Craft beer surge bound to fade?

Graham Mackay, CEO of brewing giant SABMiller, sits down with Fortune’s Matthew Boyle to talk about “rival Anheuser-Busch, the company’s new beer Miller Chill, and why goats make great mascots.”

The interview indicates that running his business is about more than the beer that ends up in the glass. Speaking about recent declines in profits he says, “The issue right now is cost pressures, in aluminum specifically. We spent about $100 million dollars more on aluminum this past fiscal year than the year prior.”

Not to spoil the interview for you, but here are two answers bound to interest Beer Therapy readers.

What is your favorite beer?

Pilsner Urquell.

What do you make of the craft beer resurgence in America?

I think it’s going to fade. It’s inevitable.

The interview.

Updated June 6: Tomme Arthur answers the same questions.

9 Replies to “Craft beer surge bound to fade?”

  1. sigh….

    Real in-depth piece from Fortune. Mr. Mackay doesn’t know why goat symbols play well in Slavic countries? I’ll assume someone at SABMiller does or did they just toss darts at a wall full of animal pictures and run with whatever they landed on?

    And craft beer’s appeal will inevitably fade? I’ll bet a year of Mr. Mackay’s salary it sticks around longer than Miller Chill?

  2. Idiot. The craft beer “surgence” because before it wasn’t called “craft beer”, it was just that the super-swills weren’t around yet is a matter of evolution and not a fad. No one is saying that the wine enthusiast trend is going to fade because, quite frankly, we were behind the curve with the rest of the world on that one too. Remember that “craft beer” was just “beer” until WWII created the vacuum and squeeze that gifted us these wonderful mega-producers of cheap yellow fizz. And furthermore, on a personal level, once your eyes and tastebuds are opened to truly great beer, there is no going back. Fad my ass.

  3. Well, what I think Mr, Mackay was trying to say was “(as soon as we finish buying all the popular microbrews and shelve their product) the Craft beer surge is bound to fade’

    What he doesn’t understand is that homebrewing is becoming more and more prevalent as folks discover more and more what good beer should ‘really’ taste like. If we can’t find it in the stores, than we’re just going to make it ourselves 😉 Believe it or not, most consumers actually have a good idea of what they want – it’s just that some are willing to settle, while others will just find another way.

    If anything the Bud/Miller/Coors takeovers of all the craft brewed beer is going to cause a surge in it’s popularity, as more folks clamor to recreate the tastes they used to be able to purchase in the stores.

    Once you’ve had that Old Dominion, Dogfish Head, Highland, Flying Dog, Terrapin, Sweetwater, etc. beer – you’re not going to ever again be interested in something that is mass produced with adjuncts and preservatives. I used to love Pilsner Urquell, until SAB bought it, filled it full of rice water, and charged twice as much for it. They think that just by calling it the same thing – they can stick a $9 a six-pack price on it – and folks will fall for that? Yeah, they’re probably right, but I’m not one of those sheep, and I know many others who feel the same way.

  4. MacKay makes no argument to explain why he thinks the craft beer “resurgence” will fail, he merely states this. We are supposed to believe him, just because he is the CEO of a large brewing holding company (is he a brewer by trade, or did he come up as a marketing exec?).

    Shame on Fortune’s reporter from not psoing followup questions on that point.

  5. and even more this disturbing is this doozy: “India’s economic development is held in check by its democracy.” How can that NOT elicit a followup question? I used to think that Fortune was a decent rag, but apparently, its former glory is fading as well.

  6. I figure craft brewing will be around a lot longer than Miller Chill.

    But more to the point, craft brewing is here to stay. We’ve had the shakeout, players have been established, markets have solidified. There is still a lot of growth in this market segment. Add on top of that the fact that foodies in the US are looking past wine and at craft beers to serve with meals and a whole new dimension opens up. Fifteen years ago, the only people I knew who drank Sierra Nevada were serious beer drinkers. Now I know plenty of people who like it but aren’t beer fanatics; they just recognize a good, well made product when they taste it.

  7. Hmmm!? Interesting article from “(mis)Fortune(cookie or kooky)”. Gotta be an April fool gag in June. Craft-quality brews are here to stay. Homebrews are here to stay also. Superb tasting beers will last.
    Miller Chill and A&B and Coors etc, are as exciting as watching glass or plastic decay on your lawn. With diverse Belgium styles, German purity laws, English ales, and American diverse capital. Didnt someone say television was a fad? I am going to toast on that comment. Great tasting Ayinger Kristal!

  8. Craft brews are here to stay . Every year I strive to educate as many people as I can to the joy of drinking really GREAT beer .
    I realize there are even some micros who get by with catchy graphics that appeal to the college crowd (MAGIC HAT !!!)
    The only MAGIC involved in their beer is the fact people still buy it after tasting that swill .
    All in all though there are way too many truly outstanding brews out there too consume the cheap yellow fizzy water

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