We all know that the economy is still “recovering” and some places are harder hit than others. Small towns are some of the hardest hit by the recession, often relying on seasonal moneys from what little industry they have of tourist passing through. Its a hard way to survive, but would you sell the town for a little bit of money?
Crested Butte, Colorado, with a population of only about 1,500 people, did just that. The town will be transformed into “Whatever, USA” by Anheuser-Busch for a Bud Light ad – they literally have painted the town blue – all for a donation to the town of $500,000 and a few days work for the locals. There will be a concert and AB is flying in 1,000 randomly selected people from bars – mostly 21-27 years old – to participate. But many of the towns residents are not happy, some are even leaving town for the event. AB say they’ve come for the scenery, but the residents of this quaint town say that they are more about the environment and not a “party all weekend” kind of place.
Sure, there will be a cash injection to the town. A 1,000 extra people plus the crew from AB will need places to stay and food to eat. There probably will be a spin off — for a couple of days. But will these Bud Light drinkers visit the Eldo Brewery and Taproom or Brick Oven Pizzeria & Pub for some craft beers? Will they tell their friends if they do? Can there there be some craft beer goodness come form Big Beer coming to town? Maybe they will come back in March 2015 for the Taste of Crested Butte festival for some local craft beer and food. I’m betting that won’t be part of the Bud ad.
Stunts like this by Big Beer will surely produce some kind of economic spinoff, but it will be limited, whereas craft beer can be the beer that keeps giving. As reported by Forbes, in Texas the annual craft beer sales are $76M, almost doubling year-over-year, and could be contributing as much as $5.6B by 2020 (www.texascraftbrewers.com). Also, craft beer accounts for about 51.2% of Texas’ brewery jobs.
By buying craft beer not only are we drinking great beer, but we are contributing to economic groth. And unlike Big Beer, the small breweries are known as “craft” breweries for a reason – they generally care about the product they’re producing above the cost, this may be why craft beer cost more (those quality ingredients don’t come cheap), but its the same reasons we are more than will to pay more for it. I for one am proud to support craft breweries, especially my local ones – I like my beer well made and my economy booming.