This is a completely self-indulgent post, so by all means: ignore. (Well, who am I kidding. Writing blog posts or anything else is, by definition, an exercise in self-indulgence....)
I spend much of my time expounding on this, that, and the other thing. Journalists regularly interview me, mostly about beer, but sometimes about plumbing or Key West. I write op-ed pieces. I appear more-or-less regularly on Fox Business Network. In short, I put myself out there as Someone Who Knows Something. But -- I sometimes experience self-doubt (although I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who does)
I mean, okay, so I’ve got a PhD in history. So I spent five years working on a book about beer and two years writing one about Key West and four years writing a thesis, dissertation, and then a book about plumbing. Do I know anything? Have I learned anything from my years of training and practice? When I’m sitting there on-camera or talking a reporter, do I REALLY know what the hell I’m talking about?
Apparently I do.
I learned this week when Pete Reid, the editor of Modern Brewery Age, interviewed Robert Weinberg. (Sorry, the MBA weekly is subscription-only). Weinberg was, during his long career (he’s in his eighties and at least semi-retired), the nation’s leading brewing industry analyst. Whatever there is to know or understand about American brewing, Bob Weinberg has it in his brain. I got a chance to meet and talk to him two years ago, and I assure you: He’s smart. Ultra smart.
Anyway, Pete asked Weinberg about the InBev acquisition of A-B, and what that event and the failing economy mean to A-B InBev and the rest of the industry. And according to Weinberg -- it means just about what I’ve been saying in print, at this blog, and on television for the past six months. (For any or all of it, see in particular my various related blog series. Links are on left side of your screen.)
Again, I can’t direct you to the interview, but it’s probably okay if I share a couple of quotes (it IS okay, isn’t it, Pete?) Said Weinberg regarding the InBev purchase:
I think we will see a level of competition now that the industry has not seen before. It will be a true battle of the titans.
He also said that InBev’s takeover “will likely change the corporate culture of A-B,” which would be, in his words,
a shame. . . . There was a human element to A-B, that had to do with the family ownership. There was a genuine pride, and they cared so much about the beer they made. If it just comes down to dollars and cents, some of that pride will evaporate.
There was more, the drift was -- Weinberg and I are on the same page. Apparently I’m not a complete idiot. Good to know. I’m thinking of this as Mr. Weinberg’s solstice-season gift to me.
All quotes from “Analyst Weinberg says ABI has big opportunities,” Modern Brewery Age 59, no. 50 (December 15, 2008): 5.