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In light of recent news that Diageo intends to sell off all beer brands besides Guinness, it appears as if globally distributed beer is weakening. With the exception of a few industry juggernauts, is the only real option for survival as a beer brand to be a local, or regional, operation?

In the ‘70s and ‘80s, imported beers like Heineken, Stella, and Newcastle took the American market by storm, virtually the only available alternatives to the light adjunct lagers of the time. Of course, that all changed when the American craft beer boom took off in the early aughts, and the market became flooded with quality local brews of every style, ranging from stouts and porters to IPAs, saisons, and pilsners.

But these days, the average American beer drinker is more likely to pick up a 4-pack of a fresh brown ale from their favorite local brewery than a 6-pack of Newcastle. And while Heineken and the like are by no means forgotten, the abundance of other options and increased international shipping costs are, frankly, making imported brews less relevant in the modern beer landscape. The Diageo brand selloff could very well be indicative of a larger cycle: a return to the pre-globalization of beer as we know it.

On this episode of “The VinePair Podcast,” Adam, Joanna, and Zach discuss the implications of the selloff, what it says about the future of global beer brands, and whether or not imports were the true casualties of the craft beer boom. Tune in for more.

Zach is drinking: 1994 Columbia Winery Red Willow Vineyard Syrah
Joanna is drinking: E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Mouline
Adam is drinking: Champagne Lanson Le Green Label

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