• Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out

  • Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business
  • By: Josh Noel
  • Narrated by: Charles Constant
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Home & Garden, Food & Wine
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (125 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Goose Island opened as a family-owned Chicago brewpub in the late 1980s, and it soon became one of the most inventive breweries in the world. In the golden age of light, bland, and cheap beers, John Hall and his son Greg brought European flavors to America. With distribution in two dozen states, two brewpubs and status as one of the twenty biggest breweries in the United States, Goose Island became an American success story and was a champion of craft beer. 

Then, on March 28, 2011, the Halls sold the brewery to Anheuser-Busch InBev, maker of Budweiser, the least craft-like beer imaginable. The sale forced the industry to reckon with craft beer's mainstream appeal and a popularity few envisioned. Josh Noel broke the news of the sale in the Chicago Tribune, and he covered the resulting backlash from Chicagoans and beer fanatics across the country as the discussion escalated into an intellectual craft beer war. 

Anheuser-Busch has since bought four other craft breweries, and from among the outcry rises a question that Noel addresses through personal anecdotes from industry leaders: how should a brewery grow?

©2018 Josh Noel (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    2 out of 5 stars

Two Books in One Nut One of Them Not So Good

The 2nd 1/2 of the book focuses on the overall craft industry. It’s pretty good. Unfortunately the first 1/2 of the book appears to be not much more than rehashing Goose Island press releases filled with adjectives such as “brilliant,” “groundbreaking” etc. to the point that you wonder if this wasn’t ghost written by the Goose Island founders. The author does his best to paint a positive picture of Greg Hall (son of the owner) but that proves to be impossible since Greg is such a tool that no amount of whitewashing can hide it. Overall just an okay book.

2 people found this helpful

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interesting ride

Great ride down beer memory lane in Chicago. As someone who worked with the beer business for almost 18 years this was an interesting inside look at the sale of one of my favorite breweries. Still love Goose Island; and the complicated relationship between big beer, distributors and the all important craft beer consumers.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Narration - Not the best

I couldn’t get through this book. It’s written by a real beer snob and the narrator is so robotic it put me off entirely.

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great book on beer history..

well written book on history of beer in America from the 90s to today. if you enjoy beers of different flavors and are interested in how we got to this point in beer, its worth it

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Great story about craft beer

I was reluctant to purchase this book after reading some reviews about how jumbled the stories were. And as I do agree there is some back and forth between the AB perspective and Goose Island perspective, I thought it was incredibly enjoyable to listen too overall. It was another craft beer vs big beer brand book but the perspective this book gave has been much more in depth than all the other ones I have listened to. I definitely recommend a listen for anyone interested in business, strategy and gaining perspective about business and the beer business specifically.

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Indepth account of the last 30 years

Very informative, jumps around a bit, but tells the tale well. The bias is on the craft side, but that was to be expected.

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The Big Business of Craft Beer

A history of craft beer and big beer's acquisition of craft brands. Told in alternating chapters through the eyes of Goose Island and Anheuser Busch.

Well worth the listen for anyone interested in beer or business.

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AbInBev Sellouts

This book reads like a redemption story, an apology for selling out. It started off well, with a good cover of the history of the brand, and then slowly drifts into an apology piece. Don’t recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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An impartial look at USA's craft battle against AB

Very good story and ok narration. The overuse of the term "Worlds largest beer company" was a bit distracting when he could have just said AB InBev.

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A wealth of information for craft beer fans

Very impressed with this book. It allows you to understand what really happened with the acquisitions and takeovers by AB InBev. Take all the information at face value and make your own decisions...will you continue to buy BIG BEER?

Instagram: @crafty_colin

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  • Frazer
  • 07-31-18

More than just the Goose Island story

This was a very interesting look at the state of craft beer in the US seen through the lens of Goose Island. For someone UK based the breweries are not so familiar and the issues raised do not directly map but craft accusations are common world wide now.
Felt it gave a decent balanced view of the industry it was not just a big beer is bad but shed light on some of their goal motivations and tactics.