My thoughts on Beavertown…

We’ve been blessed these past two Bank Holiday weekends as they have been filled with glorious sunshine across most of the country. If you’re anything like me then that will have only meant one thing; even more excuse to drink beer! I have been keeping the stash topped up frequently with both purchases from my go-to local stores and also the supermarket (maybe a post or two about that later).

But whilst I was sat in the sun enjoying some beers new and old, there was somewhat of a ruckus amongst the fans of craft beer and potentially an impending storm. If you’re in on the scene, you’ll know the one I’m talking about but for those that aren’t then let me explain. Beavertown are a pretty successful craft brewer being one of my favourite and being very popular amongst many others too. They have tried their hands at many different styles, collaborated with many different breweries and are looking to open a large-scale production facility with a visitor centre to boot. So it’s no surprise that, when they may or may not be doing something that divides the community, it sparked a widespread debate.

What might they, or might they not, be doing though? Well the rumour mill is spinning and we are lead to believe that they have been (and maybe still are) in talks with Heineken, the brewing giant, with the intention that they will buy a minority share. This will see Heineken move into the craft scene whilst Beavertown will maintain the majority share of their own business (Potentially giving up 49% of the company). What does that mean to us beer drinkers? Well that depends on which side of the fence you sit but many think this will see the company sell out and move away from their roots, losing their ‘craft’ identity.

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People’s main concern, beyond their craft title, is the quality of the beer, the price and also their availability. By availability I mean their experimental beers and collaborations they do rather than sticking to a handful of tried-and-tested brews, much like a traditional brewery would. When all is said and done, does this really matter as long as the beer doesn’t suffer and we can still buy it as readily as before?

Well I don’t think so, but I get the concerns of the other beer lovers out there. I like going into my local beer shop and finding beers by the small guys, those who have just set up in their garage or a small business unit and gone out on a whim. If Beavertown did get bought up by Heineken, then that element of their identity could be lost. Let’s not forget though that they aren’t really a small operation anymore given that they turned over a net profit of £1.3m at the end of March 2017, much more so than some of the other craft producers out there.

Would it stop me from buying their beers? Probably not, although I might prioritise other brews out there to support the smaller guys out there over the likes of Gamma Ray or Neck Oil for instance. However, I would trust that Beavertown were doing the best thing for them as a business to ensure that they could continue to grow and entice more people into the craft scene. If rumours are to be believed and the investment from Heineken would go towards their visitor attraction dubbed ‘Beaverworld’ then would that not pull more people and money into the industry?

There are positives and negatives to this I find, if the investment is found to be true. Like I said, I get why some people would be put off buying their beer in the future but so long as the investment is put to good use then let us trust them to make the right call. At the end of the day, so long as they have a majority share, then they are in control of what they do. So long as Heineken agree and don’t pull the plug that is…

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