets Emersons into places it wouldn't have been able to get without the link to Lion (which is good news for those of us who like good beer but have mates who like green bottle lager). And it's good for Lion because they know that 'craft' is the only sector of the beer market growing.
It's that last point which should give the naysayers some comfort. Say whatever else you like about Lion, they know how to make money. They know craft is a way to increased earnings, so I'm going to imagine they're smart enough not to fuck with it and ruin it.
Greig's right and we should celebrate the fact that LN have seen a really good brewery and decided to invest in it. Times have changed a great deal since Mac's was bought. People's palettes have refined and their knowledge of what's good and what's not is much clearer. Just a f'rinstance, who owns Cloudy Bay, doyen of the NZ Cab Sav explosion. Pernod Ricard. Noticed any drop in quality from their lead wines? No. In fact their French owners demand more of them than ever, I'll bet; perform or die.
F*ck it, Richard and shareholders deserve some payolla from years of sweat investment where they literally created the craft beer industry from scratch. Those of you who say 'that's me, never touching it again', well more fool you and by the way, thanks for nothing. I say respect his choice and judge LN on the beer that's subsequently produced. I think you'll find in a blind test, you can't tell the size of the business that owns the brewery whose beer you're drinking.
Its very interesting to read everyone's responses on this matter...I have some questions about the general situation...
Why do 'we' drink 'craft beer'?
Is it because we want to support local 'craft' brewers? Maybe. However, if a local Craft brewer made average/crap beer would I drink it simply because they are craft brewers? Nope probably not. Im not going to drink something on principle. I drink craft beer because of how it tastes...I like to entertain my senses and taste buds. So therefore if it falls into the Craft category, so be it. But if it was made by one of the big two (or three) what would I do?
If Lion or DB produced the best beer in NZ (obviously subjective), but it was not considered Craft Beer, would no one drink it? I assume some people wont, because of who produces it.
But for people who love good beer, why wouldn't you drink it. It goes back to why I drink craft beer - because of how it tastes. So if Lion start making an example of the best beer in NZ, I will sure drink it. If they make a Hop bomb better than anyone else in the country of course I would buy it.
Will I stop drinking Emersons as it stands? No, why would I...I like their Beer. Im drinking their beer. not indulging my senses in who owns the company.
If however quality of the product changes, then maybe I will stop drinking Emersons (but the quality would have to drop a fair bit as they produce such great beers).
So for me, isn't it all about the quality of the product we all love?
Good on Richard Emerson.
+1 from me, I couldn't give two shits who brews it if it is good.
Either Emerson's beers remain the same quality (which is far from amazing btw) and people continue to buy them, or they become crap like Monteith's and they lose their customers.
I'd have 'sold out' like Emerson in a heart beat.
Good grief, its going viral...
I get their point though.. this "exclusive arrangements" in many bars is often why I just walk past looking for something good elsewhere. (I really hate the Auckland airport bar and its stink selection, Speights Old Dark is the only drinkable thing there).
I think the Free House's reasons for cutting Emersons are valid. However, I disagree with HZ's reason- I thought their main policy was 'no crap on tap'. Clearly Emersons does not fall into that category.
With reference to Speights old dark, has anyone tasted the Speights Pilsner lately? It used to be an ok beer but now it is a pale imitation of it self and is called a '3 Hop Pilsner'.
Maybe they have dumbed it down because have got Emerson's Pilsner and can only use so many hops now in Speights Pilsner as not many will buy the Speights one because have got Emerson's one