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Molson Coors chairman slams Brewers Association in open letter

DBR Staff Writer Published 08 May 2018

Molson Coors chairman Pete Coors has expressed his disappointment over the comments made about large brewing companies during the recent Craft Brewers Conference.

The Brewers Association (BA) hosted the annual event, which drew about 14,000 attendees from across the beer industry to Nashville, Tennessee.

In the letter, published in Beer Business Daily, Coors said by using cheap shots and insults in their comments during the conference’s general session, Brewers Association leaders “undermine (their) credibility by pitting us against one another to the ultimate detriment of the entire beer industry.”

At the event, Brewers Association board chairman Eric Wallace was quoted  by Brewbound as saying, “The many faux craft, crafty, captive, capitulated and acquired brands are weapons in the arsenal of the big breweries and used to control as much of the market as possible. These guys are out to eat our collective lunch and take your kids’ lunch money as well.”

In his open letter Coors stated that such comments passed by the trade group leaders will do a ‘great disservice’ to the beer industry.

He also stated the brewing industry is not exclusively made up of large, ‘multinational brewers’ or ‘big brewers’ or ‘faux craft brewers.’

It is also not exclusively made up of ‘mass produced’ beer, craft brewers or home brewers. But, the beer industry is a combination of large and small brewers, retailers, distributors and suppliers who are passionate about making beer compelling for millions of American consumers.

Coors also stated that it is insulting to those who do not meet the criteria of self-proclaimed definition of ‘craft brewer’. He also questioned whether the highly educated and trained brewers who work for large brewers or the breweries that were acquired by them be included in the disdain that the craft brewers have against them.

Coors reminded that competition in the beer industry must be honored and cherished. He said: “I agree with you that craft brewers are ‘exemplars of the American Dream, of entrepreneurial spirit’. However, you must realize that big brewers are as well.”

He said: “We have enough competition inside the beer business and outside it with wine, spirits and, increasingly, marijuana.”

Image: Molson Coors chairman Pete Coors. Photo: Courtesy of Coorsmillercoors LLC.