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  1. #1
    Lewis's Avatar
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    Beer-watering suit

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    I read about this a few days ago. It seems that beer drinkers in the US have taken out a suit against a notorious US brewery for allegedly watering its beer. I shan't name the brewery but will note in passing that it lays claim to German-language pronunciation of a Czech town for its beer and has even fought the genuine Czech brewery, which brews something like a real craft-product, for the rights to the name.

    Anyway, it turns out that this brewery has now been acquired by a Belgian conglomerate that has already swallowed Scottish & Newcastle Breweries and goodness knows who else. As if the beer wasn't already bad enouigh, the new owners installed special equipment that very accurately monitored the alcohol content of the finished product and watered it back, if it happened to come out slightly over-strength ... Because, of course, the point of life is petty meanness and cost-cutting and certainly not pride in what you make.

    The allegation is that the "brewery" -- the more anonymous word "company" would really do better -- has been misusing this equipment to water the beer down BELOW the strength stated on the label. The "brewery" denies this.

    Does it even matter? The whole story illustrates everything that's wrong with contemporary food production. Beer should be brewed by half a dozen blokes in a shed round the corner. And preferably poured from a "little brown jug" by a wholesome country girl with an ample bosom. (And I don't mean that in a nasty or leering way, but as an innocent appreciation of the feminine).

    Instead, people buy their beer from multinational accountants in an aluminium can, and drink it infront of the telly, so they don't have to talk to anyone. It's a profit-delivery system not a social activity.

  2. #2
    not on the rug's Avatar
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    the "beer" in question isn't really beer in the first place. how could someone actually tell if that garbage was watered down or not?
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    The type of "beer" is known as skunk piss. Go get yourself a microbrew or some Guinness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by not on the rug View Post
    the "beer" in question isn't really beer in the first place. how could someone actually tell if that garbage was watered down or not?
    ^^This.

    If I'm going to drink beer, it's going to be *good* beer, generally from a microbrewery, generally 9% or more alcohol, and amber or darker with full flavor and all the calories. I didn't like that crap beer when I was 16 and sneaking it, and as an adult I see no reason not to have the best when I indulge.

    On another note, don't these people have better things to do than sue? If you don't like the beer, vote with your wallet and buy something you *do* like.
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    eKatherine's Avatar
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    That brand of beer and all other American macro brews have always tasted watered.

  6. #6
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    This is a ridiculous lawsuit.
    IF they were watering down below the advertised ABV (which they are not) they would be facing extreme penalties from the feds. They are using a common brewing method, and the people suing are simply looking for attention and possible cash with the help of an overzealous lawyer, probably hoping to get a check to shut up and go away.

    Please note: Even though I live in Columbus and drive by the Belgumweiser plant regularly, I am in no way a bud supporter. As a homebrew and craft beer enthusiast, my household will not spend a penny on anything that belgumweiser produces due to their strongarm tactics against craft brew distribution. Ever. Not one penny. I have a list of the 'brewerys' that belgumwieser owns that do not bear the name directly simply so I can avoid ever purchasing one of them.

    But this is ridiculous horsehooey and I hope it gets shut down with penalties for the complainants (one of the big problems with our current judicial system, IMHO)

  7. #7
    Rojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis View Post
    The whole story illustrates everything that's wrong with contemporary food production. Beer should be brewed by half a dozen blokes in a shed round the corner.
    Use Value vs. Exchange Value.

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    Use Value vs. Exchange Value.
    Well, I dunno it can be summed up in an aphorism, but there are some interesting issues around this.

    It's interesting that most people commenting in the thread have seen it in terms of beer, whereas I saw something more general in it.

    I think one of the purposes of any kind of business enterprise is to make money. I think most people throughout history, operating in the complex world we live in, and having many beliefs and numerous satisfactions, have always allowed other purposes in. But as these organizations get larger and more anonymous, and as the people working in senior positions in them get indoctrinated in very "thin" rationalist and abstract assumptions about what business "is" in "schools of business" those other purposes can get attenuated and edges out.

    Here's a couple of interesting stories.

    (1) Our local brewery, a small brewer of "real ale" over 200 years old and still a family-run business, expanded its premises a few years ago. They built in a Victorian style, so that the new buildings were in keeping with the original brewery (as it had been developed over time). It must have cost them a fair bit more to do that, but they did it, because that was what they wanted to do, balance sheet be damned.

    The Brewery – Harveys

    (2) A friend of mine was in a local second-hand bookshop. He tried to buy a book, but mentioned that his debit card might not work, since he had not been able to use it earlier in the day. The bookshop owner lost interest in the purchase, and instead asked him whether he had enough cash to cover his needs for the weekend, insisting on lending him money. Now I don't suppose that would do her any harm in terms of future purchases from him, but that wasn't what this was about. She knew him; she'd often talked to him; and she cared.

    When we buy everything anonymously at the supermarket, or online, we gain "convenience" but we lose all this. People with real values, who mind what their town looks like, and whether Dave can comfortably make it through the weekend.

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    eKatherine's Avatar
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    Every time I read the thread title I picture a guy wearing a disposable paper suit and watering his lawn with waste beer.

  10. #10
    Rojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis View Post
    Well, I dunno it can be summed up in an aphorism, but there are some interesting issues around this.
    It was an opaque Marxist reference. Somewhere we went from money being used to exchange goods to goods being used to exchange money. "Slow food" faces a strong headwind in the form of laissez-faire global capital. Take In-N-Out Burger. Not "slow food" exactly but pretty decent fast food (and they pay their workers well). It's remained so because it's not controlled by "investors". Once it falls into Wall Street's lap, it's good-bye quality burgers and hello minimum wage jobs.

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