Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business

  • 12h 17m 35s
  • Josh Noel
  • Recorded Books, Inc.
  • 2018

Goose Island opened as a family-owned Chicago brewpub in the late 1980s, and it soon became one of the most inventive breweries in the world. In the golden age of light, bland, and cheap beers, John Hall and his son Greg brought European flavors to America. With distribution in two dozen states, two brewpubs and status as one of the twenty biggest breweries in the United States, Goose Island became an American success story and was a champion of craft beer.

Then, on March 28, 2011, the Halls sold the brewery to Anheuser-Busch InBev, maker of Budweiser, the least craft-like beer imaginable. The sale forced the industry to reckon with craft beer's mainstream appeal and a popularity few envisioned. Josh Noel broke the news of the sale in the Chicago Tribune, and he covered the resulting backlash from Chicagoans and beer fanatics across the country as the discussion escalated into an intellectual craft beer war.

Anheuser-Busch has since bought four other craft breweries, and from among the outcry rises a question that Noel addresses through personal anecdotes from industry leaders: how should a brewery grow?

In this Audiobook

  • 1 A Brewery Was the Answer
  • 2 “They Serve You a Budweiser, You Take One Sip and Spit It Out and Say, 'Oh My God, I'm Drinking Water”
  • 3 “In Chicago There Are Now No Fewer than Six Breweries, of Which My Favourite Is Goose Island”
  • 4 The Fucking With Was On
  • 5 “It Started in Chicago as a Brewer Planted an Imaginative Seed in a Garden of Fertile Artists Aching for More Depth of Expression”
  • 6 St. Louis, We Have a Problem
  • 7 St. Louis, We Still Have a Problem
  • 8 “We Have to Look Like We Have Been Here Before”
  • 9 “They Are One of the Greatest Companies in the World, But Damn—They're Bullies”
  • 10 Shrinking but Free
  • 11 “They're Ready to Take It to the Next Level”
  • 12 ITS4U
  • 13 “They Are the King of Beers”
  • 14 “If You Tell Me I'm-a Pay Forty-Five Dollars for a Beer, I'm-a Tell You Kiss My Beep and to Get Beep Out of My Face Before I Beat Beep”
  • 15 “We Have to Do Something, and We've Looked at All the Possibilities”
  • 16 “No Matter What Happens Monday, We'll Still Clean the Kettle”
  • 17 “Not Fuck It Up”
  • 18 ”It Doesn't Count as a Sell Out Until You Hit $40 Million”
  • 19 “I'm Never Going to Buy It Now, Because I Don't Consider It is a Craft Brewery”
  • 20 “People Are Looking for Us to Fuck It Up”
  • 21 “Trust Us a Little Bit”
  • 22 St. Louis—and Belgium and Brazil—We Have a Problem
  • 23 “Anheuser-Busch Is Letting Us Do Our Own Thing”
  • 24 “A Betrayal of the Spirit in Which We Started the Company”
  • 25 “I Was the Creative Hall—the Ambitious Hall”
  • 26 “We Are Very Happy with Our Future as a Family Owned Company and Not Looking at Any Partnerships”
  • 27 Corporate Beer Still Sucks
  • 28 “If People Do the Work to Find Out That We Own These Craft Brands, God Bless 'Em”
  • 29 “Buttery, Tart End, Undeniably Infected, Sad.”
  • 30 “You Sold Out to Big Beer—Again”