Beavertown’s Heineken deal: How the industry reacted
North London brewer Beavertown has sold a minority stake of its business to Heineken for £40 million after months of speculation in the beer world.
Predictably, members of the craft beer industry were at pains to share their two cents on the deal.
A number of businesses have pledged to boycott the brewer’s beers and its upcoming festival Beavertown Extravaganza, saying they are “f*cking gutted” about what the investment could mean for the independent beer industry.
Click through to see our picks of the most significant reactions…
Hey, folks. We have an announcement about Beavertown Extravaganza. pic.twitter.com/704x5ItbmX
— Cloudwater Brew Co (@cloudwaterbrew) June 21, 2018
Manchester’s Cloudwater Brewing wrote on Twitter that the team was planning to boycott beavertown’s upcoming festival, Beavertown Extravaganza.
Replying to a customer’s complaint, Cloudwater said: “If we’d known then what we know now, we wouldn’t have signed up for this year in the first place.”
We will no longer be selling Beavertown beers or attending Beaver Ex. I wrote this piece in 2015 but it seems very relevant today too https://t.co/36Jn93MRI3
— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) June 21, 2018
Another brewery to pull out of the festival was Brewdog. Founder James Watt took to Twitter and shared a blog post from 2015 to explain why the private equity-funded international brewer, which has been investing in craft cider producers and pub chains over the past year, was against the deal.
Last year, the company was valued at £1 billion after it sold a 22% stake to US private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners for £213 million, which included a £100m investment to fund the brewer’s global expansion.
The detail I’m genuinely curious about, and that wasn’t touched upon, in the lengthy Beavertown announcement is what percentage do Heineken now actually own?
— Ghost Whale (@GhostWhaleLDN) June 21, 2018
Brixton beer shop Ghost Whale, meanwhile, asked the question everyone was thinking: how much of Beavertown does Heineken own?
In the words of Ru Paul, we’ve made some decisions… and one of those is that we will no longer be selling Beavertown beer. We are gutted about this but we feel strongly that we need to be true to our principles & our support of independent beer: https://t.co/DX0tC19PgW pic.twitter.com/cizDuLOfwe
— Hop Burns & Black (@hopburnsblack) June 21, 2018
Hop, Burns & Black, a bottle shop-cum-record store-cum-artisan hot sauce purveyor in south London, announced on its website that it will stop selling Beavertown once it has cleared the remaining stock, despite the fact that its beers make up 8% of the shop’s total revenue.
“We are, frankly, f*cking gutted about this but we feel strongly that we need to be true to our principles and our support of independent beer.
“Beavertown has been hugely instrumental in developing the UK craft beer scene and to sell to Heineken (no matter what the share) feels, quite frankly, like a slap in the face.
Heineken – like AB InBev – does not have the health of the UK independent beer scene at heart. Dressing up this move as good for the consumer is just spin – in reality this is simply helping Big Beer chip away at the UK independent beer scene. As independent retailers whose business is also at risk from Big Beer’s targeting of the industry, we cannot support this.”
Ok, so what shall we talk about today then twitter🙃
Pictures speak a thousand words – and Twitter can’t handle everything we have to say at this moment…
Sad day for us – good day for the 3 people who get Heavy Lord for £10.
All #beavertown beers now discounted to clear pic.twitter.com/OEANKAPGO5
— indiebeer (@indiebeershop) June 21, 2018
Some chose to turn the news into a marketing opportunity. North London shop Indiebeer sold its entire Beavertown stock heavily discounted, along with the hashtag #selloutshelf.
The state of these numpties. I hope Heineken buys all the “craft” breweries and closes them down. https://t.co/SUioFQKtSz
— Christopher Snowdon (@cjsnowdon) June 22, 2018
Not all the reactions were negative. Free marketeer Chris Snowdon of the Institute of Economic Affairs called the craft brewers and beer fans complaining about the deal “numpties,” adding that he hoped Heineken would buy the lot of them just to shut them down (or up, either works).
Congratulations Logan and all the Beavertown team. Great people, making great beer. 👏 https://t.co/3HV7YTJ8I0
— Jonathan Downey (@DowneyJD) June 21, 2018
Jonathan Downey, founder of foodie marketplace Street Feast and its parent firm London Union, congratulated Beavertown on its £40 million windfall.
So many opinions tweeting around about Beavertown. You know when you like a band for their first couple of albums and you see them as a support act and at festivals a few times, and then go see them on their own, maybe get a t-shirt, and then they get signed & have a hit and all
— Silver St Brewing Co (@silverstbrew) June 22, 2018
Bury-based microbrewery Silver Street had what the author considers the best response to the news; a six post-strong, stream of consciousness-style Twitter thread comparing craft beer to the music industry.
EVERYONE HAVE A BEER
— Beavertown Brewery (@BeavertownBeer) June 21, 2018
By the end of the day, Beavertown’s social media managers were, understandably, exhausted.