THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed — Whatever. Localism is the salve for your cognitive dissonance.


It’s been roughly a week since Wicked Weed Brewery sold out to AB InBev, qualifying the story as ancient news in an era of attention spans measured by the length of a gnat’s middle finger.

I’ve used the occasion to play a set of best-loved ditties (below), but today, a new song.

Or, you might choose to return to your swapping, ratings, selfies and narcissism; however, if anyone is interested in learning something, let the Pour Fool provide a brief lecture, prefaced by a few comments of my own.

THE BEER BEAT: The Pour Fool nails it yet again, as “Budweiser Finds Another Sell-Out” — this time, Wicked Weed.

Like others before it, Wicked Weed Brewing has died. That’s unfortunate, indeed, but from the moment the ownership of Wicked Weed passed to AB InBev, this previously independent brewery was transformed into something else. Now it’s Wicked Trojan Zombie Afterlife Weed. We’ll always have our memories. Speaking only for myself, I wouldn’t drink a WTZAW beer with Donald Trump’s lips. There are hundreds of other choices, and no commensurate need to deposit money in the coffers of the enemy. It was nice while it lasted, but it’s all over now.

At Indiana On Tap, Mark Lasbury makes a laudable effort to grope forward and explain the cognitive dissonance, which might be defined as the nagging fear that something’s not quite right.

How To Kill The Wicked Weed Growing In The Garden Of Craft Beer, by Mark E. Lasbury (Indiana On Tap)

AB-InBev is acquiring Wicked Weed. That bit of information almost broke the craft beer channels of the internet Wednesday, but the trend started long before then and will continue long into the future, unless there is a concerted effort on the part of craft beer brewers and drinkers. I don’t know much about business, but here is an opinion, a fact, and a question that keeps hurting my brain.

Beer isn’t the only topic to suffer from historical amnesia. Given current events, it is by no means the most important topic we might be discussing in this context, and yet it remains (in the words of the philosopher) that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Whatever else might be said about AB InBev and the multinationals, we can be sure they remember the past — and are determined to repeat it.

The “craft” brewing revolution broke out because it was necessary to fight on behalf of change, both within and against prevailing capitalist and regulatory orthodoxies. Still, the revolution did not seek to abandon capitalism, or to deny the veracity of regulation. Rather, it sought necessary modifications, and in the main, these have been achieved.

But there is no action without an opposite and equal reaction, and that’s why the AB InBev empire strikes back against threats to its hegemony, and in the only way it can: with lots and lots of money … and scorched earth. Monolithic corporations attain their clout with cash and brass knuckles — now, always, forever.

There are plenty of laws that might be enacted to put AB InBev in its place, but these are unlikely to be written, because who benefits the most from robber baron multinationals if not the politicians accepting their campaign contributions?

Accordingly, if vile politicians give money to AB InBev with the aim of preserving monopolies and suppressing choice, why would you even consider doing the same — even if it’s your precious Bourbon County Stout?

As I write these words, there are thousands of local breweries in America pursuing a business model of brewing solid local beer for local consumption. They’re selling beer by the pint, growler, cans and bottles. Most of what they sell goes out the door in their own buildings. Their beer won’t be on a package store shelf two thousand miles away.

Accordingly, I can think of three very effective ways to reinvigorate the beer and brewing revolution. Dispense with the self-absorbed narcissism that diverts attention from the obvious, and think about concepts like …

Personal value systems
Individual consciousness
Acts of conscience

In various other areas of the human experience, progress is about every day, not every now and then. It’s about the fundamental undertow that prefaces civilization, a bedrock foundation from which creative expression arises. Evolution is to be encouraged, but change for the sake of change is the ideology of a hamster on his wheel.

Speaking for myself, it’s all about thinking globally and drinking beer locally. It’s about interacting with local breweries, giving them honest feedback, and watching them move forward. It’s about this bar, that room, and the patio over there — or the front porch of my house with a growler and a cigar.

It’s also about shift. The way we spend our money plays a large role in determining the sort of world in which we live. There’s no evading this fact, although there isn’t always an effective way to avoid playing the robber baron capitalist game.

That’s why the concept of “shifting” spending is so crucial. Whenever possible, I try to spend locally, within the community. It’s not all or nothing. It’s a conscientious individual act of consciousness reflecting a personal value system that needn’t be broadcast to a wider world in order to retain its validity.

Beer is communal to me. It’s not narcissism at all, and it isn’t hoarding via black markets. It isn’t necessary to calculate my purchases based on what I want you to see me drinking. Rather, it’s the intensely mystical nature of the liquid in the glass, a quality that is enhanced when I’m around good people, at good places, in the act of conversing, eating and enjoying life.

I was managing quite nicely to do without Wicked Weed. Now Wicked Weed has died, and it’s even easier for me not to care. But I do care about the locals in Asheville who believed in Wicked Weed.

They’re the ones who have the best reason to mourn. I’m sorry for their loss. May they feel peace, and start patronizing other breweries that live right.


Numerous other choices await. You’re invited to join me in making the revolution as locally based as is humanly possible.

And by the way: Fuck off, AB InBev.

Earlier this week:

Thursday: THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed — Whatever: “Localism + Beer” (2012).

Wednesday: THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed — Whatever: “Let’s explore anti-local craft beer unconsciousness” (2013).

Tuesday: THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed — Whatever: “This week in solipsistic beer narcissism” (2014).

Monday: THE BEER BEAT: Wicked, Weed — Whatever: “Tastes of paradise can shatter mirrors” (2014).

Also: Watch the Hands, Not the Cards — The Magic of Megabrew