Schlafly Draft Beer Challenges Bud on Home Turf
on 14/01/11 at 11:32 pmBeer
When Tom Schlafly started making craft beer two decades ago in Anheuser-Busch’s (BUD) hometown of St. Louis, local bar owners gave the brewer a standard response on sales calls: “We already stock all the beers.” In local parlance, that meant Anheuser-Busch’s full lineup, not just Bud and Bud Light. “It was kind of like selling a foreign car in Detroit,” says Schlafly, president of Schlafly Beer, “almost like heresy.”
That’s starting to change. Anheuser-Busch’s 2008 takeover by Belgium’s InBev has undermined loyalty going back generations in St. Louis, where the U.S. King of Beers has been based since its founding in 1852. That fissure and the nationwide renaissance of microbreweries are leading some St. Louis drinkers to call Schlafly their new hometown brew. Today, a total of 2,000 taps serve the beer, up more than 30 percent in the past two years. “Now there’s a bit more ambivalence about AB: They’re just another major world company,” says Mike Sweeney, 31, who runs a beer blog called STL Hops.