THE BEER BEAT: Just so you know, Devil’s Backbone is a Trojan Zombie Afterlife Brewery, Beer Necessities has perished, and AB InBev remains a pack o’vermin.


Look, everyone.

It’s another marvelous handcrafted “craft” brewer from somewhere else, coming to Louisville because … America.

Virginia brewery expanding distribution to Louisville, by Bridgett Weaver (Business First Louisville)

Beer ye, beer ye: A Virginia brewery, focused on lagers and other traditional German-style beers, soon will distribute to Louisville.

Devils Backbone Brewery, located in the hills of rural Virginia, will join Louisville’s growing brew options. It will appear on tap to Louisville bars and restaurants early next month, shortly after the Super Bowl. Bottle distribution at retailers, bars and restaurants is expected to start in April.

The reporter follows with a Horatio Alger-like story of a small, growing indie brewer, and that’s really nice and everything, but unfortunately she omits a highly pertinent fact: Since 2016, Devil’s Backbone has been stone cold dead, at least insofar as independent “craft” brewers are concerned.

You see, 2016 was when Devil’s Backbone was swallowed whole by the brewing python otherwise known as AB In-Bev, a fact that caused the Trojan’s Backbone Brewery an embarrassing problem back in August, 2016.

Amid deal with Anheuser-Busch, craft brewery gets kicked out of its own festival, by Fritz Hahn (Washington Post)

Next weekend, representatives of 85 breweries from across Virginia will gather in the fields surrounding Devils Backbone’s Basecamp Brewpub in Roseland, Va., for the fifth Virginia Craft Brewers Fest. They’ll be joined by a crowd of 3,000 beer lovers, some of whom will be camping — and even “glamping” in deluxe tents — in the adjacent meadows. Three Sheets to the Wind, a yacht rock cover band, will perform.

The event has come a long way since 2012, when two dozen breweries brought 48 beers to the same location for a crowd of 1,250 to taste, and a few dozen beers were judged in the first Virginia Craft Beer Cup competition. Devils Backbone’s Schwartz Bier was named best of show, the first of the brewery’s three consecutive titles. (Talk about a home-field advantage.)

But 2016 is a transitional year for the festival: This will be the first time it won’t include the announcement of the winners of the Virginia Craft Beer Cup, which has grown to award medals in 30 categories. This will be the last time the festival will be held at Devils Backbone, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And for the first time, the brewery that helped found the festival and hosts it won’t be eligible for any awards.

That’s because on April 12, Devils Backbone, Virginia’s largest and most decorated brewery, announced it was being acquired by Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Budweiser, for an undisclosed sum. The backlash was immediate. On the brewery’s Facebook page and in online beer forums, former fans posted screeds accusing the brewery of selling out and swearing they would never buy another Vienna Lager. (Those were the nicer ones.)

Yes, Devil’s Backbone is yet another Trojan Zombie Afterlife Brewery in AB-InBev’s High End collection of trophies. In 2015, the Pour Fool provided context for deals like this one.

Cigar City vs. AB: An Open Letter to Joey Redner, by Steve Foolbody (Pour Fool)

 … Sooner or later, some brewery owner is going to stare down the barrel of one of those prohibitive buy-out offers from Anheuser Busch or AB/InBev or whatever that pack o’ vermin is calling itself this week and they’re going to think beyond the planetary-scale impact such dollars will have on their own bank accounts and realize that pulling the trigger on this deal, while making that villa in the Bahamas a lot more feasible, is also going to sentence them personally and their staffs to forever being considered sell-outs and greedheads and douche-nozzles by many, many of the same people they saw come into their taprooms and growler stations when they were just starting out. It will permanently remove them from serious consideration when American craft beer fans speak of the country’s great breweries. Because the instant the last curlicue at the end of their signature trails out on that sales agreement, that brewery is no longer a part of that booming American phenomenon called “Craft Beer”. It cannot be. Because it is now nothing more than a regional outpost for corporate greed, bean-counting, arrogance, and Money Is Everything thinking.

Beautiful: “Pack o’ vermin.”

Subsequently it was revealed that Redner actually had made it all the way to the altar with AB InBev before the deal fell through, after which Cigar City quickly eloped with Fireman Capital, which owns Oskar Blues, among others.

Al this preceding background was necessary for a welcomed death notice.

Actually I’m glad I barely knew Beer Necessities existed, or I’d have been compelled to crusade against it.

Repeat after me: “Pack o’ vermin.” Like a plague virus, nothing AB InBev touches can be considered healthy or good.

I reiterate: Follow the money. There’s enough excellent beer out in this and any other market to preclude supporting vermin with your money.