ot’s of people have been speculating as to why AB-InBev would buy a minority stake in RateBeer. Many people think it’s perfectly harmless and say that AB-InBev just wants to be able to glean data from RateBeer they otherwise wouldn’t get to help with marketing and brewing their craft beer brands. I don’t believe this. Why? RateBeer is by far NOT their best choice for gleaning this data.
I’ve been a RateBeerian since November, 2004. Here’s what they know about me: My username, First and Last name, my address and my ratings. They have no idea where I bought a particular beer (Restaurant/bar/bottle shop/growler fill station). Where I drank that beer. Was it draft, bottle, can, growler, crowler or taster? What glass did I drink it out of or did I just drink out of the can or bottle or crowler?
Untappd has ALL this information available to the brewer (Mind you, only for that particular brewers beer). Now, Ab-InBev might have wanted information on all beer brands and approached Untappd and Untappd turned them down. I don’t know. But also the Brewer’s Association Has WAY more information than RateBeer could even think of being able to give them. You have to become a member, but anyone can become a member and once you do, you have complete access to all this information and more. And, it’s probably less expensive to become a member of the BA than it is to purchase a minority stake in RateBeer.
Conflict of Interest with RateBeer
To me Ab-InBev’s technology group, ZX Ventures, buying into RateBeer is a conflict of interest. Can you imagine a large food company owning a minority stake in a company that tests all their products for safety standards? Wouldn’t that look suspect? How about if Some 3 Michelin Star Restaurant had A minority stake in the Michelin Tire Company? The very people that give them the stars? Wouldn’t you question their motives?
AB-InBev has been the opponent of craft beer for a very long time. They prove that in their marketing. They prove that in buying homebrew stores, all the hops in South Africa, craft beer brands such as Goose Island, Elysian, Breckenridge, Karbach and most recently, Wicked Weed and now in investing in a very predominate craft beer rating website.
Many stores carry the RateBeer shelf tags to help consumers in their craft beer purchase and I am about to write an piece from a Nielsen article showing that 75% of all craft beer purchasing decisions by the consumer are made in the actual store looking at the packaging. having that nice little shelf tag there with a “100” RateBeer rating on it, certainly does help in selling a particular beer. Especially for those knew to craft beer or those who aren’t experienced craft beer snobs like myself (lol).
I think the point of all this is, there is the ability for them to be able to manipulate the data to better serve their craft beer brands and this creates a conflict of interest. period. Even if that is not their motive is, nor is it what they intend to do, that conflict of interest still exists. There are other (and better) ways for them to be able to get this data rather than purchasing a minority stake in a prominent beer rating website such as RateBeer.
Please leave me you opinions in the comments section below. I’d really love to hear what you all think of this recent occurrence.