The new marketing campaign from craft beer trade group the Brewers Association looks to "take back craft."
It's no secret that Anheuser-Busch InBev furthered its beef with America's craft beer community over the past few years by buying out a number of smaller breweries. And even though AB InBev has since said its days of buyouts are supposedly over, apparently that resentment is still festering. So taking a cue from the old phrase "turnabout is fair play," the Brewers Association – America's independent craft brewery trade association – has come up with a plan of its own: raise enough money to buy out the international beer conglomerate known as Anheuser-Busch InBev. All it will take is the largest crowdfunding campaign in history: $213 billion.
With a goal that is impossible to reach, "Take Back Craft" (as the crowdfunding campaign is called) is admittedly a marketing campaign first. Jokingly, this "largest crowdfunding effort in history" says it will only collect your money "after all $213 billion has been secured." On TakeCraftBack.com, you can choose to pledge $10, $50, $100 or $1,000 by simply putting in your email (no credit card needed) and ticking a box stating, "I agree that we'll be in touch if somehow, miraculously, against every odd, the $213 billion crowdfunding goal is reached. (We don't expect to be in touch.)" But that's not to say your pledge isn't worth anything: The BA is giving out free Take Craft Back stuff – your choice of a sticker, koozie, hat or shirt – to further awareness of independent craft breweries and the organization's relatively new "Certified Independent Craft" seal.
Interestingly though, as much as the Brewers Association intends for the idea of trying to buy out the King of Big Beers to be satirical, ironically, this campaign as a whole feels like something that could have been dreamt up by Bud Light's marketing department. The Brewers Association hasn't really ever had a marketing campaign this in-your-face – or for lack of a better way of saying it, a marketing campaign that's actually felt like a beer ad. It's not to say craft beer always has to speak for itself; it's just never really spoken like this before.
“This is like nothing the Brewers Association (who represents the majority of U.S. breweries) has ever done before and the launch of this new tongue-in-cheek campaign uses a page from ABI’s playbook. If you can’t beat em’ buy em, right?” Julia Herz, BA Craft Beer Program Director and Publisher of CraftBeer.com, told us in an email. “Indie craft brewers have a powerful collective voice and it’s time to use it in a broader way. After all, craft brewers have turned the beer world upside down, evolving the U.S. beer scene to a new and more meaningful place.”