Big Beer Gets Belgian Emotion Flowing

Belgian Cafe quaffers, concerned about InBev, cry, “STELLA!!!”

By John W. Miller, for online.wsj.com

Source: AHA Forum

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV workers protesting job cuts on the picket lines last month had mixed feelings about their employer, the world’s biggest brewer. “We’re proud,” said 46-year-old Laurent Sacré. “Proud, and also disgusted.” Beer is a religion in Belgium, and like Catholics toward their church, feelings here toward the brewing giant combine a mixture of a love, fear and doubt. Contrary to some reports, Belgium didn’t run out of Stella, a light lager that is the company’s most popular brew in Europe, but many bars and drinkers decided they didn’t want any more. “There was a psychological reaction against InBev,” says Jean-Marie Dewandeleer, president of the association of Belgian café owners. “The Belgian beer community is outraged by the idea that even though you’re making profits, you want to lay people off,” said Joris Pattyn, author of “100 Belgian Beers To Try Before You Die. There is a bright side, he adds. “This is an opportunity for small brewers.”

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