local icon outsourced

3 Aug

Chicago's iconic 312 Urban Wheat Ale will soon be produced not in the Windy City but in Upstate New York

One of Chicagoans’ favorite local beers is getting outsourced to the East Coast. According to the Chicago Tribune, Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat will be produced in Baldwinsville, a town of 7,000 people in Upstate New York. The displacement comes several months after Goose Island was acquired by massive beer operation Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Though CEO John Hall claims that the move is good for craft beer (outsourcing 312 will allow the brewers to focus on things like small-batch favorites like Matilda and Sophie), it defies a good part of the logic behind drinking local. Chicago pride is only half the reason I drink Goose Island; the other half is that shipping has been minimized or eliminated altogether and I know that the guys brewing it live just up the road.

There was some good news tacked on at the end of the article: apparently the move isn’t permanent. A massive new Goose Island plant is in the works, and once it’s complete, 312 will be coming home.

Dimming this silver lining, though, is a report by Gapers Block (which it linked to in its coverage of 312’s sojourn): “According to Craft Business Daily and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the company has filed for trademarks for the area codes of 14 cities.” What does this mean? Dallas, Cleveland, San Francisco, Phoenix, Nashville, and Pittsburgh, and eight more cities might be getting their own area-code craft brews. Apparently, the people at Anheuser-Busch think much like film studio execs: if something makes money once, duplicate it as many times as possible.

3 Responses to “local icon outsourced”

  1. Nicole Semple August 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Plus, brewmaster Greg Hall left once the merger was announced. So can a brewery without a brew master really brew craft beer? Moreso than the beer, I think the biggest loss will be Goose Island’s brew school, which has educated a whole lot of local brew talent…

    • readzebra August 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

      Thanks to senior correspondent Nicole Ellis for the supplemental info!

  2. Yatesy August 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    *shakes fist at the sky at the news of a local downfall*

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