My friend Maureen Ogle, who wrote Ambitious Brew — The Story of American Beer, weighed in with an op-ed piece on the proposed InBev takeover of Anheuser-Busch in the Washington Post over the weekend. The original version had a typically snarky quote from yours truly, but the Post editors saw fit to excise me from the final version. It’s probably just as well. Maureen’s singular voice comes through much better without side opinions mucking things up.
Like me, Ogle believes the deal is a bad one overall, but views it with a certain inevitability. I’m firmly against the takeover, but only because I believe it will be bad for the beer industry as a whole, and has the potential to really harm craft brewers’ access to market. But the whole affair seems a perfect illustration of that old saw, “those who live by the sword, die by the sword,” playing out in real time. For that reason, it’s hard to muster much sympathy for the Busch family who, like InBev right now, have invoked the “it’s just business” mantra to excuse their behavior countless times over their nearly 140-year history.