Middle-of-Road Beer = Big Bucks = Happy Shareholders. MOR Beer Therefore = Smart Beer

I know that among the beer geeks, this is the standard view: Big Breweries make bland beer. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and disagree (which, yes, I so hate to do. Stan is smarter than me and he’ll likely chop up this post and use it to mop his floor. . . .) Big Breweries make profits. They do so in order to make shareholders happy. That’s what they do, because their owners went into business to make lots and lots of money.

And the way they could make money was by making beer that appealed to the largest number of people. Which, by definition, is a beer that contains a balance of malt and hops. Not a malt-rich beer.

Not a beer stuffed with as many hops as the brewer could stuff into it using his keeno, whiz-bang, hops-stuffing device. It’s a beer that hits the middle road and therefore appeals to the most potential buyers.

Ain’t no one, and I mean no. one., gonna get Big Rich making beer only for the roughly 50% of the population that prefers the flavor of hops.

Ain’t no one gonna get Big Rich by making beer only for people like me, who prefer the flavor of malt.

The people who will make Big Bucks (and make their shareholders happy) are the ones who hit the sweet spot in the middle. So: it’s not bland beer. It’s smart beer.

(Because of the book I’m working on. I’ve been spending a lot of brain power lately thinking about how capitalism works, and why and how big corporations grow — and thereby attract shareholders, and then grow more by making shareholders happy.)

2 thoughts on “Middle-of-Road Beer = Big Bucks = Happy Shareholders. MOR Beer Therefore = Smart Beer

  1. Maureen – I wrote, and cut, a sentence that said bland is what most people want and will continue to be what most people buy.I agree with you that they are smart. And I also agree with much of what you’ve written in the past about the emphasis A-B put on quality.I worry, since they’ve been a great supporter of the Halltertau hops region, about what happens to the hops growers there when the bean counters step in. But that’s aside.Back to mainstream US beers. If my library weren’t packed in boxes write now I’d give you 10 quick footnotes where beer authorities describe them as bland.Balanced, yes. Middle of the road, yes. Appealing to the widest possible audience, yes. But bland. And leaving an opportunity for those who do something else.Geez, that was long enough. I could have made it a post, couldn’t I?

  2. It’s never too long when it’s from you!I think what set me off (not, of course, that it takes much) is that when people are talking beer, the word “bland” is pejorative. No one means it as a compliment and the criticism is more than implied.So it seems to me, who, again, is the beer-outsider, that amongst the beer folk, bland = bad and, worse, it = some kind of nefarious scheme to screw consumers.And I have no doubt you could round up ten sources in about ten seconds flat.I should also add that of course some non-bland-brewers are getting rich. J. Koch, Grossman — and Koch has shareholders. But I suspect if we examined the company’s books, we’d find that his middle-of-the-road lager is what’s paying the bills.Anyway – that wasn’t nearly the floor-mopping I expected!


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