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« Is Conlin Watering Down His Rants? | Main | Drinking age sanity »

Another watered down rant?!

News flash… it have been scientifically proven that Conlin is NOT watering down his rants!  Whoever starts rumors such as this should be horse whipped, and I know just the horse to do it. 

 So let’s start with that class action lawsuit against ABI. 

 A classic: the cart before the horse

First, who was the judge who approved the class action status?  An attorney doesn’t make that decision… they can ask for it but a judge has to grant it… why on earth would a judge grant class action status to such a flimsy action?  Why not let the plaintiffs first provide the hard evidence that this nefarious “watering down” was actually occurring?  Why let the damage to ABI happen (and which they all know will happen) before, SHOCKINGLY finding that the claim doesn’t hold up to testing?

That is of course a rhetorical question… that a judge makes a stupid decision is like a “dog bites man” story.  Sadly very common.

But in the Sunday March 3rd Denver Post, ABI felt they had to respond to this dubious charge with a full page ad touting all the water they have canned/bottled for disaster relief… with the tag line “they must have tested the wrong product”… above a picture of their canned water.  The ads ran in the Houston Chronicle and the New York Times among others too.  You can see the graphics and a short story here, http://blog.chron.com/beertx/2013/03/anheuser-busch-punches-back-with-ad-campaign

A couple things on this story… The Popular Science website ran a story titled, BeerSci: Is That Water In Your Pint Glass? Anheuser-Busch is being sued for watering down their beer, but there's a way to test for that.

Which you can find here, http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-03/beersci-water-your-pint-glass.   As they note, for $100 this claim could have been tested before a class-action lawsuit was started.

Searching for truth and objectivity

For those with an inquisitive mind I have a project… use any search engine and search for articles on this ABI watering down its beer story… use whatever words you think will work.  You can skip the articles (and there are MANY) but make certain you read the comments.  Read at least a few article’s comments… in a short period of time you can get a pretty good idea where the beer industry is today… and it ain’t pretty for any of the mega-brands.

If anyone thinks the craft beer craze is slowing or is only a short-term aberration, these pages and pages of comments will dissuade you of this foolishness.  If ABI and Molson Coors and SABMiller only got their revenues from the US market, one would be wise to short their stock.  You will be hard pressed to find ANY commenter supporting these companies or their brands.

Luckily, you all are distributors so continue what you are doing… offering incredible value to every craft brewer out there… and in realty, offering incredible value to every supplier you carry.  The future for the light mega-brands is going to be one of tough sledding.  And my gut says the odds of some young craft beer drinker switching to Bud Light or Miller Lite or Coors Light AT ANY TIME in their lives is incredibly small.  Just ain’t going to happen.  Not that these drinkers won’t necessarily drink products from the big suppliers (but many never will)… but that most will likely NEVER drink those products.  At least that’s my crystal ball.

Want to save some dollars and get better results in keeping track of this industry?

Did you know that by using the power of the modern search engine you can get free, broader, more objective perspectives than many (all?) subscription industry publications.  You can typically get better, more timely, unfiltered information delivered to your inbox as often as you desire.  In today’s world why let someone else determine what is news and what isn’t.

For reference, Google has what they call Google Alerts (and many of the search engines have a similar feature).  You enter in a key word or two and anytime that word/phrase is in a story you receive an alert with links to the stories.  I use a lot of alerts… ABI beer, MillerCoors beer, beer distributor, beer wholesaler, Anheuser Busch, Conlin Beverage Consulting, John Conlin, etc.

They all do a great job too… you only get the best results… you’re not inundated by a ton of stuff, just fairly targeted, very timely news on what interests you.  With some well-defined alerts, in 15 minutes of reading you can be on top of everything happening in this or any other industry.  And if you find you get a bunch of stuff that is not what you are looking for, simply fine-tune your searches.

In effect these search engines allow you to create your own personal, industry-specific newsletter.  You can go as deep or as wide as you desire.  All with very little effort.

In fact I found that link to the newspaper graphics via an alert… it was the first link in an alert for “Anheuser Busch beer”!  

If I were a distributor, in addition to the broader industry-related alerts, I’d probably have alerts for every brand and supplier I carry… in addition to my company name.  That way I will always know what is being written about them (and yourself).  You can perhaps spot trends before they become well-known.    In today’s connected world, why let anyone be a gatekeeper on information?  As you are well aware, the Internet is changing business models across the globe… it’s doing the same here.  If you desire, you can easily control the flow of information and manage it to your desires.  No one else needed. And you don’t have to be an Internet wizard to accomplish it.

And of course if you want opinion and rabid rants, you’ve got little ol’ me ;-)  Yesterday is yesterday… or to quote an old geezer from a story I did long ago, which you can find here, was ain’t is.  Don’t ever forget that.  Whether it’s subscribing to industry  publications or projecting brand trends or designing your company for the future… things change… change with them.

More on craft beer and the value of distributors

A few months ago I did a radio interview with a guy who does an Internet radio show and blog called Bite and Booze, http://www.biteandbooze.com (it’s about food and alcohol down in Louisiana).  His name is Jay Ducote.  So after 15 minutes of my incredible wisdom, this is what he created and put on YouTube… http://youtu.be/txcDK3XGb6c

 I think most of you will agree with this.  In fact it might be a useful link to send to legislatures who are thinking about writing craft beer carve outs to franchise laws.  15 minutes of genius cut down to one sound bite… such is life ;-)  But it IS a good sound bite.  Way to go Jay!

 Next post I’ll give my 2 cents worth on line extensions versus new brands… or as I note in speeches to state associations, a Krusty the Clown strategy versus a non-Krusty the Clown strategy… and it won’t be watered down either ;-)






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I sold my distributorship a few years ago so I don't even have a dog in the hunt anymore, but it seems to me that going after Benji and Harry's livelihood in this fashion just makes you quite frankly seem like an asshole. I've read over the past few issues of both newsletters and I'd say about 80% of their articles are things you cannot find on google (and the irony is I'd say about 80% of your "rants" are based on information you've read in their newsetters!) It's like saying why hire a high cost industry consultant to value your business when your accountant can do it cheaper, or better yet learn how to do it yourself on the internet. You get what you pay for.

Dear Guilty,

I generally don’t bother with anonymous comments unless they are doing so to shield themselves from supplier wrath. Generally if one doesn’t have the courage to share their identity, they have ulterior motives.

But in your case I will post your comment. First, as anyone who has ever read the comments on a political article, you can be assured that when they start “I’m a life-long Republican (or Democrat) but…” they have never voted that way in their entire lives.

So your start of “I don’t have a dog in the hunt” generally implies that you most assuredly do have a dog in the hunt and have a very specific desire on how the hunt goes. You then make the logical leap pointing out how my statements on how a distributor could save some money and get better, unfiltered news via the power of the modern search engine is somehow attacking Harry and Benj.

Harry and Benj are both great guys… but that doesn’t necessarily mean their business-model of acting as information aggregators and filters is viable in today’s world. I believe technology is making their models obsolete (which I wouldn’t have said back in Jerry’s day). And when some new segment of the market is growing… they don’t simply include it in their present offerings… they make it a new “product” that you again must pay for. Again in the past this model worked, I question it for the future. If you find value in their offerings then by all means send them your money. Perhaps do that AND create your own personal, industry-specific newsletter and see what you think in a few months. And please note, this doesn’t put ANY money in my pocket so what would I have to gain for the motives you seem to imply to me?

But if a company is really playing by the rules and not forwarding their stuff on, they can add up to more than a couple dollars. Dollars that might be put to better use. My goal is to always try to help distributors be more efficient, effective and profitable. That isn’t “going after” anyone. If I find that Encompass offers a superior product versus legacy VIP software, that doesn’t mean I’m going after VIP… just that the other guy seems to have a superior product. They can either call me an asshole or they can improve their product.

And a note about public companies… there are VERY strict SEC laws on disclosing information. It can be considered a serious case of insider trading (go back and read about class action lawsuits if you want to know where that leads) to give a select group of individuals inside knowledge that is not available to the general public. Therefore you will not hear any NEW news from any of these public company’s management in ANY forum… whether you’re sitting at some summit or reading responses to a reporter’s questions. That is simply reality.

As for your “you get what you pay for” comment… since the statute of limitations is far over… you sound like one of those distributors (if you even are a distributor or just a lackey of Harry or Benj)… who back in Denver Management Group’s day paid $200K for what the guy down the road paid $100K for. Happened more than you’d think. Generally in life it is difficult to underpay… but overpaying, that’s another thing all together.

Best wishes,

And please call me “Mr.” Asshole

I thought I'd look up the IP address where this original comment was sent from... since the commenter tried to hide everything.

And lo and behold it came from Las Vegas... and who is in Las Vegas right now? ABI is having a major meeting there. And who is covering this meeting? Just a thought ;-)

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