Gary Glass

Homebrewers Respond to Bud’s Super Bowl Ad

During Super Bowl 50, Anheuser-Busch Inbev ran an ad called “Not Backing Down”, in which it asserted that making Budweiser is “NOT A HOBBY.”

Gary Glass, the director of the American Homebrewers Association, wasted no time firing back at A-B. His post on the AHA’s blog, contained this rebuttal:

The hobby of making beer is usually done in small batches at home by passionate beer lovers. Budweiser is made in massive automated factories (not what I would consider “brewed the hard way,” as suggested by a Budweiser ad aired during last year’s Super Bowl)—it’s actually about as far from a hobby as you can get. As homebrewers, we brew beer because we love beer with full flavor and by brewing beer ourselves we can hone in on the flavors we like most. And beyond that we can experiment and create new beer flavors that no one has tried before. Budweiser is the antithesis of homebrew: beer that’s made to be as light in flavor as possible and to never change.

Crunching the Numbers

Got your thinking caps on? Good. Because here comes a two-part question: (a) how many homebrewers are there in the United States, and (b) how much beer do they brew?

Paul Gatza and Gary Glass of the American Homebrewers Association tackled those questions in a column on Gatza says: “I would start with a guess of 750,000 homebrewers making beer at least once per year, who average around 4 five-gallon batches per year. 20 gallons x 750,000/31 gallons per barrel = 483,000 barrels of homebrew a year. I think a good working number is half a million bbls of homebrew per year.”

Charlie Papazian of the Brewers Association adds some perspective. He notes that “500,000 barrels is 0.25% of all the beer enjoyed in the United States. It’s a whisper, but a very loud whisper.” Papazian also describes Gatza’s estimate of 750,000 homebrewers as “aggressive,” and offers half a million as a conservative figure.

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