Let’s get some basic facts out of the way:
Macro brewers are big.
Micro brewers are not.
Put personal feelings aside and recognize that, at the core of things, this is the main difference between our beloved craft crusaders and the big brewery bullies we hold responsible for most beverage crimes perpetrated on the public.
Obviously, this is an oversimplification. There are other differences, but those will largely be infused with personal opinion. It’s easy to get caught in a trap of equating size with virtue (or lack thereof). But sheer enormity doesn’t guarantee uniform evil, and the small, dedicated craft brewers aren’t always spending their spare time rescuing kittens from blazing house fires.
Defenders of the craft revolution often point to the manipulative machinations of the macro marketing departments and cry foul. "People only drink that swill because of the money that InBev pours into convincing them that drinking Budweiser will somehow make beautiful women want to give them smoochie boochies and perfectly-cooked steaks."
That’s not wrong. Marketing departments, by definition, are in business to curry favor with a fickle audience and convince them of the inherent awesomeness of a given product by any means necessary. But sometimes, seemingly against all odds, the beer giants put forth a marketing effort that should make all of us take a step back and say, "Alright. I dig that."
For a premium example of just such an effort, look no further than the Molson Canadian Red Leaf Project. In specially marked cases of Molson Canadian (the flagship brand of Molson Coors Canada, truly a behemoth) customers receive a plantable coaster. Put it in the ground, water it with care, and watch it blossom into a towering Black Spruce tree that helps restore and/or preserve the sanctity of increasingly less natural landscapes. How is that anything but really freaking awesome?
Certainly Molson is not motivated solely by the greenness of its corporate heart. It’s childish and naive to act as though this isn’t an effort buoyed as much by the idea of raising positive brand awareness (i.e. selling a shit ton of beer) as promoting environmental responsibility. Still though, that doesn’t mean we should be so jaded as to not applaud this in some fashion.
Yes, this will sell beer. Yes, that beer will likely be less lovingly created than a typical micro brew. But if you can’t see that this is a positive, progressive, and altogether worthwhile usage of major-league marketing clout, then you’ve lost sight of the forest for the trees. And that’s a problem unto itself.