I’ve been asked whether NABC is participating this year.
The honest answer is this: I’ve heard nothing since June, and I’ve no idea, but I’m assuming not.
Earlier this summer, NABC briefly locked horns with the event’s organizers with respect to their decision to accept big-bucks 2013 sponsorship from Goose Island … which is wholly owned by AB-InBev … whose interests are in stark opposition to those of the genuine indie craft beer community … upon which in a conceptual sense, Brew at the Zoo’s annual fund-raising event always has depended.
Realists among us know that AB-InBev values Goose Island as a weapon against genuine indie craft beer, plain and simple, and non-narcissistic beer enthusiasts aren’t hypocritical about it. The fact that AB-InBev can open its voluminous wallet to make it seem as though Goose Island is sponsoring Brew at the Zoo implies strongly that the event someday might consider being called AB-InBev at the Zoo. After all, such corporate takeovers are part and parcel of American daily life, and if money’s the only aim, then by all means: Go for the money, with whatever means are available. It wouldn’t stop me from patronizing the Zoo. It WOULD prevent me from attending Brew at the Zoo, although it hasn’t gone this far … yet.
In spite of this, and contrary to what you may have heard, NABC has made no bold statements about boycotts, or led a revolt. We haven’t said very much at all. We merely pointed out the facts, said that we could not actively participate in the sense of on-site representation, and left it to the organizers to buy our beer or not buy our beer as they pleased — of course, through the good offices of River City Distributing, our Louisville wholesaler. It remains that Big Red Liquors (an Indiana retailer with whom I enjoy a legitimate personal grudge) is the only entity we’ve ever demanded NOT carry our beers — and Big Red is a special, ancestral case.
I’ve looked at the Brew at the Zoo web site, and I don’t see NABC listed, so I’m guessing that we won’t be at Brew at the Zoo this year. Oddly, I also don’t see Goose Island listed at the web site, although it is mentioned at the Facebook page. Perhaps this is an unintentional oversight.
Given NABC’s long affiliation with Brew at the Zoo, this entire situation is something that saddens us. We sincerely hope that Brew at the Zoo’s 2014 version will offer greater clarity for us, because it slightly paraphrased, NABC consciously echoes the words of Meat Loaf: “I’d Do Anything for Money (But I Won’t Do That)”
That’s just us. It’s your right to feel differently. Thanks for reading.