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July 19, 2010


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I'm not sure I'd call Dundee or Kona macros in their own right. I understand that Kona has a relationship with A-B but in terms of production itself, I wouldn't lump them together. Can you shed a little light on how you decided to group them this way?

Sure. Kona is a part of the now-international AB/InBev family, and Dundee is ultimately part of North American Breweries, which includes Labatt's (imported from Canada) and the Genesee Brewing Company in Rochester, where Dundee beer is made along with the Genny beers, the Seagram's line of Escapes, and Imperial - "La Cerveza de Costa Rica."

If they're owned by or affiliated with a macro company, that is going to affect the production on some level, and I don't like it when the macro guys try to pass off these brands as "craft." Does that mean they're not good beers? Of course not - but I cover New York breweries for this publication, and AB/InBev is not New York-based. NAB's corporate headquarters is located in Rochester, however, which brings us to the less tangible issue at hand.

Dundee is made in New York, but I gave it no more than a quick mention because, like Labatt's and Michelob, it's so ubiquitous at these types of events that its presence in the Brewers Garden is hardly something to write home about. I could write an article about going to a baseball game and seeing Labatt's or Dundee on tap, but would it be interesting reading? Nevertheless, Dundee's was at the festival pouring the decent-value IPA, and I have no problem with that.

You'll notice that we tend to focus on the little guys here at the NYCR. I'll happily write a story about the history and brewing processes at Genesee - as soon Hazlitt Red Cat gets a similar feature.

I like to refer to these types of companies as "mesobrews." A-B et al. will usually lend marketing infrastructure while largely letting companies operate autonomously (save for the influx of capital) in exchange for a portion of sales. I don't particularly have a problem with that.

Just because InBev is Belgian doesn't mean lots of beer isn't made here. Beer from A-B bought around here could very well be made at A-B's huge facility in Syracuse, for example.

Does "buy local" really mean "buy from local auteurs"?

True, Tom, but are we reviewing the Ithaca Applebee's or Fridays under "Finger Lakes Restaurants" now? The cheese selection of the Westchester Wal-Mart? I figured a mention that Bud, Michelob, et al were present at the Brewers Garden was adequate, but I suppose I could've tasted and reviewed them. I did get a finite number of possible beer samples :)

If you consider AB/InBev to be a New York brewery because there is a production facility in New York, then we'll just have to agree to disagree. I figured people didn't attend the FL Wine Festival and pay extra for the Brewers Garden in order to sample beers they can get at a gas station at 3 am.

I wasn't asking for a full review of Bud Light Lime (though, as lime-flavored beers go, it's probably the best...).

I just don't see why production numbers are a criterion for whether or not a beer (or wine) should merit a review. I realize we can't review everything and we do have an emphasis on supporting local businesses, but if it's good, it's good, right?

If it's good, it's good, and next time I taste a beer from one of these companies that is somehow made or produced in New York that impresses me, I'll review it for this site. I buy almost everything I review, and it doesn't usually occur to me to pick up a six pack of Labatts or AB just to see if it's drinkable.

I don't like empirical definitions of macro and micro based on barrels produced or number of shareholders or anything like that - I'm a fan of the Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams), for example, and I've been known to drink plenty of Molson during a chicken wing night. Come to think of it, let's all just settle this over a can of Genny Bock - I hear Bryan is buying.

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