If Anheuser-Busch had purchased Blue Point a few years ago, our reaction would have been a lot like what many craft beer fans have been tweeting. “How could they do this? We’re never drinking Blue Point beer, ever again!” we would have said. But hearing this news today, we have mixed feelings.
Blue Point Brewing Company is the largest craft brewery on Long Island, where we grew up. It was the first brewery we ever visited, even before we started BeerUnion. It’s part of New York beer history, and will remain that way. It’s just now owned by a giant corporation.
The fact is, Blue Point is a business. Mark Burford and Peter Cotter started it from nothing and grew it from the ground up. They have now sold that business, for what we assume to be a nice profit. By many accounts, Blue Point is an American success.
Will we drink Blue Point beer again? Of course. It’s still a New York brewery, and we write about beer in New York. But given the choice between Blue Point and a brewery not owned by Anheuser-Busch? We will choose the latter.
This is going to keep happening, folks. Craft beer is eating into big beer’s market share. Sales of craft are increasing, while sales of big beer are decreasing. It makes sense for Anheuser-Busch to buy historic and beloved craft brands. We saw it with Goose Island, and we’re seeing it with Blue Point, and we’ll see it again, and again.
But we don’t think Burford and Cotter are evil because they sold their business. They established a strong presence in a growing industry, and have profited from it.
It’s good for them, but it does make us a little sad. One of the reasons we love and support craft breweries is because they’re locally owned businesses. Drinking beer made in New York supports New York. So we’ll continue to do so. Keeping in mind that while drinking Blue Point beer supports Anheuser-Busch, it still also supports people who work on Long Island.
Bets on which New York brewery will be bought next?