The Hypocrisy of Elysian Brewing Co.

Today, I bought my last bottle of Elysian beer.  In case you haven’t heard, Elysian Brewing Co. agreed to be acquired by Anheuser-Busch. This follows the recent news of A-B’s purchase of 10 Barrel Brewing Co. Let me start by saying I never hold it against the owners of a business to sell to anyone. They worked hard to build their business, took tremendous risks along the way, and deserve to enjoy the rewards, whatever they may be.

So why is this my last Elysian beer? When 10 Barrel got bought out, I said I would still drink their beer. What’s the difference? Well, that's simple. I’m done with Elysian because they suck. Now before you tell me to get off my high horse, please know that I’m not saying Elysian sucks.  Elysian said it!

The picture below is Elysian Loser. It’s a very nice pale ale that carries the tagline “Corporate Beer Still Sucks”. I think that speaks for itself. Congratulations Elysian, you’ve become what you despise!

So, while I reserve the right to occasionally drink 10 Barrel beer, I’m finished with Elysian because of this single marketing tagline. Am I being unfair or over-reacting? Probably. I just think it’s very hypocritical. It’s easy to poke fun of the big bad wolf when you’re the scrappy underdog. But when you then become the big bad wolf, don't expect others to laugh along with you.

What are your thoughts? Any suggestions on how Elysian should rename this beer?   

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  1. Look up "corporate rock still sucks", and you will get a better understanding of why that phrase is on that beer, and how PERFECT it is now that they sold out.

  2. How about:

    "As if we give what you think, fat, bearded beer dork!"

  3. Prior to posting you might want to actually research why the beer had the Corporate Beer sucks Tag line on it. Read the brewpublic article.

  4. Thanks for the link. My friends at Brewpublic always do a great job of getting behind-the-scenes stories. It's true I didn't understand Loser's backstory or get the joke about this beer. That's my bad. I wonder if AB will appreciate the joke. I'm glad to know that the plan is to keep the beer as is. However, plans often change. I don't think A-B will alter the label, but expect they'll find Loser to be a prime target for "rationalization". Too bad, it's a GREAT beer. Get a few bottles while you can.

    Anon #1. Apparently you must care what I think. After all, you're reading my blog and taking time to insult me at 1 AM on a Friday night. Must be a slow evening in your mom's basement, huh? Didn't your mom tell you insults cary more credibility if you use your actual name? Something to consider the next time you care to comment on one of my articles. Thanks for reading, BTW. Cheers!

  5. Sanjay, I suspect anon #1's intent was to suggest an alternate tagline for loser (in answer to your closing question) rather than insult you. It's always best to look for benign intent before assuming malice... after all, we're all beer dorks here.

  6. If Anon DID mean to insult you, he clearly has never met you! I'M the fat, bearded beer dork! You are actually a fit, clean shaven beer dork. Ha, ha! BTW, I'm not drinking Elysian again. Too many independent, local options to support with my beer money. Not buying any AB products.

  7. The backstory of that packaging doesn't matter in the least. Because its intent is/was clear. How do people in stores interpret that tagline? Anyone with half a brain knows the answer.

    As for as the "interview" posted on Brewpublic, that's just a load of PR garbage. The AB shills learned from the 10 Barrel deal, which blew up in their faces. This time they were ready. All the main operatives on both sides were prepped with the appropriate script. And the deal was announced on a Friday, typically a slow news day. Then they reached out to "friendly" news outlets who could be counted on to tow the party line.

    The deal will be a financial winner for Elysian and Anheuser-Busch. But it's a slap in the face to beer fans who value in independence, integrity and quality. Those who don't see that probably never got craft beer to begin with.

  8. Thanks Wolf. That's funny! Though, these days I'm a goateed beer dork.

    Good point Pete. The backstory and explanation are irrelevant because Elysian has done little over the years to correct or change the consumer's perception. It's now coming back to bite them in the ass. And rightfully so.

  9. I'm with Pete (amd Sanjay) - the backstoary doesn't matter. The intent of the marketing tagline was clear: "buy us, we're standing up to Big Beer". Well, they can market however they want, and I can spend my beer allowance however I want. I'll stick with actual micro-brews who aren't getting pressure to cut costs by using cheaper ingredients.

    Keep up the good work, Sanjay!

  10. Take the money. Tap your foot. Then come back and no worries about the bottom line, just make the best darn beer in the country. That's what I'd do.


Thoughts? Tell me what you think.