Today, Minnesota craft beer pioneer, Surly Brewing Co., tweeted something pretty cryptic about hanging with Dick Leinenkugel, who was once the Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce. More importantly to our concerns, he was also vice president of sales and marketing for his family’s brewing company (sharing his surname), which is now a subsidiary of MillerCoors, before becoming manager for specialty and craft brands of Miller Brewing Company. Normally, we’d wait for a subsequent announcement, but Surly just happens to be a favorite craft brewery of tenured Brew Studs writer, Donald Edwards. So, let the speculation begin.
It seems that everyone’s beerdar went up recently when it was announced that Surly’s rock star, front man, head brewer, Todd Haug (Todd the Axe Man) was stepping down. Then it was reported that Todd was headed to Northern Indiana to join forces with the fellow headbanging brewers at 3 Floyds. See this Beerit thread for some lively discussion (celebration) on the subject.
It makes great sense why MillerCoors would want to acquire Surly at this time. After all, AB InBev is only halfway through a timed craft brewery shopping spree that just took a turn through Northwest Houston and left Texas beer fans looking like Speedy Gonzales whizzed by. The Karbach Brewing purchase officially puts the biggest beer company ever just one card stamp away from the next acquisition happening at half price — and outside the the supervision of the open-palmed U.S. Department of ‘Justice.’
Circa hours ago — we have this.
— surlybrewing (@surlybrewing) November 7, 2016
To which Mr. Dick replied, Enjoyed having the Surly team visit us today in
Some might say at this point that American craft breweries are best analogized through a tribute to a glorious, 1960s Japanese monster movie, because it truly seems that they and their dedicated, homebrewing, pro-small business, blue collar customers are scurrying around like citizens of Tokyo, taking shelter as a 164-foot (or 300-ft, post-merger version) lizard does battle with a giant fuzzy-winged beast, both of which produce liquid that is not consumable after the dust clears.