Monday, 9 July 2018

On acquisitions

[This was written in October 2017 but previously unpublished] 

We’re flying home to London having spent ten days in Southern California. It’s been a pretty eventful day so far. We arrived early for our flight, stood in line at check-in and got to the front a few moments later. Just as we were called forward, we saw the police move in to our left - alerted to a suspicious package. They assessed the risk as our check-in agent processed us and decided to evacuate the terminal. We left calmly and walked outside, the decision to shove a couple of beers we had no checked baggage room for into our hand luggage delivered immediate pay off as we enjoyed more of the endless Los Angeles sunshine. 

Half an hour or so later, we were air-side. Suspect package dispatched with impressive efficiency and TSA in uncharacteristically good spirits as they checked our bags. We rock up the the first bar we find, scan the small beer list and order pints of Golden Road IPA with a side of nachos. The beer is fresh, crisp and delicious with a resinous finish that keeps on delivering. The nachos fill a hungry hole. A second round follows soon after. And there's time for a third before our flight is called. 

I recalled reading how Golden Road sold out to AB-InBev a couple of years ago but at that point I couldn’t care less. I could be facing Bud as my only choice and this is a decent IPA given the context of an airport lounge. 

A few days earlier, I was sat at the bar at Ballast Point. Sculpin was tasting the best I’d ever tasted it in five visits to the brewery in as many years. Their new tap room is positioned to the side of their (huge) new brew house a mile or two away from the original site. Service is efficient and polite. The beer is of exceptional quality, so far showing no signs of billion dollar big business moving in to throw their craft to the wind. 

I cast my mind back to the can of Camden Pale I’d had the night before we departed on this trip - I’ve never tasted it better. It had the same bright freshness as the Golden Road IPA. An incredibly accomplished brew that delivers remarkable consistency these days. 

Around the same time Golden Road were acquired, I decided to invest a few pounds in Camden Town Brewery as they were crowd funding. I had to overcome some internal conflict to make that decision. I had friends who worked there (and still do) and a lot of admiration for what they’d achieved in a few short years but their fierce protection of the "Camden" trademark in one case had come across as over-zealous. 

Despite that initial internal conflict, I was engaged with their brand and even had my Dad trying Hells over his preferred macro lager. A few weeks after deciding to invest, I was handed my money back, with a sizeable percentage return, as Camden Town ditched the crowd funding in favour of being acquired by AB-InBev. In effect, they'd been made an offer they couldn't refuse which made their crowd funding target look like pocket money. 

"Your stake just got a HELLS of a lot bigger!" read the snappy e-mail which was soon followed by legal documents talking about drag along notices - the legalese telling me that Camden had sold my tiny share on. 

I should’ve been happy right? 

But it felt like being unfriended on Facebook. 

I’ve no issue with small breweries (or any business) getting bigger through investment. That's the right of their owners to do what they believe is the best thing for their business and its long-term objectives. I’ve no issue with the staff at Golden Road, Ballast Point or Camden Town Brewery - they’re clearly doing great things as they always have. 

However, what are the intentions of AB-InBev and the other big beer corporations acquiring smaller breweries? Did they purchase these brands as as side-project? Can they be like, "keep on brewing the fantastic beer you’re brewing and let’s see how far we can support you (and maybe distribute it) as we fuel your independent growth with you in full control” whilst they simultaneously continue to aggressively acquire lines and stifle all competition at the volume end of the market? 

I’m not so sure about that. 

They're diversifying their portfolio in an increasingly competitive market. When one global brand in that portfolio starts to decline, another will be thrust forward ready to take its place. That's just business. 


2 comments:

  1. APPLY TODAY FOR QUICK, AFFORDABLE AND RELIABLE BUSINESS/HOME/REAL ESTATES/COMPANY/PROJECT/PERSONAL LOAN OFFER WITHOUT COST/STRESS CONTACT US VIA Call/Text +1(415)630-7138 Email drbenjaminfinance@gmail.com

    GOOD NEWS!!!

    Do you find yourself in a bit of trouble with unpaid bills and don’t know which way to go or where to turn? What about finding a reputable Debt Consolidation firm that can assist you in reducing monthly installment so that you will have affordable repayment options as well as room to breathe when it comes to the end of the month and bills need to get paid? BENJAMIN LOAN INVESTMENTS FINANCE is the solution to your financial misfortune. We offer all types of loan ranging from $5,000.00 to $650,000,000.00USD with a low interest rate of 2% and loan duration of 1 to 35 years to pay back the loan secure and unsecured. Our loans are well insured for maximum security is our priority, Our leading goal is to help you get the services you deserve, Our program is the quickest way to get what you need in a snap.Reduce your payments to ease the strain on your monthly expenses by Contacting us on the following Call/Text +1(415)630-7138 Email drbenjaminfinance@gmail.com

    NOTE: GET YOUR INSTANT LOAN APPROVAL 100% GUARANTEED TODAY NO MATTER YOUR CREDIT SCORE. drbenjaminfinance@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Welcome. BE NOT TROUBLED anymore. you’re at the right place. Nothing like having trustworthy hackers. have you lost

    money before or bitcoins and are looking for a hacker to get your money back? You should contact us right away it’s

    very affordable and we give guarante to our clients. Our hacking services are as follows:
    -hack into any nkind of phone
    _Increase Credit Scores
    _western union, bitcoin and money gram hacking
    _criminal records deletion
    _Hacking of phones(that of your spouse, boss, friends, and see whatever is being discussed behind your back)
    _Security system hacking...and so much more. Contact THEM now and get whatever you want at
    Superior.hack@gmail.com
    +16692252253

    ReplyDelete