InBev buries Bock
InBev, the world's biggest brewer, has axed Artois Bock after just three years' production.
Back in 2005 the strong 6.2% lager was launched with a great deal of hoopla and media excitement. Several beer writers seemed to put their critical faculties into cold storage as they wrote adulatory pieces about the beer. Even the late Michael Jackson somewhat surprisingly penned an enthusiastic piece in Beers of the World. When I told another beer writer that I thought it was a poor beer, he sneered and said: "You must have got a bottle from a bad batch
-- I think it's superb". Is it conceivable that a giant company such as InBev would allow a bad batch to reach beer shops and supermarkets?
Now it's gone to the great Saloon Bar in the Sky. It's a curious decision, as only a few months ago InBev relaunched its brands as the "Artois Family". This was done to mask the fact that sales of Stella Artois are falling and that other beers from the same stable are also available -- including Bock.
InBev really is in a bit of pickle. It has made a complete mess of Hoegaarden, the delicious Belgian white beer. With astonishing insensitivity, the group closed the original brewery in Dutch-speaking Hoegaarden and moved it to the Jupiler factory in the French-speaking region of Liege. That didn't work, as Jupiler brews only lagers while Hoegaarden is warm-fermented, so it moved the white beer back to Hoegaarden.
Now it has axed Artois Bock but says it will be adding "classic Artois brews to the range from time to time." As Stella Artois is not known to have brewed a Bock in its long history, I wonder what new beer InBev will conjure from the mythical past to replace Bock.