We feel like we owe you an explanation, but first let me start with an apology. We’re all deeply sorry that we withdrew from Beavertown’s Extravaganza, with only eleven weeks to go before the event. We know many of you were excited to try our beer at the festival, so we are looking into what we can do that very weekend, in London, to offer ticket-holders an even more special and personal experience of our beer.
If we had known early this year that Beavertown was working on a minority sale to Heineken, the world’s second biggest beer company behind AB InBev, we’d have pulled out months ago. It is a source of deep frustration that leaves us feeling a little used that around the time tickets were released for sale, a deal was likely already being drawn up with Heineken.
Pulling out in public with an announcement, rather than pulling out behind the scenes was the right thing to do, though the foundation of this outcome was laid by decisions out of our hands, and against our values. We could not have lived with ourselves to get any closer to the event without letting you all know where we stand.
Other breweries will make their own decisions - based on already-paid-for travel plans, their personal and professional relationships with Logan and the team at Beavertown, and many more reasons - but our decision to withdraw is based at its core on us standing up for independence, and standing against disturbing corporate tactics employed by big beer that should never have any place in craft beer.
Your favourite breweries haven’t ever used a brand to hold taps back from Irish craft breweries whilst mocking them, or received a €31.5 million fine for breaking competition laws in Greece, or been accused of allowing the widespread sexual abuse of employees, or agreed a financial settlement with workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo after being accused of collaborating with a rebel movement to breach workers' rights, or been challenged over involvement in labour-broking practices in South Africa. Further reports that detail relationships with dictators, tax evasion, human rights failures, and even operating within genocidal regimes are also deeply worrying. Beer does not exist in a vacuum.
Beavertown have made an almost peerless contribution to craft beer in the UK, for which we remain deeply grateful. They have made stable jobs for some of our favourite people in the industry, but alignment with Heineken’s values, who not only just became a substantial financial backer, but who will likely become their biggest customer, runs against the values, and stability of independent breweries in the UK and around the world.
Not all bigger breweries are the same, and not all breweries that seek corporate investment do so at the expense of their wider independence. Some big breweries appear to operate with the principles we hold dear in modern beer, regardless of their age, reach, or size, whilst other big breweries throw their weight around and engage in tactics behind the scenes against modern breweries’ values and existence.
We hope this explains our position more thoroughly, and are grateful to those of you that already thanked us for sticking to our principles. Watch this space as we figure out how to get those of you with tickets a few free pours of our beer in London that weekend.