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The problems at craft breweries don't make America's mega beer makers the good guys

The problems at craft breweries don't make America's mega beer makers the good guys
Cans of Budweiser and Bud Light sit for sale on a convenience store shelf in New York. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

To the editor: John Holl writes that craft beer is not always good beer. He paints with a broad brush, suggesting with anecdotal evidence that the problem of quality control pervades the almost 7,000 U.S. craft breweries in the United States.

Perhaps inadvertently, Holl comes across as an apologist for the two giant firms that control roughly three-quarters of the beer market in the United States. Big firms may make fewer mistakes, but when they make them, they can be elephantine in scale and difficult or nearly impossible to rectify. Witness Wells Fargo or the oligopolists that market most of our chickens, raised with antibiotics in their food, with no opportunity to eat a natural diet.

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Although quality-control issues among craft brewers need to be addressed, the craft brewing industry has offered consumers choice, quality and innovation that were lacking several decades ago. The biggest threat to craft brewing today is not bad beer, but the difficulty in obtaining distribution in a system that can, and often has been, strangled by the duopoly that dominates this industry.

Warren Grimes, Glendale

The writer is an associate dean and antitrust law professor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.

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To the editor: Holl cites Budweiser, Miller and Coors as standards of consistency even though they are not standards of flavor. He could have instead pointed to Heineken, Stella Artois, Spaten, Samuel Adams or Pilsner Urquell as standards of consistency and well-balanced flavors.

Maybe in 100 years or so, American craft breweries will spend less time designing outrageous labels and more time brewing well-balanced beer with subtle flavor. It is a shame that many beer stores have brushed aside outstanding regional beers from Europe and have given considerable shelf space to gimmicky craft beers.

I’ve been to restaurants that feature more than 15 beers, all of them American craft and not a single European variety. This limits the education of beer drinkers.

Michael Krubiner, Valley Village

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