Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gaining its airs and losing its graces - a Tale of Two Buds.

I have recently posted on the Bloomberg Businessweek article on "The Plot to Destroy America's Beer".  Following a discussion with the folks at ABInbev there is an updated posted concerning this topic.

Several shout outs in the article were to the changing profile of the King of Beers - Budweiser. Quality and consistency brought the big three to prominence and is needed more so with diminishing shelf space for new entrants. Spokespersons for ABInBev deny changes but we may know differently. Bud has been our control beer in our laboratory and we have alarmingly, for our internal controls, noted that the air content in several batches has been at an unheard of level of 1.5 mL (not the typical less than 0.25 ml we have always held as the best in the industry). This will lead to premature aging and beer oxidation/spoilage - so watch your Born on Dates ever more closely if you want it fresh. NOTE: see the updated post - we had an explanation on the topic of high airs and stand corrected on this. Also for calibrating our alcohol instruments Bud goes in after calibration to see hopefully 5.00% abv. pretty much on the nose. Not so recently. Now as low as 4.94% after slipping from 4.98% earlier in the year. Losing it graces by higher airs it may be toppling from its top spot and is no longer our control beer of choice. But it is changing. A tale of two Buds (early and late) would reveal much more.Over the years the international bitterness content has declined from about 12 in the late 90's to 7-8 today - another parameter to watch.

The Bloomberg article talks of other acquired brand changes for ABInBev and we have also noticed this with other classic beers in the giants stable. The article may have hit the nail or the King fair and square on the head. They relied on sensory perceptions of patrons but analytical parameters can confirm their suspicions. I think, from our early findings that it already has. We remain armed and ready to check the quality of America's beers to let you know what you are consuming. Long live American Beer (with quality and consistency).


  1. Interesting post. I am particularly interested in the story of the decline of IBU: 'international bitterness content has declined from about 12 in the late 90's to 7-8 today'.
    .. Years back, Jeff Alworth posted a video of Ken Grossman reporting that how the macros have slowly, steadily dropped the level of IBUs over the past 20 years to ... below the threshold of human perception. http://vimeo.com/12856154

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