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The Yankees’ “craft beer” stand is anything but

Apr 4, 2013, 9:45 AM EDT

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Amanda Rykoff went to the Yankees home opener and discovered that they have a stand called “Craft Beer Destination.”  And what sorts of good craft beer do they sell there? Maybe Six Point? Maybe Brooklyn? Maybe something from Ommegang upstate? There is a lot of good beer in New York! What is it?

These so-called “Craft Beers” — (from left to right) Blue Moon, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Crispin Cider, and Batch 19 lager — are all products of MillerCoors. Miller and Coors aren’t exactly niche products.

Not just not “niche products,” not craft beer by any interpretation of the term.  I’m not exactly a beer snob, but this seems misleading given that the definition of “craft beer” by the American Brewers Association which coined the term is beer from “small, independent and traditional” brewers with small defined as an “annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less”, independent defined as at least 75% owned or controlled by a craft brewer, and traditional defined as at least 50% of its volume being all malt beer.

C’mon, Yankees. You gotta do better than this.

  1. professormaddog31 - Apr 4, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    The spousal unit is the beer drinker in the house. He’s a big fan of New Belgium Brewery. He’ll drink Sam Adams Boston Lager in a pinch. When we go to games, though, he gets a Miller Lite. Mostly because we’re going to games at Miller Park and they don’t serve Fat Tire or Shift.

    I must defer all beer questions to the S.U. because I do not drink as a general rule. When I do, it’s a pint of Strongbow.

    • mibeergeek - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      You live in Wisconsin, and you’re drinking Strongbow?!

      For the love of Sweet Fancy Moses, why don’t you drink Real Cider? Right there in your backyard you have Aeppeltreow and Maiden Rock! Real wineries making real cider! Not a mass produced from concentrate and artificial sweeteners!

      Strongbow is to cider as Miller light is to beer.

      You can thank me later.

      • professormaddog31 - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        To be fair, the last pint I had was when I was in London, almost a year ago.

        Seriously, I don’t drink.

  2. mornelithe - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    This is a very very common trend in the industry. Coors, Budweiser, Michelob, Miller and the other major beer producers have seen that they’re losing (albeit a very very small amount) of market share to craft beers, and they want to take a bite out of it by advertising their products in a style typically reserved for craft beers.

    Blue Moon is probably the biggest example of this, it’s not a craft beer, it’s owned by AB and is another line of mass produced beer. Seeing stands like this is hardly surprising. I went to a ‘Craft Beer Festival’ in the Titusville area of Florida, and the entire thing was a thinly veiled attempt to get a bunch of people hammered. The people serving the beer had no real clue about it, none of them were actual representatives from the brewers. They didn’t even know where some of the beer came from. And the kicker was a booth selling bottles of budweiser.

    No big deal, either way, I can easily see through the crap. New York should demand more however, they’ve got some great craft breweries, just like Vermont (where I live). No reason to assist the big brewers in selling their product. They’re not doing poorly last I checked.

    • beanocook - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      Blue Moon is not owned by AB

      • mornelithe - Apr 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        Sorry, meant Miller-Coors. My bad. Either way, garbage beer, sold under the guise of craft beer.

  3. Bar None - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Having grown up just a few miles from the Leinenkugel’s brewery I think their ties to Miller-Coors are not what people think. Leinie’s still fits under the Craft Beer label due to their production. The problem was with distribution. They couldn’t get the beer to where it needed to be fast enough. The brewery still employs 72 local workers. They signed with Miller in the early 2000s to help with distribution. The beer is still brewed by the Leinenkugel family in Chippewa Falls but MC helps with advertising and distribution and they get a cut of it. There are still flavors of Leinie’s that you can only get in the Chippewa Falls area.

    The bigger argument I would make regarding places like Leinie’s and Angry Orchard that have become affiliated with larger companies, is whether the quality of their product continues to be good or whether it diminishes. I would say Leinie’s has continued to make the quality beers they did pre-merger. Yes Summer Shandy is not my favorite, but A) it tastes like a shandy. and B) it appeals to a certain market.

    Pabst alone saved a bunch of local breweries that have now become the official beers of hipsters. Olympia, Rainer, etc.

    But I digress. If you don’t like the beer they are selling (at extreme mark-up) at the stadium, don’t drink it. I avoided beer at a ST game because all beers had the word Lite in them and that isn’t my type of beer.

    • pipkin42 - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      Yeah, but I had college roommates who used to call Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat “Fruit Loops Beer” because of how sweet it is. Insipid crap is insipid crap.

    • buckybadger - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:10 AM

      I am from Wisconsin but live in Denver now. Sorry but Leinenkugel’s isn’t not craft Brewery. I will give you micro-brewery but not Craft Brewery. I will always love Leinie’s Red and a Summer Shandy is good for one or two but when you get into Craft Brews you will understand the difference.

    • boneill428 - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:39 PM

      Leinenkugel doesn’t fall under the craft beer label because they are 100% owned by MillerCoors. It could still be “family brewed” but it’s definitely not family owned anymore. They were bought by Miller in 1988. Source:

      • beanocook - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:33 AM

        Bizzaro world craft geeks care more about the banks than the beer. I’m more worried about the beer.

  4. Bar None - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    @mornelithe I think Blue Moon is owned by Miller-Coors.

    • mornelithe - Apr 10, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Yeah it is, my mistake, thanks.

  5. assuredsvcsllc - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Miller Coors batches and distributes those beers under contract, those labels are not owned by them. MC does this with a ton of import brews as well to keep the breweries operating at capacity while the US shifts from “traditional” beers to craft beers. At the end of the day, unless you buy a true microbrew, they are all made at the same plants.

    Keeps people employed in my opinion, and allows tastier beer to get deeper into the US.

    • thebeerbaron - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      Minor correction: MillerCoors outright owns and brews both Blue Moon and the Batch 19. Crispin and Leinenkugel are owned by MillerCoors but still brewed in separate facilities.

  6. bellweather22 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    I won’t pay $10 a beer, so what does it matter?

    • nolanwiffle - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Stay thirsty, my friend.

      – The Most Interesting Man In The World

    • rich7041 - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      20 ounce draft with “souvenir cup” was $11 last season for the second straight year. Can’t wait to see what it will be this year.

    • thebeerbaron - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      $10 for this might seem like a bargain. They’re actually charging $12 for these.

  7. datdangdrewdundunituhgin - Apr 4, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    i recently tried batch 19 and it was foul. and i can’t say i’m surprised that the yankee decision-makers would allow a major brewery to set up shop and distort the craft-brew scene.

  8. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    At least upgrade to something respectable…Sam Adams’ lineup is scrumdiddliumptious!

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