When Corporate Beer Hits Seattle

In Seattle Met, Allecia Vermillion writes about how three friends grew their craft brewery into a Seattle icon, recognized internationally for the quality of its brews, and what happened when the Elysian Brewing Company was acquired by Anheuser-Busch after two decades of proud independence. The reaction in their home city was not kind:

While Elysian’s staff processed the news, word of the deal spread outside the brewery’s walls. The drinking public would spend the coming weeks going through its own range of emotions. Some Seattle bars immediately removed Elysian tap handles. Things got especially rough at the company’s original Capitol Hill brewpub. People called just to yell at the bartender. A server approached a couple to take their order only to have one of them respond, “Why would I want to drink here?” There’s also the story of the guy who purchased a beer from the bar for the sole purpose of pouring it on the floor, leaving a trail behind him as he walked out the front door. Everyone loved pointing out the newfound irony in Elysian’s Loser Pale Ale, conceived as a tribute to Sub Pop Records on its 20th anniversary in 2011; labels bore the tagline “Corporate Beer Still Sucks.”

In Seattle, after all, beer is personal. People who drive Toyotas, text on iPhones, buy Diet Coke at Fred Meyer, and draw paychecks from Amazon swore off Elysian as soon as they heard the news, unable to stomach an IPA now associated with a multinational corporation.

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