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Good Beer Hunting

Sep 30, 2017

As much as we talk about the acquisitions of craft brands, it’s not often we get to hear directly from the people involved, and how they think about and manage these acquisitions.  How do breweries transition to their new realities? How do they get integrated into a portfolio? How do they enable growth, but also look to safety, quality, and sales with a critical eye? It’s a lot to handle, and a lot of big questions remain.  For AB InBev's High End, things seem to move really, really fast. For MillerCoors and its Tenth & Blake team, which is in charge of its craft acquisitions and imports, things seem to move much, much slower. Leinenkugels, for example, was a craft acquisition back in the 1980s, and they’re still working patiently by comparison to most. Terrapin is another, still operating mostly regionally despite having partial MillerCoors ownership since 2012 (more recently, they took the majority).  Compare that to the now-international presence of a brand like Goose Island under ABI's ownership, and the national move being made by specific beers like Elysian Space Dust and others, and you start to see a very different strategy at play between these two corporate brewers. But what is that difference, and what’s it inspired by?  Today we’re going to talk to Pete Marino, who’s taking on a new leadership position at Tenth & Blake and we’re going to try to explore this very subjective question.  Also in the room will be Lisa Zimmer, a guest you might remember from way back in episode 79 when she was working in the Tenth & Blake group. She’s since move up to MillerCoors proper, but her perspective on the legacy of Tenth & Blake combined with Pete’s more recent point of view is productive.