“There’s more to beer than beer.”
That slogan appeared on the back of the T-shirts for our first event: the Art of Beer Festival on May 24, 2003 in Boston, Mass. In general, our point was that there’s more to beer than simply brewing it and drinking it. Beer is a community, a culture and a business that’s ruled by consumerism as much as it is passion.
We were recently reminded of this when Steve Parkes, brewmaster at Drop-In Brewing, owner of the American Brewers Guild and one our mentors, posted the following statement on Facebook:
“A brewery needs to be a certain size in order to stand a chance of delivering the kind of quality required by the market. The BeerAdvocate reviews point to the fact that so many brewers are participating in the marketplace and are not properly equipped to do so. They blame the distributor, the bar, the bartender, the customer, and the reviewer for the bad review. There’s so much more to professional brewing than tasty beer from the bright beer tank. Beer should never be sold past its code date, through dirty lines, served cloudy, transported warm in a car trunk, or reviewed drunk at 3 am but… it happens… so build quality into your product.”
To provide some context, Steve was responding to some harmless chop busting aimed at consumer reviews on BeerAdvocate. While it’s easy to poke fun at consumer reviews, they shouldn’t be dismissed. Because even if you don’t always like what they have to say, feedback from customers is valuable information for any company. Brewers need to pay more attention to reviews and the long-term quality of their beers as they flow through the marketplace—the two are unarguably connected.
Of course we’re biased, and talk is cheap. So to put even more quality into our own product, we just applied some significant updates to our reviewing system to encourage more thoughtful reviews and generate more meaningful ratings. For details about these changes, see the Announcements section in the BeerAdvocate Forums.
Respect Beer. ■