Yesterday came the announcement that another indie brewery was being acquired by Lion, This time it was Fermentum, the parent company of Stone & Wood Brewing (Byron Bay), Two Birds (Yarraville) and Fixation (Collingwood).
This is disappointing. I don't like seeing locally owned businesses being consumed by the bigger players, particularly when they are good operators. To be honest, I hadn't known that Stone and Wood owned both Two Birds and Fixation. Two Birds is a fantastic operation in the inner west of Melbourne uniquely set up by a pair of women who make cracking beer (and who are close to the Scoffer team). Fixation is an awesome set up in Collingwood with a great array of beers. Their session IPA is an absolute belter and an indication of what can be done with an IPA while staying sessionable.
This feels like selling out and I think that is where my disappointment comes from. The cool guy smoking a fag behind the bike sheds at break is donning an ill-fitting suit and flogging mobile phone contracts. It feels personal somehow, as if my enjoyment of their product is somehow tainted by this, as if authenticity and principals are being purchased. Maybe it's just that the beer I like isn't cool anymore? It feels like the indie band I saw as a teenager outgrowing the dingy smoke filled back rooms of pubs, who go on to play Wembley stadium. I feel a long way from the band now, I can barely see them on stage, the tickets are too expensive and everywhere I look someone, is trying to sell me something. Worse, I feel old.
But I am old, older at least and I know how the world works. Money talks and I spend my 9 to 5 working in someone else's business, so really who am I to judge when it is ok to sell a business? Being independent means you have the freedom to create, solely to satisfy your muse and hopefully turn a profit while you do so. Being independent also means you can sell whenever you wish and waltz away into the sunset. Maybe it's what comes next that counts? Maybe the waltz is yet to play and that creative muse is yet to be fully satiated? If what comes next is a brand new project, fresh with the learnings of the last venture and a full purse to ensure that no corner is cut, maybe something amazing will come from it?
Will I still drink Stone and Wood, you ask? Well, way back in 2000, a 17 year old Beer Scoffer saw Coldplay tear up the backroom at the Cornerhouse, Middlesbrough. I have not been to see them since. That might answer your question.
Beer Scoffer 10.09.21