We've talked a bit about brewing under license. A year and a half ago we undertook the historic PBR v. PBR challenge under which the US brew was tested against the version brewed in Canada under license by Sleeman - it was a draw. In 2004, I even make a submission in the face of a pending beer trade war to the Federal Government in which, in part, I pointed out that increased customs duties for importing US beer would have no effect except on beer nerds when beer is not traded in bulk so much as traded by international licensing.
Interesting to note, then, that there is some backlash in Russia to Pilsner Urquell which says, in the fine print, that it was made in Kaluga, South of Moscow, with Russian hops and Russian water:
After tasting both, locals say the Czech one is much better than the Russian-made beer. Experts too say consumers are being tricked. "It's a con, it's deceptive. The public are being deliberately misled by adverts and brand names which suggest beers are foreign" Iain Loe, research manager of Campaign for Real Ale, told BBC News.For me, it is not so much a con as simply another beer - even if standardized production assures similarity. So, when Headstrong is made in Ontario it is simply a different beer than when it is brewed in Montana - as long as it says "Kaluga" or "Guelph" somewhere legibly on the bottle. And no doubt the extra paid per bottle for that licensing fee is more than offset by transportation savings.
The firm’s spokesman said Russia would remain its only beermaker outside Pilsen, and admitted the Russian ingredients differed from the original. Russia is Europe's fastest-growing beer market. There are also breweries in practically every region, now offering to produce foreign brands for less. But management consultants A.T.Kearney told Business Today those most at risk of a consumer backlash were precisely elite brands like Pilsner and St.-Petersburg-made Guinness, whose customers pay for unquestionable quality and image.
Doesn't the same apply to a brewery with multiple brewing locations? I would bet every beer by Flying Dog that I have sipped was a Maryland product and not from Colorado at all. Does it matter as long as it is good value? Our would Flying Dog (Kaluga) Brewing be an abomination?