After today’s Spurs/Beavertown news, the Editor and I were chatting about whether I should do a quick piece. I was initially reluctant, as it isn’t exactly earth-shattering, and the final Heineken link-up, although now a very short odds-on bet, hasn’t actually happened, and so the precise details aren’t yet known.
However, after reading back to a piece from May 2017 (http://beerinsider.com/lets-rake-over-the-take-overs/), where I first talked about the Beavertown-for-sale rumors, what struck me was the Wicked Weed take-over which led the piece, and specifically the destruction of their once-proud Funkatorium festival, as independent brewers pulled out and punters demanded their money back.
Specifically, when Beavertown announce their tie-up with Heineken, what happens to the Extravaganza in September?
Are the steadfastly proud American independents going to fly over to support a macro-beer company? Will the quality UK craft brewers turn up to help a rival who has now aggressively rammed his tanks onto their lawns? Will the beer-geek fan-boys want to spend £60 on Heineken?
And, if not, will the event limp on as a pale shadow, or be put out of its misery?
A brief recap: Following April’s news that they were supplying Waitrose (coming up in that month’s belated round-up), May saw Beavertown announce that they would be contract brewing Neck Oil and Gamma Ray in Belgium.
Boak and Bailey were the first to specifically put 2 and 2 together and posted an incredibly prescient piece “Getting In Shape for Takeover” (https://boakandbailey.com/page/2/).
By the way, I don’t mind the subsequent Beavertown denials, as that may have been contractually imposed upon them, but, why on earth did Cloudwater get involved and criticize independent journalism? The Mancunians must have been feeling fairly silly when rumours of the Dutch giant buying 49% where reported in Mergermarket and then reached The Times (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/heineken-sees-stairway-to-heaven-xcn0lml5q ) and even more so today.
Another long running story is Spurs looking for a craft brewer on-site at their stadium, and, for obvious geographical reasons, Beavertown were heavy favourites, and openly admitted the link (http://beerinsider.com/around-town-with-amateur-drinker-14/). However, 12 days ago, Tottenham announced that Heineken would be their “Official Beer Partner” at White Hart Lane (http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/partners/heineken-named-as-official-beer-partner-for-tottenham-hotspur-iconic-new-stadium-180518/), and most assumed that the idea had died.
Then today, Beavertown revealed that they would indeed be opening a brewery and taproom at the ground (http://www.beavertownbrewery.co.uk/beavertown-x-tottenham/).
There is absolutely no way that Heineken would fork out a fortune to be the official beer and then allow this to happen, unless they were going to be getting into bed with Beavertown themselves.
I’m not going to go into details about the final tie-up until it’s confirmed, although mass production almost always produces a lower quality, more consistent, and cheaper product.
However, what is going to happen with Extravaganza?
I can see many brewers and punters, potentially wanting to pull out of a Dutch macro beer event, and then momentum can pick up very quickly, especially in today’s social media world. Indeed, even if you personally have no problem with Heineken, if no brewers are turning up, then what’s the point in going?
Will Beavertown make a gesture of goodwill now and offer a full refund if they do break their promises and tie-up with Heineken? Given their strident denials, it won’t cost them anything!
Certainly, if brewers do pull out, even if the Ticket Tannoy web-site says that Extravaganza tickets are “non-refundable”, customers will have reasonable grounds to demand a refund as the product has been substantially changed.
In that case, if you have booked via a credit card company, then they may well refund you. Alternatively Beavertown may find themselves facing a lot of MCOL Money Claim Online court cases…
Ironically, as I was writing this, Camden (AB Inv) tweeted that they would be showcasing a collaboration with Wicked Weed (AB Inv) at their spanking new tap-room. I won’t be going….
Reporting from the front-line – Amateur Drinker manages to get along to all the beer things you’d like to but couldn’t. If you see this man and are tempted to buy him a drink think of the consequences.