There has been sarcasm. A number of parodies of the Budweiser ad appeared, including this one from Abita. (Apparently there was no commitment to spend $4 million to run it on next year's SuperBowl.)
There has of course been opportunism. Unwilling to outbid Anheuser-Busch for SuperBowl ad spots, MillerCoors quickly tried to profit from the controversy. BigBeer's #2 created and tweeted a self-serving print ad suggesting they stood with the craft brewers. Copy included "all brewing is craft." (Most of those responding on Twitter missed the implication: MillerCoors is 100% craft beer.)
There has been duplicity. An Elysian Brewing founder--his company recently purchased by Anheuser-Busch--reportedly emailed his displeasure. (To date, he has apparently not refused to cash his big checks from BigBeer's #1.)
There has even been a hint of sex. One annoyed craft fan suggested Budweiser had portrayed his kind as homosexual.
For the craft beer apologists, turnabout, it seems, is just not fair.
BigBeer in general, and Anheuser-Busch in particular, have suffered the nastiest of slurs over the years from craft brewers and their legion fans. People who chose Budweiser were routinely labeled stupid rednecks and worse by supercilious craft-beer connoisseurs. Stone Brewing happily called out BigBeer drinkers as wussies, long before Budweiser brought up fussiness.
Budweiser's ad marks the end of their childhood. (We would have said "innocence," but innocent they are not.)
Taken as a group, craft brewers now pump out more beer than Budweiser. The top-10 craft brands are 50% larger than Corona. Individually, many are tiny, but as a segment they are not. Welcome to real competition! Time to hang up the tie-dyed cut-offs, put on your big-boy pants, and face reality.
Competition can sting. The craft-beer segment delights in having stung BigBeer so routinely. Thinking the sting could only go one way was... childish.
Competition attacks vulnerability. As crafties delighted in labeling BigBeer weak and watery, how could they miss seeing their own Peach-Pumpkin-ale-y focus as worthy of attack? Children are often guilty of magical thinking like this.
Competition culls the herd. Before long, many craft breweries will begin to die off. Some will be bought or partnered with better-heeled small breweries, as is, in fact, already happening. Others will just go under, taking too-optimistic, childlike investors with them. Some, for sure, will grow and flourish. But "Lord of the Flies" has assuredly come to craft beer.
As they say, "Reality's a bitch." Craft beer would do well to embrace competition in place of wasting precious energy whining about how unfair and painful it can be.
"Up" will at some point become very difficult to sustain, nobody is immune from attack, and even being the #1 hot brand doesn't last forever. Eventually, children do grow up.
Just ask Budweiser.