America’s largest brewery plans to bring stock photography into 2018. 
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Credit: Pexels

Beer is one of the most consumed beverages in the world with global sales that are only topped by the likes of water, tea, milk and juice. As a result, you’d think finding interesting photos of people drinking beer would be easy, but as The Takeout’s Kate Bernot laments, that’s far from the case. “Hunting for decent beer stock photography is, for me, one of the most frustrating parts of writing about beer,” she explains. “Most of the available beer photos on stock sites look like they came from a mid-’80s encyclopedia entry on Bavaria: pretzels, leiderhosen, frosty mugs, blonde women with their chests out.”

But America’s biggest beer company has come to the rescue. As part of Anheuser-Busch’s Elevate initiative—which operates under the pretense that A-B can use its power within the industry to improve beer as a whole—the brewing giant has launched two free collections of stock photography featuring not only a more diverse set of drinkers and brewery employees, but also other things that can be difficult to find in stock beer photos like different styles, proper glassware, and even modern taproom settings.

“You might think ‘Oh, its just stock photos, they’re generic,’ but people see these so often on Twitter, Instagram, blogs, even magazines,” Ashley Knotek, digital marketing manager at the Anheuser-Busch-owned 10 Barrel Brewing, told The Takeout. “It’s important we take the time to represent beer in the best way possible.” Knotek later added, “I also think it’s an opportunity to just make the industry standard for beer photo quality higher; there’s room for that to happen.”

Of course, as they say, nothing is truly free. A-B’s Elevate initiative is part of the company’s The High End division, which has been controversial in the craft beer world for its buyout of a dozen formerly independent brands. Critics of the initiative would say that it’s just “big beer” attempting to further muscle its way into the independent beer world, and, in many ways, distributing free stock photos that feature things like glassware or tap handles branded with the names of the breweries The High End owns is a subtle way to grab more exposure on websites and social media.

Still, at the very least, these new stock photos underscore a point that has long needed to be reinforced. Though German beer gardens, baseball games, and backyard BBQs are all great places to enjoy a beer, nowadays, many of the beers that are worth writing about are being consumed by a diverse group of savvy beer lovers in places like brewery taprooms that don’t resemble the brewpubs of yore. Finding good photos of this new reality shouldn’t be that difficult.