I spent a few hours hanging out with a couple friends last night.  Who knew, I actually have a friend or two.  I was a bad house guest, I didn’t bring beer to share.  Instead I had a couple of the beers from the fridge.  For a long time I have had a schedule that would not allow me to hang out with most of the people I do know.  It can be hard to live as a second shifter in a first shift world.  Of course my choices for work tend to pull me in different directions than the mainstream anyway.  These two are from some older groups of friends, so they tend to have more normal jobs (when you work in kitchens and such you tend to get friends who may not even know what the sun looks like). 

So the friend who’s house we were at had his fridge stocked with Blue Moon.  He tends to like lighter, easier drinking beers.  Nothin wrong with that, people will drink what they drink.  So as we are catching up and making some general conversation, the conversation of course turns to the beer.  He tells me that he stopped drinking beers from the big beers and wanted to support the smaller and better craft beers.  Of course only recently he found out that Blue Moon is owned by Coors. 

He then tells me that there have been some beers he really likes from Leinenkuegels.  Of course the news that they are owned by Miller throws him off a bit.  The sad thing is, this is something common with people who are not knee deep or more in the comings and goings of the beer industry.  I know I would feel just about as lost in the places where they both work.  Its a curse of the body of knowledge you surround yourself with. 

The sad thing is these big beer conglomerates will not come right out and say who and what they own.  They have advantage with the common person when it is not advertised who will be supported.  Imagine if you will, what might transpire when AB Inbev takes over Modelo.  This would almost literally be a world wide monopoly of light lager beer. 

When it comes right down to it, it is a question of realizing that it matters.  We have removed ourselves so far away from where our food and drink comes from that it has become possible for giants to gain the power they have.  Think of all the things that Philip Morris holds (and worse aren’t they owned by Nestle or some such?). 

Now wait a minute, how did I get into cigarettes?  It seems like a crazy jump doesn’t it?  But then who owns Philip Morris?  When you start digging around you find that PMI is a spin off of Altria Group, who in turn owns a large voting interest in, of all things, SAB Miller.  (Is your head spinning yet?)  I mean, honestly, how can we expect to keep who and what straight with the smoke and mirrors these large compaies are throwing out. 

If at some point we figure out who owns what, maybe we can figure out where everything actually comes from.  The one thing I know for sure, the suits sitting behind a desk making changes left and right don’t really care what it is you want to drink as long as somehow that money goes to them. 

I do believe for me though, it is now time for a pint…

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