Chicago Business has a lengthy, but interesting, article online about the beer market in the windy city. It’s entitled Pay-to-play infects Chicago beer market, Crain’s investigation finds, and was written by a trio of reporters: James Ylisela Jr., David Sterrett and Kate MacArthur.
Corruption, of course, infects virtually all business everywhere and while Chicago has an elevated reputation because of its history, it seems to me what is exposed here is happening in many places. When it comes to the smaller breweries, most just understand that they can either go along with it or not, based on their own individual company philosophy. I don’t think it makes any one of them good or bad, it’s just different responses to the markets in which they’re trying to sell their products. In a sense, there’s a trade off with the three-tier system. It has advantages and disadvantages that manifest themselves in different ways in different states. That’s what the film Beer Wars tried to expose, which is simply the uneasy way in which the beer industry actually works.
But give it a read and let me know what you think. Oh, and be sure to read all the comments, too.