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Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business
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Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  379 ratings  ·  54 reviews
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 20 biggest breweries in the United States ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 1st 2018 by Chicago Review Press
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4.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  379 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Olive (abookolive)
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Check out my review on booktube:
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A most excellent read which takes an immediate spot in a select list of essential books about American craft beer.

Roughly divided in two equal parts the first part, ‘Barrel-Aged Stout’ deals about Goose Island, AB InBev and beer in general pre-takeover, the second part, ‘Selling Out’ post-takeover. While the focus in part one lies on the origin story of Goose Island, the rise of this iconic brewery didn’t happen in a vacuum. The author provides a lot of context about the history of craft beer in
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.25 out of 5 stars

An engrossing read about the birth of the craft beer revolution and the way in which "Big Beer" dealt with that market disruption. A must-read for any craft beer enthusiast who is interested in the history and business side of beer in the United States.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a beer guy, the topic of craft breweries “selling-out” to international macro breweries and venture capital is a hot topic of debate.

This book focuses on the story of John and Gary Hall, the leaders behind Goose Island Brewery. John Hall was an executive at Container Corporation of America – a corrugated box manufacturer. While he liked beer, he started the brewery because he saw a market opportunity (unlike many of his brewer contemporaries of the late 1980s/early 1990s who expanded from ho
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you see Goose Island beers in pubs and supermarkets in the UK it’s because they were bought a few years ago by the company that brews Budweiser. This book tells the story of Goose Island’s founding in Chicago, the creation of some of their greatest beers, the sale (‘Selling Out’) and what happened after that. Lots of great stories and great characters, and while it’s clearly great fun to start a brewery, it’s also very hard to grow one past a certain point, which is why selling to a multinati ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business by Josh Noel.  The style is engaging and lively and enticed me to read on through in the space of a day.

The title is carefully written and I sense can be read to appeal to various factions in the contentious argument between 'craft brewers' and 'big beer' around the world. What does 'craft' really mean? How big is big beer? Is the question of quantity versus quality? Who m
Woody Chandler
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I apologize for having been kind of lackadaisical in my reading habits since the end of SY 2017-'18, but with so much free time, I have been less motivated to read, which seems very ass-backwards for me.

I have been into "better beer" since 1985 & my first overseas liberty port of Barcelona, Spain. I was 20 y/o, a young enlisted sailor in the U.S. Navy & this was the moment that I had been awaiting since Boot Camp graduation. We rarely got underway & when we did, it was to head south
Stephen Griffith
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very well written book that gripped me immediately. I became aware of it through the Beer Advocate blog, where Josh Noel was given a forum to answer questions from regular people like me. I asked him something about the purchase by ABInv of Wicked Weed in Asheville, North Carolina in 1977, which was a very contentious topic on the blog at the time; and he answered very forthrightly and impressed me so much that I decided to read his book.

I'm in the habit of reading several books at once, and g
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a very accessible read into the world of craft beer, a movement that has been growing by leaps and bounds since the 1980s. I really hope Josh Noel writes more non fiction books because he has the touch. The book is a fantastic play-by-play of Goose Island's journey as a brewery, complete with all the emotions and facts. This is the talent of the author, his ability to not only convey what was actually taking place but the feelings behind the events. It is an emotionally charged book ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I sped through the Audible version of the book and liked it so much I purchased the paperback so I could go back and make notes, highlight passages, etc. It's an extremely well-written and well-researched book detailing not only the Goose Island history, but also the ripple effect its sale (as the first significant "craft" purchase by Anheuser-Busch) seemed to have on the craft beer industry.

Craft-beer enthusiasts and beer history buffs will find a lot to like in this book. As a seasoned beer j
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a look at the 30 year history of craft beer in America told through the stories of Goose Island Brewing Company and Anheuser-Busch InBev. The book is divided into two parts: the smaller, independent Goose Island prior to its acquisition by the larger international company, and the larger company’s relationship to craft beer in America.
The book is well-written, well-researched, and tells a pretty good tale of the recent history of American beer through the lens of John and Greg Hall
Erik Surewaard
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I did my MBA, I was confronted with many “cases”, i.e. a few pages with a description of a company and its problem(s) whilst operating in a certain industry.

Well... this book is actually one giant case study:) It is a very good description in how the “craft beer” segment grew and how AB Inbev reacted on it by buying out individual micro breweries. In this book, a detailed description is given on how Goose Island grew from nothing to an individual brand generating over 70M USD annualy.

It als
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
What an excellent and balanced piece of reporting in long-form. The selected bibliography and list of interviews conducted are a true credit to author Josh Noel. The narrative he spins from this tangle of sources, details, and opinions is so soundly focused and readable. The story is one of the American Dream; however, in an industry some have crafted to allow only one favorable result - independence, as opposed to selling. Or with more negativity: "selling out". The book also holds global corpo ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really fun read. Not necessarily a ton of information I didn't know, but an interesting look into a story I knew the outline of. Provides an interesting look into the parallel Goose Island, In-Bev and to a lesser extent, the craft beer industry as a whole. I read Bitter Brew a couple years back which provided an in-depth look at Anheuser-Busch's history and this book was equally interesting and serves as nice companion book to that, looking back at some of the stuff it didn't cover and just a di ...more
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A thorough navigation of Goose Island’s history with a few detours into America’s craft beer scene over the past 3 decades. Josh is an excellent story teller who lets the reader form their own opinions about the beer industry while highlighting some of the darker sides of industry giant AB-InBev and how it’s looming shadow impacts every decision brewers and beer consumers make (whether they know it or not).
A must read for beer lovers like myself!
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book from beginning to end. As a lover of craft beer, and a lousy home brewer, this book was right in my wheel house. Reading this book confirmed my thoughts about ABI, they’re all about more, more, more... Brewing industry to the Brazilians is a means to an end. They’re not beer people, they’re bean counters and cost cutters. As the tag line at the formerly great independent brewery Elysian stated... “ Corporate Beer Still Sucks”
Tim Dewald
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such an incredibly personal, inside view on Goose Island, it’s sale to ABI, and the entire craft beer industry as a whole.

Heroes and villains of craft beer and business abound in this book, and as I read, I found their identities morph and change like a good, barrel-aged stout.

If you like knowing the story of beer, the business behind it, and want to understand where it’s been and where it may be headed, read this book now.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I may be particularly biased in favor of this book because it involves two of my favorite things: craft beer and looking askance at unfettered capitalism. That being said, this is a wonderful book. The growth of goose island and the birth of BCBS is full of excitement and wonder and the sale to ABI punches you in the gut. And, of course, ABI's relentless spread through craft beer is just scary.

I cannot say enough good things about this book.
Jeremy Bruner
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic account of the history of Goose Island and its acquisition by Anheuser-Busch InBev, as a microcosm of the craft brewing industry as a whole. Full of great characters, fascinating business details, and written with a true passion and incredible knowledge of the subject(s). I can't recommend this book enough for people who care about beer, or, you know, people who care about mergers and acquisitions.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm still pissed at Anheuser-Busch for that 2015 Superbowl ad, where craft beer is effete and Bud is for a man's man. Shit, I grew up in rural southern Iowa and the manly men there drink Busch Light, and woe unto he who shows up with a bottle of good craft beer. Even if that craft beer is flavorful and high alcohol, you're still a damn effeminate prick to them. I hate that big beer made idiots think Light beer (or Lite beer) is somehow masculine.
Sasha Groseta
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was very interesting, especially if you like beer. It is incredibly well researched and we'll written. You go from cheering for Goose Island to hating them to understanding. It also was very illuminating how underhanded AB inbev has been throughout history. My only wish was that it included a timeline that summarized all of the events described in the book.
Rich Rosell
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Noel's history of Goose Island brewing and the intersection of AB InBev into the mix is pretty fascinating read on indie business, BIG business, and what it means for the consumer when it comes to the craft beer industry. Pretty thrilling stuff, in a beer nerdy kind of way. Plus, you just may be surprised where some of the beer you like actually comes from...
Natalie Collins
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most enjoyable reads I have experienced in a long time. I grew up with Goose Island and remember the sale to AB very well. Also remember I consequently stopped drinking their beer. Well rounded story telling. I'm looking forward to revisiting the beers. Hopefully there's a 312 telephone tap handle on the horizon.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beach
This is a real page-turner. The author captures the personalities of the Goose Island brewers and gets you to care about them. While the author has a preference for craft breweries as opposed to the big companies, he does explain why Goose Island and other craft brewers sold their breweries to AB. This book reads like a novel and a business book all at once.
Frank Karioris
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For deep insights into not just Goose but craft more broadly, this is a required read. As a drinker and a person who considers myself somewhat informed, I left this realizing just how little I knew (and had still to learn). This book was extremely helpful. Would recommend it, highly, if you're interesting in beer.
Gordon Meyer
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I bought this book for a friend, but got sucked into it myself and enjoyed it. I’m a sucker for Chicago history and the Goose Island Brew Pub was a fave (until the remodel ruined it). The book is well written and interesting. If you think you might enjoy it, I’d say you almost certainly will.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Much more enjoyable than anticipated. Great narrative-based storytelling, and makes you really question what it means to be a craft brewer, and to challenge the pros and cons of craft brewers selling to macro brands. Also just some great characters and stories from the world of small and big beer.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great look at the history, development and future of Goose Island the craft beer industry as a whole with interesting insights into the differences between how small and global breweries think, operate, advertise, and...brew.
Lana Svitankova
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Цікавезна читанка, позбавлена "ми прийшли перемогти велике пиво, бо", з іншим поглядом на ринок, на те, що відбувається, а як це виглядає зсередини. Купа нової інформації. Кілька дивних фактичних помилок наявні, щоправда
Carolyn Schafer
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. I did not know the story behind Goose Island. Nor the story of Anheuser Busch InBev methodical takeover. I enjoyed it but am very passionate about craft beer. If you just kind of think it's okay, you're better off reading an article.
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“But no matter how good the beer, how many honors or awards, how innovative Goose Island would ever be again, someone deep in the crowd would always boo.” 1 likes
“American beer drinkers had been conditioned to believe they were choosing Anheuser-Busch's beer, but that was only half true; Anheuser-Busch had left them few other options.” 0 likes
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