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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another 3.2 Rumor

Ok guys and gals, Here comes yet an other 3.2 beer rumor.

So... rumor is that a group in Oklahoma called Oklamomans for Modern Law is working to eliminate it's states 3.2 laws, just as we tried to last legislative session.

But here's the rub. There are only five states that currently buy 3.2 beer from the big breweries. If one of these five were to stop buying; then the brewers may find that it's not cost effective to make the 3.2 stuff and only make their standard recipes. Thus forceing the remaing states to buy or go semi-dry.

What are your thoughts? Is this even a slight possibility?



Ed said...

This is mostly speculation on my part, but:

It seems like nationwide food product producers have a pretty good handle on the fact that certain products sell differently in certain regions. And if A-B is bothering to distribute 4.0 Bud Light to Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, and Kansas, it's because they're making a profit from it in each of those markets in and of themselves (keeping in mind I'm talking about the "macros"; not small, independent breweries which have limited tanks, etc. to be producing slight variations of the same product).

Also, I wouldn't imagine that the brewers would all make this decision at the exact same time. Whoever tried it first would ultimately sell less beer, and the others would fill the void and sell more. Again, if this made sense on paper for any of the "big brewers", they'd probably already be doing it. They put a whole lot of money in to researching that kind of data.

And really, I'm having a hard time imagining that Coors would ever stop producing beer that can be sold at gas stations in their own state...

Douglas said...

I agree with Ed. And anyway, it doesn't matter much to me because our local breweries produce a much better product. However, this is just another reason why we should get rid of this arbitrary and inhumane 4% cap on draft and sales outside of the state stores/brewpubs.

Robert Taylor said...

Sounds pretty unlikely they would give up on our markets if Oklahoma dropped out of the 3.2 percent game. Not sure about the percent of the total demand they make up, but I wouldn't think it would be a major part. If Colorado had done away with it a few months ago though it might have been a different story.

Also, do big brewers make special 4% ABV beer anyways? I thought most of the big three's stuff was about 4% anyways? Light American Lager made to style is in between 2.8 to 4.2% ABV anyways so why would they need to make a special batch?

Mikey said...

Hey Robert, I believe Oklahoma consumes more 3.2 abw beer than Colorado. Their laws a very similar to ours in Utah. Colorado just sells 3.2 in grocery stores. So I believe the impact could be high.

Your right about the Light American Lagers being very close to 4.0 abv. However, law says they can't exceed 4.0% so they make them at or below that for the "3.2" states.


adrian said...

i agree with Douglas.

i would not miss the Budweiseresque big brewery stuff.

what would this mean for guinness draft though?

anything else that i drink when i go out is local--Uinta or Wasatch stuff usually

Mikey said...

I agree with you guys. But what you have to understand is that craft beer drinkers are in the minority.

The Utah beer market could never be sustained on $8 six packs of craft beer. Christ... You can buy a 12 pack of Natural Light for less than that.

Yeah our local stuff is better, but most people don't want better. They want yellow, tastless, fizzy beer that cost nothing.

Aj, as to your question in reguards to Guiness Draft. Guiness is 4.0% abv Period. There is no "special" Utah recipe for this paticular Guiness. So no change there.
Was that your question?

I AM said...

reality is, if Utah dropped the 3.2% law, you'd drink a lot less local beer. Not saying you wouldn't drink it anymore, but likely with less regularity, because then there'd be draft selections of New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, Deschutes, Rogue, and who knows what else eventually? Avery? O'Dell's? Stone? North Coast? Russian River? St. Bernardus?? The possibilities become nearly endless.
The local production breweries (mainly Uinta and the UBC) aren't very excited about the prospect of releasing the 3.2% cap, because that also breaks their monopoly over the craft draught market in Utah.

Douglas said...

^ I have to disagree with this, and we've discussed this before. People have established habits, these habits are unlikely to change even if availability changes. Mikey is right, people will order Bud Light in bars even when a Cutthroat is similarly priced and way, way better. A whole generation of Utah drinkers have embraced Utah's craft beer. This is not going to change unless the quality drops massively, which seems unlikely since it is going the other way. Also, do states like Oregon, who don't have arbitrary caps, have problems selling local beer? No way! It's a cultural attitude toward drinking. Beer geeks like myself will always try a new beer, but I'll always buy Uinta Barley Wine, and how cool would it be to drink that on tap! Overall, I think losing the caps helps local businesses,not hurts them. Plus, the new stuff is coming no matter what. Look at the Deschutes invasion over the past year.

adrian said...

@Mikey: thanks! that was my question.

@I AM: you are SOOO right! I love you Wasatch, but you are no New Belgium... If i could have 1554 on draft...Mmmmmmmmm.

I would LOVE if Utah dropped the 3.2.

But I doubt thats gonna happen soon, I was just saying that if Bud stopped serving in Utah I wouldnt miss anything.

As it is, the only thing Im missing are craft beers, and because they wont compromise their recipes just to sell in 3.2 states the loss of any brewery that does compromise would mean little to me.

I dont think it would ever happen, but if Bud stopped selling in Utah this would be a boon for our local breweries.