What is “craft” beer? Does it matter if it’s made by a big company? More importantly, does the consumer even care?

In the early aughts, as the craft brewing industry started to recover from its slump, macrobrewers began to realize that they couldn’t just ignore the beardos and their bizarre microbrews anymore. But as they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Unfortunately for these craft breweries, the beer distributors wielded a considerable amount of power when it came to which beers made it to liquor store shelves. When retailers cried out for IPAs and full-flavored beers, more often than not they got a slew of faux-craft offerings from bigwigs like Anheuser-Busch, Shiner Bock, etc.

To discuss everything from AB’s nonexistent, yet convincingly craft-sounding “Green Valley Brewing Company” to the issue of finite truck and cooler space on the beer distribution end, we tapped our pal Anat Baron, the creative force behind the revelatory 2009 documentary “Beer Wars” and the former general manager of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Tune in as Baron takes us back to the days when Anheuser-Busch tried to clone craft beer with so-called “crafty” knockoffs — and how it used its powerful distribution network to make sure those beers got to supermarket shelves, even though nobody wanted them.

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